Avantasia - The metal opera pt. l 4.5/5

Reviewed: 1-13-06


1. Prelude
2. Reach out for the light
3. Serpents in paradise
4. Malleus maleficarum
5. Breaking away
6. Farewell
7. The glory of Rome
8. In nomine patris
9. Avantasia
10. A new dimension
11. Inside
12. Sign of the cross
13. The tower

Egduy's Tobias Sammet has made his first solo CD and, as you would expect, it is magnificent. Sammet writes all of Edguy's songs, but is such a prolific songwriter that he had enough songs to make a 2-part metal opera. Sammet has dreamed of a CD performed with his fellow peers and Avantasia is just that. Joining Sammet on vocals are former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske, Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen, Virgin Steele's David DeFeis, Angra's former Andre Matos, and (then) At Vance's Oliver Hartmann. In case that isn't enough, there is also an all-star band consisting of Sammet on keyboards, Gamma Ray's Henjo Richter on guitar, Helloween's Markus Grosskopf on bass, and Rhapsody's Alex Holzworth on drums.

The songs, of course, sound much like Edguy. However, Sammet has given each of the vocalists enough room to sound like themselves. Sometimes on other CDs, it is hard to distinguish when the guest is singing. Not here, as the vocal lines, all written by Sammet, are interpreted by the individual vocalist in their own unique way. Instrumentally, again like Edguy, this is a combination of heavy, melodic guitars, excellent orchestration, and occasional keyboards. Not surprisingly, there isn't a bad track to be found here. There are a few which stand proudly above the others, however, and those include "Reach out for the light”, "Farewell”, "Avantasia”, and "Sign of the cross”. The only disappointment is that the chorus for the finale, "The tower”, while catchy, is not as strong as I would expect for a closing track from Sammet. The rest of the track is very good, however.

Tobias Sammet has put together an all-star line-up and written music that is worthy of its performers. Lost among all the guests is Sammet who does the majority of the singing with his tremendous voice. A CD with this many great performers always has trouble living up to expectations. Sammet has lived up to those expectations by combining great songwriting and allowing the guests to put each of their unique stamps on the CD. Avantasia's 'The metal opera pt. l' is a very, very good CD which lives up to the quality that listeners are used to from Edguy and 'The metal opera pt. ll' was eagerly anticipated.




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