avantasia-the mystery of timePublisher: Nuclear Blast
Release date: 29.03.2013
Genre: power metal / rock opera
Grade: 9/10

He has sold more than 3 million discs worldwide; he has played more than 600 concerts in almost 40 countries in Asia, North America, Central America, South America, Australia and Europe: composer and vocalist Tobias Sammet is one of Germany’s biggest internationally acclaimed artists in recent music history.

Tobias Sammet first became known as the singer and songwriter of the band Edguy that he co-founded in 1992. In 1999 he founded his side project “Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia”, an all-star Rock Opera that would allow him to collaborate with superstars such as Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine & Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions), members of other legendary bands such as Kiss, Mr. Big, Magnum, Helloween, Uriah Heep, Rainbow and many more throughout the years. All of his recent albums entered  the top ten charts in countries all over the world. His latest Avantasia – release “The Flying Opera – Around The World In 20 Days” went straight to number 1 in Germany, Sweden and Austria.

There has time passed since Tobias’ debut with miracle named Avantasia in 1999 and now, almost fourteen years later, Tobias Sammet and his Avantasia proudly present a new master-piece ”The Mystery Of Time”, grandiose metal opera that is, there is no doubt, the most completed Sammet’ piece so far. Beside that, ”The Mystery Of Time” is a fairy-tale about the time and sanguineous Avantasia, exactly like you expect – sometimes more symphonic, sometimes less symphonic, but overflowed by grandiose choruses and, as we get used from its creator, amazing vocalists that has joined him on each song and once again moved borders of possible when it comes to vocal expressions. So right at the beginning I’ll offer your an answer to the question you would probably ask – can Tobias Sammet with ”The Mystery Of Time” full-fill great expectations of his fans? As the crow flies – yes, he can! Because ”The Mystery Of Time” in the best way shows incredible Sammet’ talent for composing and orchestrations brought almost to perfection through presence of choir and vocal stratifications, his in the same way amazing voice and join and union of power metal community through famous guests that on each release give a new face to Avantasia. The same is on this, sixth studio album today huge Avantasia on which guests are Michael Kiske (Helloween, Unisonic), Biff Byford (Saxon); Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon, Stream of Passion), Eric Martin (Mr. Big) te Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen), to mention only a few. Beside them, with the same shine and intensity of brilliance here is one and only Tobias Sammet who is, he proved that so many times already, very dynamic vocalist who with extraordinary levity can cross from pure and natural singing to impressive screams filled with anger.

”The Mystery Of Time” is for sure an album that marks current peak of Avantasia‘ creativity and brings truly impressive fusion of the best from earlier Sammet’ pieces what results with a complete, whole and grandiose power metal story with very noticeable and closely integrated rock elements. It should be said that on the album guests are as well German Film Orchestra what additionally enhances Sammet’ gift for composing so already the first song ”Spectress” takes the listener to the journey that the one won’t soon forget. Although it’s not fair to underline any song, I should mention ”Black Orchid” in which merge Tobias’ and voice of Biff Byford, and which explode not only in impressive and expressive vocal lines but also in amazing riffs and orchestration thanks to which Tobias once again takes his voice to new heights in very rich chorus. ”Black Orchid” presents darker and more festive atmosphere underlined by epic voice of Saxon’ Biff Byford. I dare to say this is the song that in symphonic metal put the slat on the new height. Symphonic grandiosity Sammet and Avantasia continue with ”Where Clock Hands Freeze”, strong power metal song in which beside Sammet is present vocal perfection of Michael Kiske who is here in his best shape and reminds on the best moments of Helloween’ ”Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. II”. The other song that should be mentioned is ”Sleepwaling”, recently presented as single, that offer the journey to more gentle and romantic shape of Tobias Sammet and his own world named Avantasia. In ”Sleepwalking” the guest is amazing Cloudy Young but even that can’t diminish the impression that Sammet with this song tried to get close to mainstream audience so in a shade too strong he lean on the sound we know from Coldplay or classic U2 opus. Far from power or even metal tone ”Sleepwalking” is very drinkable ballade, but despite the song Avantasia fans will sometimes skip when listen to the album. As opposed to ”Sleepwalking” stands ”What’s Left Of Me”, another ballade type song, but also the song that radiate with incredible strength of feeling and he song that is another trump of almost brilliant album in which beside Tobias brilliant is also amazing Eric Martin. ”What’s Left Of Me” is because of its deep emotion, symphonic, dramatic and pure metal sound one of the best Sammet’ ballads ever. Album is grandiosely closed by ”The Great Mystery” in which their vocal heights present Bob Catley, Joe Lynn Turner, Biff Byford and Tobias Sammet. ”The Great Mystery” is incredible, epic, layered, emotional and expressive song and the longest on the album that in 10:02 minutes makes music world for itself and present the magnificent end of the album for which after the last note is muted simply instinctive reaction to press play button again and for another time travel through incredible music and emotional magic.

All this put the album ”The Mystery Of Time” into one of the best albums in metal world lately. Well, the formula hasn’t changed, music rise from very noticeably deep inspiration, great performers are present in each song and the feeling from melody is almost unreal. Tobias Sammet surpassed himself and took listeners to the journey on which can’t take them any other band. Don’t miss another artistic flare of incredible Tobias Sammet and his Avantasia!

Tracklist:

1. Spectres
2. The Watchmakers’ Dream
3. Black Orchid
4. Where Clock Hands Freeze
5. Sleepwalking
6. Savior In The Clockwork
7. Invoke The Machine
8. What’s Left On Me
9. Dweller In A Dream
10. The Great Mystery

Line Up:

Tobias Sammet (v.) ‐ GER
Eric Martin (v., Mr. Big) ‐ USA
Joe Lynn Turner (v., Rainbow, ex‐Deep Purple) ‐ USA
Biff Byford (v., Saxon) ‐ GB
Michael Kiske (v., ex‐Helloween, Unisonic) ‐ GER
Bob Catley (v., Magnum) ‐ GB
Ronnie Atkins (v., Pretty Maids) ‐ DK
Sascha Paeth (g., ex‐Heavens Gate) ‐ GER
Bruce Kulick (g., ex‐Kiss, ex‐Meat Loaf) ‐ USA
Arjen Lucassen (g., ex‐Vengeance, Ayreon) ‐ NL
Ferdy Doernberg (Hammond‐B3, Axel Rudi Pell) ‐ GER
Oliver Hartmann (g., v.) ‐ GER
Cloudy Young (v.) ‐ GER

Review: Ivana Sataić – ivana@venia-mag.net