AVANTASIA — The Mystery of Time

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AVANTASIA - The Mystery of Time cover
3.79 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2013

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Spectres (6:09)
2. The Watchmakers' Dream (4:14)
3. Black Orchid (6:52)
4. Where Clock Hands Freeze (4:35)
5. Sleepwalking (3:52)
6. Savior In The Clockwork (10:40)
7. Invoke The Machine (5:30)
8. What's Left Of Me (5:07)
9. Dweller In A Dream (4:45)
10. The Great Mystery (10:03)

Total Time: 61:47

Bonus Tracks on Limited Edition:

11. The Cross and You (04:14)
12. Death is Just a Felling (Alternative Version) (05:24)


- Tobias Sammet / Vocals, Bass
- Sascha Paeth / Guitars
- Michael "Miro" Rodenberg / Keyboards, Orchestration
- Russell Gilbrook / Drums


- Joe Lynn Turner / Vocals
- Biff Byford / Vocals
- Michael Kiske / Vocals
- Eric Martin / Vocals
- Ronnie Atkins / Vocals
- Bob Catley / Vocals
- Cloudy Yang / Vocals
- Bruce Kulick / Guitars
- Arjen Anthony Lucassen / Guitars
- Oliver Hartmann / Guitars

About this release

Released by Nuclear Blast Records, March 30th 2013.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

On The Mystery of Time, Avantasia assemble all the ingredients of something embarrassingly cheesy - it's a concept album! There's a choir/orchestra! There's Rodney Matthews cover art featuring goblins and treasure! There's an Ayreon-like cast of singers! - but arrive at an end product which certainly delivers all of that.

Power metal majesty, prog metal adventurousness, and rock opera ambition inform the compositions, resulting in a compelling sound which at its best makes me want to hear more from this project - and from parent band Edguy, for that matter. As with Ayreon's projects, the large number of vocalists can tend to make the project seem a little prone to stunt casting, though it's always nice to hear Michael Kiske doing his thing.

That said, whilst at some points Avantasia show a more subtle touch, at others they bring the full-on pomp and cheese turned up to 11, as is only to be expected - it will scratch the itch for a prog-tinged power metal rock opera when you're in the mood for that, but if you aren't in just the right receptive mood it will struggle to win you over.
The Mystery of Time is the sixth full-length album by German Metal Opera project Avantasia. The album was released in 2013 and is the start a new story by creator Tobias Sammet and his collaborators, completely unrelated to the original two part concept The Metal Opera or The Wicked Trilogy which concluded in 2010 with the release of two albums simultaneously, The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon. Avantasia was very nearly laid to rest after this, as it had been once before, however Tobias changed his mind and so The Mystery of Time was born. Guests this time around include some Avantasia veterans such as Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic) and Bob Catley (Magnum), as well as some newbies, including Saxon’s Biff Byford and Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen (playing a guitar solo). The core band has changed a little with drummer Eric Singer being replaced by Russell Gilbrook (Uriah Heep).

If you’re at all familiar with the last couple of Avantasia releases, then The Mystery of Time will likely come across as being quite the typical sounding Avantasia release. Essentially refusing to stick to any one particular genre, the album mixes elements of melodic heavy metal, power metal, symphonic metal and hard rock, with very occasional and subtle progressive influences (especially in the first couple of tracks), as well as one unashamedly pop/rock song in the form of Sleepwalking.

The end result sounds like the natural continuation of the last couple of albums. There are a few clear power metal songs which are a throwback to the original Avantasia sound, but there always has been on the post-Metal Opera albums so that’s not anything new. The Mystery of Time most definitely isn’t the return to playing power metal that I’m sure the fans of the first two albums would have been hoping for, nor is it even a mostly power metal affair as with The Scarecrow, as aside from the occasional burst of speed there are only actually three clearly defined power metal songs here (The Watchmakers' Dream, Where Clock Hands Freeze, Invoke the Machine). The majority of the music is melodic heavy metal which has a near constant hard rock sort of vibe to it, a sound that Avantasia has become rather adept at by this point, and this is something which works very much in the album’s favour, although what power metal songs are here do stand out as clear highlights.

The compositions themselves don’t manage to rival the best work of Avantasia, but The Mystery of Time easily stands as the most consistent release since The Scarecrow. I did enjoy The Wicked Symphony but felt that it was a step down in terms of overall quality, while Angel of Babylon come over as being very patchy; a weak way to end The Wicked Trilogy, as if Tobias had stretched his ideas too thinly by releasing two albums at once. The break between albums seems to have worked wonders though. While there are still a couple of songs which don’t stand up to the best the best of the bunch (Sleepwalking, What’s Left of Me), we’re talking many more really good ones than not, especially The Watchmakers' Dream, Invoke the Machine and the two epics of the album, Savior In The Clockwork and The Great Mystery.

It has taken me a few listens to get into, but that’s a good thing as the returns have been increasingly better, whereas The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon left good first impressions and had diminishing returns. I’d actually say that The Mystery of Time is the third strongest Avantasia release to date. Let’s just hope that if Tobias has a sequel planned for this one it isn’t another case of diminishing returns as with The Metal Opera and The Wicked Trilogy. An exceptional grade rating is deserved.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org/avantasia-the-mystery-of-time-t2887.html))
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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