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Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony: Review

On April 3, the German power metal band, Avantasia, is to release part two and three of the “Scarecrow” trilogy. The two are named The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon. I’ve heard rather mediocre comments towards the first album, so I was somewhat skeptical diving into these two. To avoid having one album compromise my opinion of the other, I decided to distance them. I started with the second part of the trilogy, and it has me hooked.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. The Wicked Symphony
  2. Wastelands
  3. Scales of Justice
  4. Dying for an Angel
  5. Blizzard on a Broken Mirror
  6. Runaway Train
  7. Crestfallen
  8. Forever is a Long Time
  9. Black Wings
  10. States of Matter
  11. The Edge

This album sounds very similar to the works of Allen-Lande, but with a more power metal influence. Looking at the guest list, it is clear there is a lot of power metal hired guns. Notable names include vocalists Russell Allen, Jørn Lande, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Michael Kiske, and Klaus Meine, and more. Miro and Sascha Paeth, who have worked with the respected symphonic power metal band Kamelot, are also highly involved in this album. The high quality power metal sound in this album is well-sourced.

As seen by the guest list, the album is very vocal dominant. That is not to say that the other instruments (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums) are drowned out, but they are not meant to be the primary focus. All the vocalists deliver amazing performances (my favorite being Russell Allen), and Avantasia frontman Tobias Sammet holds his own ground. Though there are many possible conflicts with such a massive group of musicians, they do not seem to interfere with one another. They all work together to give a vocal performance worth hearing.

The other instruments, knowing their role in this album, provide the excellent support for the vocals. This does not at all mean they are boring or standard, but rather they do not make obvious attempts to stand out. There are good drum rhythms and nice guitar riffs and solos. The bass is quite well done and the keyboards are effective with backgrounds and melodies. No instrument (aside from the vocals) is spectacular, but they are by no means filler.

Though there is nothing extraordinarily new in this album, it gives a fine musical performance to say the least. The Wicked Symphony is both catchy and musically appreciable, which is not a frequent occurrence. Moreover, it gives some of the lesser known musicians more of the deserved spotlight. It is a must-hear, and it will get you burning with excitement for part three of the trilogy.

Review for Angel of Babylon

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  1. January 28, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I have one Avantasia song on my iPod – Twisted Mind, which I really like. I’d give that song a 4 for sure. How does this album stack up to that particular song? Would Twisted Mind be a standout on this album, or middle of the pack?

    • CJ
      January 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      Twisted mind is one of the better songs on The Scarecrow. Overall, this album is a fair deal better than that one in my opinion. “Twisted Mind” is a good song tho, and would probably rank in the upper quartile of this album, but I prefer the likes of “The Wicked Symphony” and “Dying for and Angel”.

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