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AVANTANSIA - The Metal Opera Pt. II - CD - Century Media Records

review by: Jez Andrews

Avantasia is quite a remarkable project. The Metal Opera Pt.II is quite a remarkable undertaking. The music is a well crafted blend of influences, including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Queen, and the modern rock and power metal acts from which the eighteen (yes, eighteen!) members were freshly plucked. Brainchild of Edguy's Tobias Sammet, and featuring such vocal talents as Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), David Defeis (Virgin Steele), Rob Rock (Warrior), Andre Matos (ex-Angra), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) and Bob Catley (Magnum), the results are nothing to be sniffed at. Not a classic power metal album, but pretty damn impressive nonetheless.

The rhythmn section (courtesy of Rhapsody's Alex Holzwarth and Kiss's Eric Singer) comes across very strongly from start to finish, but especially so in "The Looking Glass" and "The Final Sacrifice." My look of concentration finally broke into a smirk, followed by an attack of the giggles as I heard "In Quest For," which just sounded too much like the music from "Cheers" to be taken seriously. Some nice pacey, chugging power metal followed, which more than made up for any weak moments.

I found "Neverland" to be more than a little reminiscent of Sonata Arctica, and a few other moments in this album sounded almost Meatloaf-esque. But if there's one thing that really lets the album down, it's that there are so few sections of the music that make full use of the available talent within the group. Much of it could quite easily be recreated with a five-piece band onstage, and despite the pleasant arrangements, it doesn't have that quality of grandeur or majesty one would expect. Having said that, I would not turn down a chance to see this album put to a stage musical.



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