One of the most highly anticipated heavy metal releases has finally arrived. Avantasia has continually won over hearts and minds releasing a series of powerful epics in a rock opera package, putting on some stunning live shows intermittently featuring some huge heavy metal talent. After a long while away, the story continues with ‘Ghostlights‘.
01. Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose
02. Let The Storm Descend Upon You
03. The Haunting
04. Seduction Of Decay
06. Draconian Love
07. Master Of The Pendulum
08. Isle Of Evermore
09. Babylon Vampyres
11. Unchain The Light
12. A Restless Heart And Obsidian Skies
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release date: 29th January 2016
Avantasia has long been a favourite project of mine. From it’s inception in 1999 each and every album has been quite a fascinating listen, tapping all the best of European heavy metal talent to create some rock opera masterpieces. The project has clearly been a passion for mastermind Tobias Sammet who has time and time again poured his heart and soul into crafting the works of Avantasia that have progressively gotten better with each album.
The project has gotten so big at this point Sammet has been able to utilise the big name talents of Eric Martin (Mr. Big) and Bill Byford (Saxon) when the project reached higher planes with 2013’s ‘The Mystery of Time‘. An eagerly anticipated return has now arrived, believe it or not, even bigger than before with ‘Ghostlights‘. With so much creativity being thrown into these albums, it’s hard to believe there would be any left for this monster.
But alas Avantasia waste no time in getting the ball rolling to introduce you to another album, with ‘Mystery of a Blood Red Rose‘ taking on a slightly different approach this time around in being a instantly identifiable Meat Loaf homage. With the blaring piano being a focal point of the track it is definitely a different Avantasia song which might even raise a few eyebrows as to whether this might define the albums sound.
Fear not, as this is not the case. Quite the contrary really as the album kicks into the ‘Ghostlights‘ progressive monster ‘Let The Storm Descend Upon You‘, and my argument for possibly the best Avantasia song ever written. The song is pure heavy metal, with every note being as necessary as the last. Avantasia have occasionally been guilty of forcing length for epic tracks, what can often be described as ‘symphonic white noise’ (think of the interlude of ‘The Wicked Symphony‘). But as this 12-minute epic all metal with huge build ups, a massive chorus and ripping solos in all the right places. This is what serves as the definition for the album – a raw and energetic approach with the roaring guitars and almost tribal beats of the drum threading the pieces together.
Tracks like the theatrical ‘The Haunting’ featuring the legendary Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) on vocals add a diverse angle onto the albums, with tracks such as the speedy ‘Ghostlights‘ and ‘Master of the Pendulum‘ stating that this album intends to be ranked among the modern heavy metal classics.
It’s hard to argue why that would not be, as this time around Sammet has brought back his true heavy metal passions in crafting ‘Ghostlights‘, and let his vision for music do more of the talking than any musical influences ever have. Where previous albums have paid tribute to some heavy metal legends as represented in the music, this album does define Sammet as a great composer of the genre as he truly makes his sound his own.
With the final notes of ‘A Restlest Heart and Obsidian Skies‘ ringing out, I’ve been convinced that these might be the best years of Avantasia’s career. No it is not the most complex album in the discography, but that is what serves ‘Ghostlights‘ the ultimate justice in that it is such a natural composition from start to finish. ‘Ghostlights‘ is a true work of an artist, and that is what makes it the finest release to date.