Reviewed by: Arno Callens

For my next trick I will scrutizine the phenomenon that is Avantasia, if y’all aren’t sick of my endless and wordy reviews of Tobias Sammet’s work yet. It’s basically Edguy with more famous singers and complicated concepts. All kidding aside, even though the distinctions between both bands are virtually non-existent these days, some fine music has been released under the name Avantasia and I am here to tell you where and how.

The Metal Opera (2001)

More than just Edguy with guest singers, The Metal Opera is a triumph of vision and execution. The story is solid, the performances top notch and the songwriting sublime. From the glory of Rome to the sign of the cross, this is a power metal classic for the ages.

The Metal Opera Pt. II (2002)

“The Seven Angels” is such a majestic piece of music that the rest of the album suffers in comparison. Still this sequel has a lot of great material too offer, if you can find it amidst the ballads. With an original like “The Metal Opera” any second installment would be a slight disappointment, and just a slight one it is.

The Scarecrow (2008)

Other than Sammet’s involvement, the concept of guest musicians and the band name; this has nothing to do with The Metal Operas. It rings in a new age of Avantasia, one where the accumulated influences of power metal and hard rock all find a place and even a few pop music elements sneak in. Uneven but often stellar, it’s a band and sound reborn.

The Wicked Symphony (2010)

First and best of a two-parter, highlighting all of Sammet’s best features with a mix of power and heavy metal, hard rock, symphonics and cheese. It might blow out your lungs on the opening epic alone.

Angel Of Babylon (2010)

The low after the high. A disappointing finale partially saved by a a number of solid to great tracks. There is, however, not enough material to justify a full-length, and Sammet seems unfamiliar with the concept of “killing your darlings”. Fingers crossed for 2013.

The Mystery Of Time (2013)

Sammet at his most consistent, and decidedly more traditional. No fancy power metal singers (except for Kiske), but legends from hard rock and heavy metal wonderfully worked into the eclectic range of music. Perhaps the biggest triumph since the original Metal Operas and proof Tobi’s creativity isn’t retiring any day soon.

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