Review: Avantasia “Moonglow” [Nuclear Blast Records]

Review: Avantasia “Moonglow” [Nuclear Blast Records]

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18 years after The Metal Opera, in the beginning of 2019 Tobias Sammet’s supergroup release their eighth album. The band’s mastermind assures again that the new release is the best and the most epic of all previous albums; also the line-up allows to expect another one interesting journey. With this, last years Avantasia doesn’t create something radically new and the list of guest musicians doesn’t change a lot. Overall, there will hardly be some surprises in Moonglow. So if we’ll accept this fact, the new album can take appropriate place in Tobias’ discography.

An album opens with ten minutes “Ghost In The Moon” (Sammet in all his best). However, it’s quite light track instead of some epic canvas, which fits better for the happy end. Also, the motive at the eighth minute, suspiciously reminding the hymn of Russia. With this you can find some words about megalomania and other unpleasant stuff, so let’s think about Sammet’s sence of humor.

In a whole, this album (maybe even more than other Avantasia‘s LPs) sounds like many great musicians got together, had some good time and simultaneously recorded 12 tracks. Despite that fact, that, according to Tobias, the concept of an album is quite dark, with desolation and hopelessness topics; despite that he was inspired by illustrations to Tim Burton’s stories, Moonglow somehow sounds very “light”.

The second track “Book Of Shallows” sounds totally “Blind Guardian”, thanks to Hansi Kürsch’s vocals. In the second part of the track Mille Petrozza from Kreator can be heard with other “classic” Avantasia vocalists, so the result is totally worth to listen to the whole album. As for me, it’s the beast song in an album.

Blackmore-Night family appears on the title track, but the chorus with Candice’ vocals somehow reminds me an “Amaranth” from Nightwish, and not only this song.

11 minutes long “The Raven Child”, which was released as a single (really, why not?) shows why people love Avantasia: it’s diverse, interesting and the contribution of each guest musician is worth attention.

Of course, there is a typical Sammet’s ballad in an album like “What’s Left Of Me” (The Mystery Of Time, 2013) or “Cry Just A Little” (The Scarecrow, 2008): a song called “Invincible”, which turns to “Alchemy” with guitars sound like “Toy Master” (The Scarecrow, 2008). Also, the beginning of “The Piper At The Gates Of Down” sounds similar to the beginning of “Invoke The Machine” (The Mystery Of Time, 2013). Seems like re-using ideas became a tradition for Tobias.

The album end with a track boldly called “Requiem For A Dream” and Avantasia‘s version of good old song “Maniac” from Michael Sembello. As a “pop-goes-metal” covers fan, I really enjoyed it, but this track falls off the whole conception. Also it reinforces the impression that nowadays Avantasia is some kind of metal social-club for fun. Maybe it’s not bad, but it’s not what was it in a days of The Metal Opera or The Scarecrow trilogy. Well, things are changing in this life, isn’t it?

Tobias Sammet knows how to make music, for sure, and how to make it good. But this album has a lack of epic. And some obsessive idea “we heard this once somewhere” disturb during all tracks. So Moonglow can be hardly called “monumental” or “revolutionary” album, but no doubt it’s a qualitative work made with dozens professional musicians under the leadership of one German storyteller.

Moonglow was released on February, 15 via Nuclear Blast Records.

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