Avantasia – Angel of Babylon (Nuclear Blast Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Tobias Sammet certainly gets plenty of air time in the metal scene. First achieving worldwide success with his power metal act Edguy, Tobias expanded into the realm of all-star project status with Avantasia. At this point, both groups receive fan appreciation, significant sales and chart action. Angel of Babylon continues the trilogy of albums that started with 2008’s The Scarecrow – an 11 song outing featuring such well known singers as Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Oliver Hartmann, Russell Allen and Jon Oliva among others.

“Stargazers” opens in a sprawling 9:32 fashion, featuring Tobias and the earlier aforementioned Lande/Kiske/ Hartmann trio, blending together musically the double bass power present with the epic, Rainbow-esque past (especially with Bruce Kulick’s intense, emotional solo). Conversely a number like “Your Love is Evil” takes a more commercial tendency approach, as the keyboards and riffing feature easy to catch hooks and the choruses lean with rock radio appeal.

“Death Is Just a Feeling” features Jon Oliva with his cynical, low sneer and would be one of my favorites along with “Alone I Remember” which recalls the California guitar hero hard rock scene that ran amok in the mid-to-late 80’s. Jorn Lande gets a lot of chance to flex his vocal tour de force on this album- contributing on 7 of the 11 songs.

I believe there’s enough separation now in style that Avantasia can co-exist depending on Edguy’s recording and touring schedules. Tobias may have originally been known for his Helloween affinity, but I think his consistency with both acts should prove to people he’s a serious talent with productivity and diverse songwriting the driving force.

www.myspace.com/avantasia

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)