CD review AVANTASIA ‘Moonglow’

(10/10) The rise of Avantasia, happening during the last almost twenty years, is an impressive one. Mainman and founder Tobias Sammet started the project in 1999 with “The Metal Opera’ being the first longplayer that hit the record stores. What started rather small became one of the most remarkable metal opera projects in the here and now. Sammet managed to create with Avanasia an own brand that is well-known in the metal world and that can be immediately linked to Sammet and the project.

Not only based on the creative and restless approach of Sammet, but also due to the exciting story lines and excellent musical companions, Avantasia is a nowadays a synonym for excellently done melodic metal with a high entertainment factor.

Three years after ‘Ghostlights’ was released, it’s album number eight that’s right in the starting blocks. The core team that did ‘Moonglow’ didn’t change from the previous album. It’s, next to the mastermind himself, guitarist and producer Sascha Paeth, Michael Rodenberg (key) and Felix Bohnke (d) being the heart of Avantasia. And as it was with the previous releases also ‘Moonglow’ comes up with illustrious and well-known singers in rock and metal.

Bob Catley is regular guest on Avantasia releases and the Magnum frontman is also part of the newest strike. Next to him it’s Ronnie Atkins, Eric Martin, Geoff Tate and Jorn Lande contributing to ‘Moonglow’.

A refreshing element is the contribution of new guest singers. Candice Night, known from Blackmore’s Night does an awesome job and it’s her voice that enriches the title track so much. Next to Night it is Blind Guradian frontman Hansi Kursch and Kreator’s mastermind Mille Petrozza, both being part of Avantasia for the first time.

‘Moonglow’ is the beginning of a next Avantasia era. Sammet spent two years on the realisation of this longplayer, done without any commercial pressure or time restriction. The eleven songs that made it on this release are the essence of this two years work.

Album number eight became the one with widest approach and mind-set. On the one hand there are tunes like the title track with Candice Night’s voice giving this song an own identity being a counterpart to the previous track ‘Book of Shallows’, which brings the harsh thrash element up to surface. It’s remarkable how the melodic and operatic metal track shifts towards an aggressive thrasher as soon as Mille Petrozza takes of the lead vocals. Immediately also riffs gets much heavier. It’s these thrilling moves that are special on ‘Moonglow’, making the album to an entertaining journey through a world that’s beyond reality.

The storyline that acts as the glue between the eleven chapters is a creature that doesn’t find a place in the world it’s living in and therefore decided to move from a shiny and bright reality into darkness. This enables the opening of a door towards a new world and although it sounds like a mystic story it can be seen as a metaphor for something else.

‘Moonglow’ is the richest and most mature Avantasia release. Each of the eleven songs is real treat for your ears, an album that doesn’t know a weak spot. I would say, a top three candidate for the 2019 year poll and a true epos.


(10/10)

Tracklist:

  1. Ghost In The Moon
  2. Book Of Shallows
  3. Moonglow
  4. The Raven Child
  5. Starlight
  6. Invincible
  7. Alchemy
  8. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
  9. Lavender
  10. Requiem For A Dream
  11. Maniac

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: February 15th, 2019

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