Review

AVANTASIA The Mystery of Time

Album · 2013 · Traditional heavy metal
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5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Tobias Sammet first became known amongst rock fans as the singer and songwriter of Edguy, one of Germany’s biggest internationally acclaimed rock bands with whom he undertook numerous headline tours all over the world. In 1999 Tobias started his side project Avantasia, and like Ritchie before him put his full name in front of the band name, but instead of dropping that after the first album he has stuck with it so this band is Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia, although everyone seems to focus just on the last part. A few years ago Tobias decided that he had gone far enough with this project so stopped working on it, but then started to feel the pull back to do it all over again. As with his first albums this is a concept piece and he has brought in some guest vocalists to assist him in telling the story. As well as Tobias himself, the listener will also hear Biff Byford (Saxon), Michael Kiske (Unisonic, ex-Helloween), Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, ex-Deep Purple), Bob Catley (Magnum), Ronnie Atkins (ex-Pretty Maids), Cloudy Yang and Eric Martin (Mr. Big), quite a vocal line-up. Tobias also provides bass, while the rest of the band are Sascha Paeth (guitars, producer), Miro (keyboards) and Russell Gilbrook (drums) while there are also some additional guitarists in Bruce Kulick, Oliver Hartmann and Arjen Anthony Lucassen. If that wasn’t enough, an important part of the sound is provided by the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg (the same orchestra that performed on Edguy’s ‘Hellfire Club’).

With Rodney Matthews providing the artwork, this is an album that appears fully loaded with class and promise even before it hits the player. But can it deliver? The answer to that is a resounding “yes” as here is a symphonic melodic metal album with edge, balls, and stacks of emotion. When they want to be gentle it is atmospheric and restrained, but when they unleash they really go for it. There is an intensity and power on this silver disc that many extreme bands would find hard to match and it is impossible to pick a stand out performance or song as they are all superb. This is going to be classified by many critics as one of the releases of the year, and rightly so.

“So take the time to follow me into a small old English town during the Victorian era and join a young agnostic scientist by the name Aaron Blackwell as he is forced to explore the coherencies of time, God and science; torn between belief in his professional conviction, his spiritual intuition, love and a lodge of scientific occultists.” You won’t regret it www.nuclearblast.de
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