Avantasia
Angel of Babylon


2.5
average

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
May 3rd, 2010 | 32 replies | 8,852 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The third part in The Scarecrow Saga proves to be its weakest.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Tobias Sammet has taken the cheesiest genre in popular music, tripled le fromage-factor, and yet, he still made it all work – and not just once. His ‘metal opera’-pioneering side project Avantastia released The Metal Opera and The Metal Opera Part II early last decade, after which he called it a day. But as of a couple of years ago, Avantasia is back. Sammet’s second project inside his project is even more ambitious than his first: The Scarecrow Saga is one serious trilogy. Together with numerous guest appearances from well-known names in the hard rock/metal scene (mostly vocalists), Sammet and crew have put together first part The Scarecrow in 2008, and this year they’ve rounded out the storyline with the simultaneous release of The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, the respective second and third part in the trilogy.

Now, both of those first two efforts were great, though over-the-top power metal albums. The former had its share of inconsistencies, but the latter got the formula right nearly all the way. Huge credit must be given to the guest vocalists, who, on both albums, served their purpose well in increasing variety and preventing Sammet’s performance to become monotonous, thus making the records more interesting and viable. Closing part Angel of Babylon, however, is the weakest album out of the trilogy, something first and foremost caused by the vocals. The variety of voices is not as large: Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) and Russell Allen (Symphony X) also appeared on The Wicked Symphony, but are much less notable here (Allen does a nice job on the closing track but only gets a few lines) which is a shame considering the unique voices they both carry; Jon Oliva (Savatage), who has a much rougher voice than his fellow singers, is the only one really standing out with his performance on Death is Just a Feeling. Jørn Lande (Masterplan), who has been the most prominent guest vocalist on both previous releases, but even more so here, fails to really make a dent, simply because his voice doesn’t boast the same recognisability as most of the other guests. Like on The Scarecrow, there is also a minor female vocal appearance. Unlike the completely failed attempt that was What Kind of Love on that album, however, Symphony of Life is not a cringe-worthy ballad, and proves powerful enough to work.

With the absence of a vocal section as impressive as the ones of the previous two parts, it becomes clear what makes Avantasia’s formula really work. Without an impressive enough guest palette, Sammet’s project becomes too samey-sounding. Angel of Babylon feels generic next to what we’ve already heard from this project. It’s not just the essential vocal section though; this third album rehashes too many old ideas, and doesn’t come up with anything close to the highlights of the first and second. In fact, by the time we’ve moved through the first, let’s say, three or four tracks, the damage has already been done. On all fronts, Angel of Babylon just doesn’t feel as inspired compared to its counterparts, and by the time we get to ‘ooh, let’s make this a REALLLLLY EPIC closer’ Journey to Arcadia, we just don’t care anymore. As the album progresses, it becomes more and more tiresome to listen to.

Sammet has simply gotten too caught up in his little brainchild. Whereas the concept is great, the guests are some of the best in the scene, and the execution is generally well-carried out, this is just a formula that the good man can’t seem to pull off thrice. Angel of Babylon feels as if it’s the smaller, less important brother of The Scarecrow and The Wicked Symphony, and anyone would have to conclude that he had been better off just making this a two-parter.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Decided to do this to round things off; the other two has reviews for them already, and Poet wasn't planning to do this one as well. I've had my power metal dose for now after this. This has nothing on The Wicked Symphony.

EVedder27
May 3rd 2010



6088 Comments


Great review Nag, good to see you reviewing a new album as well.

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've decided to do that more for some time, though everyone always beats me to the albums I want to do. Apart from that, I don't really keep up with what's coming out when. Thanks as always.

EVedder27
May 3rd 2010



6088 Comments


Yeah I know what you mean. With all the popular stuff taken I usually go for the unknown releases and I end up getting like 3 comments and no one listens to it.

LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


Obviously I don't really agree but this is my least favourite Avantasia album, I've taken to the rest immediately but this one didn't exactly grab me but I've listened like 10 times and it grew a little.
Good review as always

Romulus
May 3rd 2010



8373 Comments


How about you guys both write one for American Slang when a stream comes up? Just a thought.

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah I know what you mean. With all the popular stuff taken I usually go for the unknown releases and I end up getting like 3 comments and no one listens to it.


Pretty much. I don't care if I get 20 or 200 comments, but it would be nice if there's at last some interest in what you're reviewing. That said, there was this album you review I promised to check out, and I still haven't. Good that I think about it, because I will start downloading right now.

Obviously I don't really agree but this is my least favourite Avantasia album, I've taken to the rest immediately but this one didn't exactly grab me but I've listened like 10 times and it grew a little.


That's strange, because it became more tiresome the more I listend to it.

How about you guys both write one for American Slang when a stream comes up? Just a thought.


By the time, nobody would really care about new reviews anymore, and it's not the type of album I easily write about.

EVedder27
May 3rd 2010



6088 Comments


How about you guys both write one for American Slang when a stream comes up? Just a thought.

I was seriously considering that, but I feel like there will be about 5,000 reviews for that album.

Exactly my thoughts Nag


LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


I guess I just love my cheese

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cheese can be great, but that's not why I don't like this nearly as much as the other two. All the inspiration seems to have been drawn away after part one and two. If I would bear myself to listen to this again, the chance is great it'll even become a 2.

LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


Then I guess I'll just concede Avantasia fanboyism

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haha, I can see that. I just uploaded their other albums unto the band page and you've already rated the two EPs.

LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


Yup, got the whole collection (except the box set) including the original Avantasia single =)

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Djeezus...

Perhaps I should upload the single for you as well? ;)

LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


Yeah do, I'm too lazy to do it myself XD

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Already done.

LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


Woohoo, rating now
I remember spending a while searching for it, because it has an exclusive song on it and being the completist that I am I just had to have it.

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm a completionist too, but owning all singles is going too far in my book. And you mean physically, too? How do you get the money for everything?

LepreCon
May 3rd 2010



3544 Comments


Hehe just the first limited edition single because it has the guy from Virgin Steele singing the exclusive track.
Hrm, well, I'm able to procure CDs quite easily because I work in HMV and I get employees discount. Also I've scored quite a tasty inheritance or two in my life XD

Nagrarok
May 3rd 2010



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You are making me jealous. VERY jealous. I applied for a job in a cd store (where of course I would get an employee discount), but they were all full already. Too bad for me.



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