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Avantasia – Moonglow (Album Review)

Avantasia, one of the most successful German music projects, released their seventh album (eighth, if you count in a live album) Moonglow on 15th February 2019. I am a huge fan of their music and was looking forward to that new album for the last months. Here is a the second review of a metal album after Doro’s Forever Warriors // Forever United double disc.

This is the official album teaser:

 

Avantasia – About the Project

Avantasia has been found by the singer of the German metal band Edguy, Tobias Sammet. The first album releases was the metal opera Avantasia, which has been released in two parts in 2001 and 2002. One characteristic of the project is that it acts as a super-band, in which famous rock and metal musicians join in. Apart from Sammet himself, only Michael Kiske, singer of Helloween, has participated in all albums so far. The list of musicians supporting is quite long, including rock superstars like Alice Cooper, the Scorpions band members Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker or the long-time Kiss guitar player Bruce Kulick.

The most well-known track of the band is likely still the first single of the first Avantasia album named after band, which is acting like a “hymn” of the project. Unfortunately, there is no music video of this track. Another lovely track from the first album is Farewell, which features Within Temptation‘s Sharon den Adel.

The albums typically tell a closed story and still have the opera character. However, the last three albums The Wicked Symphony / Angel of Babylon, The Mystery of Time and the latest, 2016-released Ghostlights, were more successful from a commercial perspective. Each of them reached 2nd place in the German album charts. Though Avantasia is most successful in Germany, they are very popular all over Europe and world-wide. In addition to ten gigs in Germany, the 2019 World Tour will lead Avantasia to five gigs in North America, to Tokyo, Sydney and Melbourne.

 

The only Avantasia single which made it to the German charts is Lost in Space, which ranked 9th in 2007.

 

Avantasia – Moonglow – The Interview

As part of the promotion material for the album, Nuclear Blast published a two-part interview with Tobias Sammet before the album release. I felt it is worth adding to my review.

One interesting statement about the album to me was that Sammet stated that the songs much better work individually than in previous publications, which

 

Avantasia – Moonglow – Track by Track

Here is my track by track review of the new Avantasia album

1. Ghost in the Moon
The first track already lasts close to ten minutes – Avantasia songs just typically do not have the three minute radio format. The album starts with one of these tracks the Avantasia fans will just love. It would blow the posting to quote the whole lycris, but maybe just taking a short except of Sammet’s lovely language. Great, plastic metal narration!

Whispers sounding from the brake
Sinister eyes along the way
A phantom rushing through the night
Make haste, run from the dawn
Back across the Rubicon
To the shelter from the light

When you happen not to glimpse on the remaining time and feel the track may already be other, it just celebrates its grand finale. Love it!

2. Book of Shallows
The first “handy” song of just five minutes. The first moments of the song reminded me of “Lost in Space”. The song just has a lot of power and speed, really good one. Also the first song which is having a chorus.

3. Moonglow

Moonglow has been recorded together with Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night. I feel that the title track is just amazing, typical Avantasia stuff with powerful voices and powerful lyrics. One of the best Avantasia tracks ever!

4. The Raven Child

The Raven Child was the first Moonglow track, which was released in late 2018. The official video features the whole track, despite it takes over eleven minutes. A lovely story told by Sammet, Hansi Kürsch and Jorn Lande, which starts slow and silent and then explodes in powerful and dramatic elements. You just don’t stop listening.

5. Starlight
Whatever you do when you hear a good song… Swaying, dancing, headbanging – there is a high potential that you will do it from the very first time you listen to “Starlight”. The chorus is quite catchy as well

Waiting for a sign in vain
That’s gonna shine away the pain
Gonna cite a figment down
Yet I’m gonna stick around
Are you gonna guide me starlight
Guide me starlight

Ronnie Atkins’ voice also adds a lot of power here. This one will definitely be great on tour, for sure!

6. Invincible
“Invincible” is a slow ballad track sung by Sammet and Geoff Tate. It is lovely language, just catching and creating lovely pictures.

To wash off all fragility
Throw yourself into the ocean
Jaded, blunt, invisible…
Invincible!

7. Alchemy
“Alchemy” is a longer one, just attached to the track before. It starts slow, but soon, the guitars are joining in. It is a again a duet of Sammet and former Queensryche singer Tate. Just a great, powerful one – seven and a half minutes can be so damn fast.

8. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” is not just quite a long name for a song, the lineup is also amazing – six vocalists tell you the story of this track. Another song, which showed me how much I like Sammet’s way of expressing things, for example

Try to fly, flap your wings
As you look to the night sky
A gilded cage in the twilight

9. Lavender
With 4:30 minutes, you may call “Lavender” a shorter track of the album. “Magnum” singer Bob Catley joins for this track, which sometimes even feels a bit pop-alike. After I was a bit absent listening to “The Piper” the track before, this one catches me more again.

10. Requiem for a Dream
“Requiem for a Dream” is the only track on moonglow, where Michael Kiske is singing aside Sammet. With over six minutes, it is the last longer track on the album.  The track starts a bit like a choral, but then is very speedful and powerful. Though I love the lyrics and tended to be fascinated by them, I did not fully fell in love to that song.

11. Maniac
This one is really a cover of Michael Sembello’s classic song of the Flashdance movie. Sammet already stated before the album release that the song was just meant to be a B-side or bonus track, but the band loved it too much not to publish it on long-play. Sammet is doing this cover together with Eric Martin from Mr Big. Definitely a good metal cover of that classic, but after the big announcements around this track, I even expected more.

12. Heart (bonus track)
Twelve songs, 70 minutes – “Heart” is the grand finale of “Moonglow”. Sammet does the vocals on his own for that, but his voice is multiplied, which gives the caching chorus quite some additional power. I love it – a great finish of Avantasia’s album.

Avantasia – Moonglow – My View

If you want to have an album full of quick and easy to learn lyrics, other metal bands will be your choice. Avantasia is just different – and “Moonglow” is bombastic. Great to have these guys back in the record stores and on tour in 2019. If you buy or download, you definitely made a great buy. I just do not see it as a 5/5 star album due to some overall weaknesses. On the other hand, the disc is much more than just a solid buy. Enjoy!

 

Avantasia – Moonglow – Purchase Links

Here are links to Amazon Germany, where you can purchase the physical digibook, the Vinyl or download the album:

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