AVANTASIA return with a ludicrously titled album and a quite ludicrous album cover. If you ever thought that Metal and in particular European Power Metal had vanquished Tolkien as it's fountain of inspiration then think again. In fact if I think about it a bit more this is a bloody awful album cover! And as you'd expect the music herein contained is more pompous, melodic, harmony driven Metal.
It's BLOODY marvellous though! Got you going there didn't I!!
EDGUY tour de force Tobias Sammet returns with the imaginatively entitled "The Metal Opera part II" and blows away all opposition. This is an accomplished piece of work and Sammet and the myriad of musicians involved should be extremely proud of what they have achieved with this.
Any band starting of with a 14-minute opener "Seven Angels" is taking a risk. But these guys pull it off with ease and the time fly's by as you are swept up in the sheer epic scale of the music. Pulling on such a vast array of musicianship from HELLOWEEN to VIRGIN STEELE to MAGNUM has really set this album apart from the rest of the chasing-far-behind-pack. This has classic stamped all over it. Songs such as the QUEEN sounding "No Return" and the EDGUY inspired "The Looking Glass" are glorious Metal workouts all tinged with a quality rarely equalled.
The vocals on this album are particularly worth mentioning with hats off to Sammet and Bob Catley of MAGNUM fame for the vocal duet on "In The Quest For". Quite beautiful in delivery and composition. I'm a big fan of VIRGIN STEELE's David DeFeis. His powerhouse vocals reminiscent of MANOWAR's Eric Adams add a weight and conviction on the harder tracks like "The Final Sacrifice" which just pounds along.
So far from me to spoil the enjoyment get out and buy this one. If you like EDGUY, Melodic/Power Metal and picked up the first "Metal Opera" offering then this will only delight. If you're still wondering then don't, as you'll be hard pressed to get better. (Online December 17, 2002)