Welcome back all former EDGUY and AVANTASIA fans for another installment of Tobias Sammet hates Power Metal. If you’re not drunk to the point of passing out from all of the Jagermeister pints you’ve already slammed down in order to kill the pain caused by what you heard on “Lost In Space (Part 1)”, fill up that glass again because there’s more self-hating masochism in store for all of us gay rave party style. Ironically enough, those of you who find that the pain isn’t quite as severe this time around, that is not completely due to the concentrated, 70 proof goodness that gave you the courage to suffer through this in the first place.
Although the presence of that crappy U2 meets COLDPLAY title song sullies this thing up from the start, what follows it is a step up from the previous installment of this 2 part farce. There’s two solid Power Metal songs on here that actually hearken back to the old AVANTASIA, save the gimpy guitar sound on the rhythm parts. “Scary Eyes” is the standout, as Tobias actually sings and fully embraces his vocal past rather than trying to emulate this stupid tough guy shouter garbage that first started rearing its ugly head in the Power Metal style with the entry of SYMPHORCE into the new millennium. It’s almost like a shorter and more stripped down version of EDGUY’S “All The Clowns”. The second song “Promised Land” takes things a little in a FREEDOM CALL direction, though the presence of Jorn and Kiske alter it a lot. In spite of this, every time I hear the intro guitar theme to this, I picture Chris Bay singing that incredibly catchy chorus to “Warriors” in the background. Why neither of these songs made it onto “The Scarecrow” can only be explained by a really odd desire not to have too much Power Metal ownage going on in a singular album, which is why the commercialism charge carries weight here.
Sadly, the rest of what is on here just doesn’t cut it at all, ranging from mediocre to downright annoying. The big time failure is the ULTRAVOX cover, which brings back that really crappy Euro Pop/Rock sound that makes the album’s title track so annoying. Perhaps its unfair to compare the two, but this is an absolute joke compared to the awesome FREEDOM CALL version of this song, which actually involved some major changes to the character of the entire song rather than just a crappy modification of sound timbre by putting shitty guitar sounds and a straight Rock beat overtop of things. The FREDDIE MERCURY cover is another fit of going through the motions, which leaves the spotlight entirely on Tobias’ vocals, which are not dynamic or attention grabbing in any way whatsoever. Things close off with an all acoustic ballad version of the title song, which is less annoying than the original, but still utterly boring due to a stagnant vocal performance and the song itself having a comical collection of notes.
Though this is a step up from its predecessor, this is still not something that I’d endorse buying in its entirety for anymore than $3. Even if finding it at that price, it would be more advisable to simply track down “Scary Eyes” and “Promised Land” on itunes or somewhere else that endorses individual song downloads, as you won’t suffer the pain of hearing the rest of what is on here. I’m not sure how all of you are doing now, though I guess some of you passed out from excessive booze consumption just after the ending of song number 4, but I survived through the whole thing and feel all the worse for it. It will take a massive change in musical direction to even begin to make up for this horrid blight on the name of AVANTASIA, and until Toby drops the MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE meets angry Goth boy image, I doubt that will happen.
(Online April 11, 2009)