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Avantasia - The Scarecrow

Published January 22 2008

=Staff's pick

Twisted Mind
The Scarecrow*
Shelter From The Rain
Carry Me Over
What Kind Of Love
Another Angel Down
The Toy Master*
Devil In The Belfry*
Cry Just A Little
I Don't Believe In Your Love
Lost In Space

Genre Heavy Metal
Tobias Sammet
Tracks 11
Henjo Richter
Runningtime 64 Min.
Sascha Paeth
Label Nuclear Blast
Sascha Paeth
Release 25 Jan. 2008
Eric Singer
Country Germany
Similar artists Edguy

So it happened anyway. Despite Tobias Sammet's earlier assurance that Avantasia was a finished chapter after the second part of the critically acclaimed Metal Opera in 2002, we are now confronted with a brand new album from the project. This is, however, concept-wise completely separated from the Metal Opera and stands on its own feet. Once again Sammet has managed to gather more or less the crème de la crème of the vocalists in the genre. Participating this time is none less than Roy Khan, Jørn Lande, Alice Cooper, Michael Kiske, Oliver Hartmann, Bob Catley and Amanda Somerville. Additional musicians are Kai Hansen and Rudolf Schenker on guitar, playing occasional small parts.

If you are anticipating the old Metal Opera sound and pace, you might be more than slightly disappointed by this. This album is darker, more naked and simpler and there is not much of the power metal you might crave in this. The opener Twisted Mind sets that tone right away and is by far the heaviest track released under the Avantasia flag and at least the chorus is a fat punch in your face. I suspect that this is most likely an intended thing by Tobias, to make the album dark to fit the Scarecrow story and keep it somewhat naked and simple, but those memorable melodies and arrangements we usually connect with his creations are for the biggest part absent on this album.

There is a big difference between the highs and the lows on this album. On one hand we have these real spine chillers like the title track. A monumental piece where Jørn Lande really excels and when the tempo rises in the second half of the song you are blown away. An epic heavy weighter of Black Sabbath measures. Alice Cooper fits the dark and suggestive song The Toy Master perfectly and the song is one of the highlights on the album, once again especially in the second half. Devil In The Belfry finds Jørn Lande once again playing the lead role and it's a fast smoker with an absolute killer refrain. A masterpiece.

But these mentioned aces aside, it mainly grinds on in a modest mid tempo (Shelter From The Rain and Another Angel Down excluded, where the first is very Hellowenesque but highly average) and it never really manages to get under your skin and it does not feel like growing material. I have played this album quite a lot lately and if anything, many songs seem to wear out pretty quick. We also get two ballads which both goes in through one ear and out via the other. Well played, very well sung, partly very good, clad in a good production but mister Sammet is unfortunately far from hitting the bullseye with this release.

See also review of: Ghostlights , The Mystery Of Time , The Metal Opera Part I , The Metal Opera Part II
See also: interview with Tobias Sammet








5,5 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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