Avantasia
The Metal Opera


4.0
excellent

Review

by manosg STAFF
July 21st, 2018 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ambitious power metal that is not recommended to cynics.

I have to admit that it took me a while before checking Avantasia’s debut; a concept album which blends a number of characters created by mastermind Tobias Sammet (Edguy) and played by various vocalists, with some historical figures like Pope Clement VIII and Bishop Johann Adam von Bicken. The combination of its title and the symphonic power metal genre tag, always made me fear that this was a bloated cheese fest containing an uninspired 18th century classical approach to heavy metal. To make thing even worse, it is not unusual to see similar projects failing under the weight of their expectations or because of their ambition.

The Metal Opera describes the story of Gabriel Laymann (played by Tobias Sammet), a Dominican order novice in the abbey of Mainz who participates, among others, in a major witch-hunt. When Gabriel meets his stepsister Anna (Sharon den Adel) facing sorcery charges, his perspective of the Order’s actions starts to change. For that reason, he sneaks into a library in order to read a forbidden book but when his mentor Friar Jakob (David DeFeis) finds out, he is taken into custody. While in jail, he meets a druid named Lugaid Vandroiy (Michael Kiske), who introduces Gabriel to a world that is in danger called Avantasia. Lugaid agrees to help Gabriel save his sister in exchange of Gabriel’s help saving Avantasia. Therefore, together they escape prison and using a gateway Lugaid sends Gabriel to Avantasia as “Breaking Away” describes.

In the meantime (“Glory of Rome”), Bishop Johann von Bicken (Rob Rock), Friar Jakob and Bailiff Falk von Kronberg (Ralf Zdiarstek) are travelling to Rome to meet with Pope Clement VIII (Oliver Hartman). With them, they carry the book Gabriel was reading earlier which, according to old documents, is the last of the seven parts of an ancient seal that provides its owner with absolute wisdom if carried to the center of the tower in Avantasia. “Avantasia” recites Gabriel’s arrival into the homonymous world and on “Inside” he is welcomed by Elf Elderane (Andre Matos) and the Dwarf Regrin (Kai Hansen). Those two inform him about the war against the forces of evil and Pope’s plan of using the seal and cutting the connection between Avantasia and humans (“Sign of the Cross”). The final chapter of the opera is “The Tower” where Gabriel obtains the seal and carries it to the Elven capital city of Sesidhbana.

Granted, the above may seem a bit too much and, paired with Edguy’s goofy approach to power metal, even enough to make someone disregard Avantasia’s debut entirely. However, give it a chance and you will realize that The Metal Opera is not only an ambitious offering, but more importantly catchy, fun, consistent and actually unpretentious. Clocking at almost 60 minutes, it is full of memorable vocal lines delivered by an all-star cast including Michael Kiske, David DeFeis, Sharon den Adel, Andre Matos, Kai Hansen, Timo Tolkki and of course Tobias Sammet who takes the lion’s share of lines. Each vocalist represents a character and the distribution of roles is spot-on with Kai Hansen for example playing the role of a dwarf. As expected, the music is quite uplifting and the variety of melodies and riffs keeps the LP interesting throughout. The adventurous “Reach Out for the Light” is fairly representative of the album’s adventurous nature. Contrary to Sammet’s background at the time, The Metal Opera is meant to be enjoyed as a whole and indeed the sum is so much stronger than the individual parts on here. The arrangements are quite complex but at the same time, the songwriting is pretty compelling, creating an epic atmosphere with “The Tower” being one of the highlights on here. The vocalists are used almost to perfection with the final two minutes of “The Glory of Rome” or the ultra-memorable “Avantasia” serving as fine examples of their joint efforts.

As a whole, The Metal Opera is Tobias Sammet at the peak of his abilities, as he uses all the elements that have made Edguy a powerhouse but elevates them by making them part of an ambitious project. Unfortunately, there are some hints of Eurovision cheesiness here and there, and the interludes could have been a bit more elaborate, but those aren’t enough to lower the overall experience. Of course, the album is not recommended to cynics, but those who love ‘90s power metal are in for one hell of a ride.



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user ratings (247)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2018


11745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Couldn't believe that this one didn't have a review.

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Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2018


8457 Comments


Excellent, informative review mate.

Should give this a go, as I cherish many of the singing participants herein.

Digging: Dead Shed Jokers - All The Seasons

bloc
July 21st 2018


57888 Comments


I noticed the author of your review is titled as STAFF instead of your username on the main page. Is that a new thing? Never seen that before.

Anyway, album rules along with Part 2.

Digging: Orange Juice - You Can't Hide Your Love Forever

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2018


8457 Comments


Is that a new thing?

Staff reviews for old albums (not of the current year, that is) are circulated within the "user/contrib" reviews queue.

Feature was introduced some time ago.

Papa Universe
July 21st 2018


22432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this isn't "dab on them haters", this is "furiously choke them with your overly long curly hair... on them haters"

EvoHavok
July 21st 2018


7701 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet to see this reviewed, especially by you, manos.

Digging: Lacuna Coil - Black Anima

manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2018


11745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the kind words guys, really appreciate it.



Need to check the remaining Avantasia albums, apart from The Metal Operas and Ghostlights. Are they any good?

Papa Universe
July 21st 2018


22432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you like this, then everything will most likely be in your liking. They got a little pop-ier lately, but it's still the same blasting power metal.

EvoHavok
July 21st 2018


7701 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, they're all worth hearing.

Papa Universe
July 21st 2018


22432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Metal Opera Pt. I and II > The Wicked Symphony > The Mystery Of Time > The Scarecrow > Ghostlights > Angel of Babylon

manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2018


11745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome, thanks guys.

sonictheplumber
July 22nd 2018


10471 Comments


looks retarded

manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


11745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn.

deslad
August 19th 2018


645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review and album manos; I really enjoyed listening to it.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2018


11745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, des! Always nice to see you checking my reviews.



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