It seems musical maturity has brought a serious lack of urgency and muscle to the once eclectic Power Metal mix of AVANTASIA main man Tobias Sammet. From a man more content in early incarnations to ply his trade with speedy, symphonic Power Metal, his latest offering from AVANTASIA, ‘’The Scarecrow,’’ imbues all the quality of a very good Melodic Metal record.
In parts ‘’The Scarecrow’’ echoes that EDGUY un-sensibility, no surprise I suppose, but for the most part this is body and soul inspired Melodic Rock. It is at times infuriatingly catchy and, in all honesty, there’s not really a bad track, but ‘’The Scarecrow’’ would have best been released under another guise as this is not exactly what you would expect from a man with such a Metal pedigree.
So taken as not a Power Metal album and therefore a Melodic Metal record, ‘’The Scarecrow’’ is excellent. Guest appearances range from ALICE COOPER on the creepy but delectable ‘’The Toy Master,’’ to The ex-HELLOWEEN pairing of Kiske and Hansen. Along for the ride pops up SCORPIONS hero Rudolf Schenker and journey man vocalist Jorn Lande who, as ever, puts in a fantastic bluesy-Rock-Metal performance.
Fans of earlier AVANTASIA albums will most probably be scratching the head at the change in musical direction however there’s is still more than enough to interest old and new fans alike.
(Online March 10, 2008)