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Review: Avantasia – Moonglow

by Ivona Bogner

Avantasia – Moonglow

1. Ghost in the Moon
2. Book of Shallows
3. Moonglow
4. The Raven Child
5. Starlight
6. Invincible
7. Alchemy
8. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
9. Lavender
10. Requiem for a Dream
11. Maniac

Label: Nuclear Blast
Date: February 15, 2019

Since past month of my life was pretty chaotic, somehow I could not balance my regular job and writing in not one, not tow, but three magazines. And I have always thought my organisations skills are amazing. The day I should at least try to put some things in order finally came, and while I was ironing, I was watching Avantasia’s DVD ″The Flying Opera″. And while I was watching it for at least hundreds of times, it just crossed my mind: ″Why the hell I didn’t already wrote a review of last album?″ One look around the room that looks like someone dropped the H-bomb gave me the answer.

Watching ″The Flying Opera″ DVD and knowing Tobias Sammet is eloquent and funny guy, I thought, from some reason, this review has to be fun at some point. And as my life is eternal roller coaster, humor my defense mechanism, I recalled how I got that DVD. Buying each Edguy or Avnatasia CD or DVD or whatever, has some fun story behind, and none of their albums was bought in my home country. For example, ″The Flying Opera″ was bought in Thessaloniki, Greece. I apologize to guy in records store I spent whole day in it, again, I apologize to him I bought his whole store, I thank to border police who let me pass customs with suitcase full of CD′s, DVD′s, T-shirts. Maybe they let me pass that border cause they have never saw girl smuggling heavy metal merch instead of dresses or make up, hell knows… And most of all, thank to Greek Gods from Olympus, I survived fall from pear with back-pack full with, among others, that Avantasia’s DVD. Yes, it was dusk, and somehow I fell into the sea. The most important is that my music was wrapped in plastic bag, plastic bag in back pack, so it survived!

Too long introduction? Than, it is great I didn’t mention I had to beg hotel stuff to turn on heating in the middle of the summer so I can dry my jeans, since I destroyed other pair of jeans climbing the fortress the day before.

Back to my review…

″Moonglow″ is Avantasia’s eight album. Again, watching ″The Flying Opera″ DVD, I reminded myself that Avatasia supposed to be only two albums project. Again, thanks to Metal Gods (too many gods mentioned for someone who is not religious), Tobias Sammet was smart enough and today I have his 17 albums in my collection, including Edguy discography.

″Moonglow″ supposed to be Sammet’s solo album. After the Ghostlight Tour, he seemed to be too tired, and needed to focus on something new, something different. But, I believe, whatever he would do, everyone would compare it with what he has done with Edguy and Avantasia. It seems he thought the same, so what supposed to be his solo album, turned out to be Avnatasia′s next chapter. In interview series that were launched on Nuclear Blast′s official YouTube channel, Tobias said:

″Moonglow″ is the most adorned and detailed album we’ve ever produced”, including Celtic elements, world music elements, big choirs, atmospheric stuff, and amazing guest vocal performances.

He added that the record would contain:

Great vocal performances, great songs, epic stuff, fantastic stuff, diverse stuff… World musicpower metalpop… Everything.

And I could only agree. There is no doubt that Sammet would call great vocalists to join him as he did by now. Besides old associates (Jorn, Kiske, Cattley, Atkins, Martin, Tate), some new vocals were included (new for Avantasia, but well known in metal world). First of all, Hansi Kursch in ″Book Of Shallows″. The song is written just by his measure and listening it you would be easily tricked you are listening new Blind Guardian. Another surprise, another German, Herr Mille Petrozza in the same song. His parts, although maybe hard to imagine combining pure heavy/power metal with thrash, perfectly fits other vocalists, Ronnie Atkins and Viking metal warrior, Jørn Lande. Perfection!

Speaking of Hansi, I have to mention the first single taken from “Moonglow”, back in February 2019, “The Raven Child” where he joins his vocal capabilities with Jørn Lande and Sammet, of course. 

But, back to beginning. An album opener ″Ghost In The Moon″ hits with no warning. To tell you the truth, when I was listening album for the first time, I thought I might missed something.  Sammet vocals fallowed by piano with energy slowly graduating to bone crusher drumming slowing down again and leading to powerful chorus over Paeth’s amazing solos, violins… Ten minutes song is that good that you could only ask for more.

Although my first association if we are talking about Avantasia and female vocalists is amazing Amanda Somerwille, “Moonglow” brings us Candice Night. May I say that song Moonglow is the one most repeated on this album? Mid tempo song, full with diversity, Angelic voice(s)…

Of course, the core of the band and those who take all the credits are Tobias Sammet, Sascha Paeth, Michael Rodenberg, Felix Bohnke  as well as their guests. Almost but regular band members: Geoff Tate (“Invincible”, “Alchemy”), Ronnie Atkins (“Book of Shallows”, “Starlight”, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”), Michael Kiske (“Requiem for a Dream”), Jørn Lande (“Book of Shallows”, “The Raven Child”, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”), Eric Martin (“Maniac”), Bob Catley (“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, “Lavander”) and newcomers Hansi Kürsch (“Book of Shalows”, “The RAven Child”), Mille Petrozza (“Book of Shallows”) and Candice Night (“Moonglow”). Winner combination!

And I have to mention “Maniac” cover. If we would back to the beginning of the story, where Tobias said “Moonglow” supposed to be his solo album, than this song, this cover version would perfectly fit that solo album. The song was used for Flashdance movie, back in my childhood, 1983. Listening this song, I could easily imagine Sammet in neon leotard with matching tights, leg warmers, and a headband. 

Cover art is simply amazing, and it has to be if it is inspired by Tim Burton′s work. Although rich with blue and green color, the little dark girl standing in the middle of the forest under the moonlight attracts my attention the most.

Besides main inspiration (fascination for the Moon), selection of top musicians (guest vocalists, backing vocalists), adding Celtic Harp, dare to say something bad about “Moonglow!” It is the perfect beginning of the fourth activity period of institution called Avantasia!

Tobias Sammet might be one of the busiest metal artist (17 albums, 10 World Tours, 5000 interviews behind). Tobias Sammet might be one of the most stylish man in metal. Tobias Sammet might be one of the funniest guys in metal. Tobias Sammet might be the luckiest man on Earth cause The “Moonlight” might be one of the best albums in 2019.

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