|Review: Avantasia - Moonglow|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 2019
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: February 7, 2019
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 4/5 (80%) (2 Votes)
It's hard to believe that Tobias Sammet is releasing the eighth album under the Avantasia name. What was originally conceived as a project for Sammet to release the more grandiose power metal he was writing and work with different singers has become a full-time band that isn't far behind his main act Edguy in terms of output. On to Moonglow.
Avantasia's music is not dissimilar to Edguy, being power metal of the keyboard/guitar harmonies, big riffs and bigger choruses variety. Avantasia has always been about brining in other singers to voice the different characters on what are typically concept albums (some more loosely tied together thematically than others). The music is a feast for the ears if you're a power metal fan as Sammet is on top of his game with Moonglow. You aren't going to hear riffs or melodies you've never heard before, but the man knows how to use the entire scope of the genre and constantly arranges traditional power metal elements in creative and instantly catchy ways. The real genius is how songs are written to give all the guest singers a showcase for their style that also fits the Avantasia sound. You've got your long-time collaborators like Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande and Bob Catley, who always sound great but Sammet also comes up with showcases for newcomers like Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Candice Night (Blackmore's Night), Mille Petrozza (Kreator) and Geoff Tate (ex-Queensryche). Moonglow is actually the second appearance on an Avantasia record for Tate but he hasn't sounded this good since Empire. I go into to each Avantasia album without knowing who is singing on what song and try to pick out the different singers and I wasn't specifically aware that Tate was a participant. When "Invincible" and "Alchemy" came on, I said to myself "this sounds like Queensryche" only then realizing the it was due to an amazing performance by Tate (my wife, not a huge metal fan, even asked if I was listening to a new Queensryche album). Really, the only singer that doesn't mesh that well is Petrozza. Lots of power metal bands incorporate harsh vocals but his contribution on "Book of Shallows" feels unnecessary. Sort of like the cover of Michael Sembello's "Maniac" (from the movie Flashdance). Small complaints about an otherwise brilliant record.
If you are a power metal fan, Moonglow is an absolutely mandatory purchase and the bar has been set for the genre in 2019.
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