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Avantasia: The Wicked Symphony
Avantasia Tobias Sammet The Wicked Symphony new music review

Avantasia: The Wicked Symphony

Melodic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Avantasia Tobias Sammet Angel of Babylon new music review

Avantasia: Angel of Babylon

Melodic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.25/5.0

The always extravagant and outrageous Tobias Sammet, Edguy lead vocalist, returns with not one but two discs for his Avantasia project, The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, finalizing the trilogy begun with 2008's Scarecrow. As expected, Mr. Sammet rounds up the usual suspects as fundamental elements of the music: sweeping, bombastic, often symphonic, arrangements with tons of melody, hooks, big choruses and ripping guitar work, all enlivened by his selection of guest stars. Here's the short (?) list of hard rock and heavy metal luminaries: Bruce Kulick, Oliver Hartmann, Jørn Lande, Michael Kiske, Russell Allen, Bob Catley, Klaus Meine, Tim "Ripper" Owens, André Matos, Eric Singer, Jon Oliva, and a few more. In other words, this is pure Tobi Sammet all the time on both recordings.

Of the two, The Wicked Symphony seems a bit heavier, even darker as Black Wings can prove, than the other or their predecessor. But Avantasia mixes it up well with some straight power metal (Wastelands), epic and soaring symphonic metal (The Wicked Symphony), and pure and accessible power pop metal on Dying for an Angel. Turning to Angel of Babylon, one might say this is more akin to an Edguy album mixing The Savage Poetry with Hellfire Club. Even so, this disc offer some twists not found on TWS. Blowing Out the Flame finds Sammet delivering a more traditional ballad. German rock singer Cloudy Yang offers her terrific vocal skills to Symphony of Life, making it more a symphonic gothic metal piece. Then there's Alone I Remember which merges power pop with traditional melodic hard rock for a very catchy duet between Tobi and Jorn Lande.

I found it difficult to pick a favorite between The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon. However, I'm leaning more towards the latter, but this could flip-flop over several more listens. One thing I found remarkable is that both start with long, nearly 10 minutes, opening numbers of sweeping melodic heavy/power metal. Only Tobias Sammet can pull this off as both The Wicked Symphony and Stargazers are quite entertaining, and keep you engaged from beginning to end.

With The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, Tobias Sammet does what he does best: delivering catchy, bombastic, and immensely entertaining melodic hard rock and heavy metal, with the help of huge supporting cast. Very recommended!

In Short

With The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, Tobias Sammet does what he does best: delivering catchy, bombastic, and immensely entertaining melodic hard rock and heavy metal, with the help of huge supporting cast. Very recommended!

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