Welcome to Avantasia"
One Word Review: Majestic
I remember really looking forward to this release, when it was released back in 2002. I loved "Avantasia Part I" with its awesome melodic songs and great atmosphere. It would be interesting to hear if Tobias Sammet could continue the high standard set by that album.
Part II has the best beginning, I could have imagined. Starting out with the 14 minute epic The seven angels. This song has it all, atmospheric choirs, fast melodic parts, huge choruses, beautiful piano parts and above all, awesome singing. Especially the lines by David Defeis are excellent. I can't help it, but some parts in the middle of this song (9:35) make me think of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf (Bat out of hell I & II). This is a brilliant song and one of the biggest highlights of the album.
No return continues the Sammet tradition of writing excellent melodic speed metal songs. This is a fast melodic song with an awesome chorus. The song has a cool bridge leading up to the chorus. Melodic metal heaven starts right here...
The looking glass slows things down a bit with its heavy drive. I continue to enjoy that great atmospheric bridge right before the chorus. Excellent! Bob Catley sings like I had never heard him sing before on this one.
On the ballad In quest for more, Bob Catley is back and he really shines. I love his voice, and here it gives the song a very special feeling. It brings back memories of his classic "Middle Earth" album.
The ending fades nicely into The Final sacrifice, which is another highlight of the album. I was surprised that it was included here, as it was already released on the Avantasia single back in 2000. It's only another plus for the album though, as it fits nicely here. David Defeis (Virgin Steele) rules the song, when his charismatic voice takes over and makes the song even more powerful than it already is. His screams help build a great atmosphere. This is the exact same version as on the single as far as I can hear. The only difference is the production, which is somewhat thicker and heavier here.
Neverland is another of my favorites. Damn Mr. Sammet, You really know how to write majestic metal songs. This chorus stayed in my head for several weeks after hearing the album for the first time.
Well, I don't think I will describe every song on the album. There should be something to discover for yourself. Let me just say that the high standard continues through the rest of the songs. Just wait till you hear Chalice of agony where Kai Hansen and Andre Matos make an appearance. Holy cow... What a song. Oh, and see if you recognize that piano intro to Anywhere...
Speaking of Chalice of Agony, it has become a clear album favorite and I like to put it on in any party situation, as it explodes with positive attitude and power. A completely brilliant song, right from the opening scream, straight-to-the-point guitar riff and overpowering chorus through to the explosive finish. Ok, I really will stop describing the songs now, promise.
The production of the album is excellent. A little thicker and heavier than Part I but very close to that sound.
All the different singers put their own touch on the album, but Tobias Sammet somehow outshines them all. His voice is getting better and better with each release. Amazing.
All the songs are excellent and more than a decade after its initial release the album holds up. That makes me regard this album (and part one for that matter) as classics in the power metal genre.
The Metal Opera Part I and II remain the pinnacle of Avantasia greatness. The band evolved after this but lost some of the pureness, innocence and soul, which is so openly on display here.
Written By Steen
Online: Friday, February 6, 2015
Chalice Of Agony