Avantasia - The metal opera pt. ll 4/5

Reviewed: 1-13-06


1. The seven angels
2. No return
3. The looking glass
4. In quest for
5. The final sacrifice
6. Neverland
7. Anywhere
8. Chalice of agony
9. Memory
10. Into the unknown

'Pt. ll' of Tobias Sammet's (Edguy's mainman) metal opera is much like 'pt. l', but there are some differences, those being a little more variety in the songwriting and a little less variety in the singers. Once again, this CD features a who's who of power metal vocalists, including Sammet himself, Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen, At Vance's (then) Oliver Hartmann, Virgin Steele's David DeFeis, ex-Helloween's Michael Kiske, and Shaman’s (and ex-Angra’s) Andre Matos. As previously mentioned, however, these singers have a less prominent role than was the case on 'pt. ll', this time with Sammet picking up a larger piece of the vocals.

As you would expect, much of the songwriting is similar to what Sammet does for Edguy, but the CD also has a few surprises. Most notably, of the 10 tracks, 3 of them are slow, ballad types. While this style of song is not unusual for an Edguy CD, this is an unusually high number. The centerpiece of the CD is the 14 minute opener, "The seven angels", another surprise, as Sammet usually puts his epic at the end of his CDs. This sprawling track of wide–ranging styles even includes a piece in the middle that sounds like it was written for Meatloaf. In addition to this track, the other highlights are the DeFeis led hardrocker "The final sacrifice", and the Edguy sounding "No return" and "Chalice of agony".

Tobias Sammet has set a level of excellence in his past work that this CD lives up to. Combining his songwriting with the vocal talent and a band comprised of members of Rhapsody, Gamma Ray and Helloween, there was no way this was not going to be successful. As with every CD that Sammet is involved with, this CD is a must for any power metal fan. The only slight disappointment to this CD is that it feels just a little low on energy due to the larger than usual number of slower paced tracks. This CD concludes the Avantasia project, as Sammet will now return his full energies to Edguy. He has so much music in him, however, I suspect we will see more excellent side projects in the future.




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