Avantasia - Lost in space pt. 2 (EP) 3.5/5
1. Lost in space
2. Promised land
3. Dancing with tears in my eyes
4. Scary eyes
5. In my defence
6. Lost in space (Alive at Gatestudio)
With the woeful title track already thoroughly brutalised in my review of 'Lost in space pt. 1', I'll skip right onto the remaining 5 songs for the 2nd part of this dual-EP return by Tobias Sammet's Avantasia. Just like on its predecessor, 2 of the songs on 'Lost in space pt. 2' are covers, and one is an alternate version of something already done before. Thankfully, though, this version of the EP features 2 new exclusive songs instead of the solitary offering featured on the first part.
Norwegian vocalist Jorn Lande features again on the first of these, "Promised land", and is joined by the legendary/infamous Michael Kiske for what is easily the best song on the EP. Opened by a traditional uplifting power metal lead part, the song is a speedy power metal number with a tremendous sing-a-long chorus performed alternately by Lande and Kiske. Despite being his usual reliable self, Kiske's increasingly melodic singing is thoroughly shown up by the ferocious performance of Lande, who must already be in with a shout for the 'man of the match' award on the new-look Avantasia.
The 2nd new track, "Scary eyes", is a slightly slower effort that, while being entirely decent in its own right, does have the faint whiff of b-side material about it. Perfectly valid as an EP track, but with it featuring no guest vocalists and slightly jokey lyrics, it does seem like it was never a contender to make it onto the full-length CD that is to follow in early 2008. It is let down somewhat by a relatively weak chorus, but makes for a decent addition to the EP.
Having already been covered by both Freedom Call and The Poodles in recent years, the decision to record a version of Ultravox's "Dancing with tears in my eyes" is a pretty uninspired one, and the lacklustre rendition that is sandwiched by the 2 new songs follows suit accordingly; it is faithful to the original to a fault, with only an afterthought riff under the verses offering evidence of anything 'metal' going on. This was no doubt an attempt to recreate the past glory of Edguy's majestic cover of "Hymn", but it falls pretty far short - and with at least 2 better versions already available from metal bands, it is rendered more or less pointless. Conversely, the more unusual choice of covering Freddie Mercury's "In my defense" works surprisingly well. It's no secret that Sammet loves his piano ballads, and he does a terrific job of performing this rather moving one.
The final track, "Lost in space (Alive at Gatestudio)" is, as the name suggests, a live recording of the title track, but performed as an acoustic ballad with increased vocal accompaniment from Amanda Somerville. While there is very little that could turn "Lost in space" into a good song, it actually works better in this form as a pure MOR pop song with no pretensions of having anything to do with hard rock or heavy metal music - but that nagging suggestion of filler is again in evidence.
If there had to be a winner picked between the 2 versions of 'Lost in space', this one would probably come out on top, but in truth a single release combining the best songs of both would have been the more decent thing to do. Not as close to a glorified single as its counterpart, 'Lost in space pt. 2' is still far from essential listening, but is definitely worth checking out for a power metal enthusiast with some spare cash rattling in their pocket.
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