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AVANTASIA: ‘Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society’

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Nuclear Blast Records

Out Now

Words by Jimmy Glinster

When I took on this review, I actually thought I was reviewing an American band with a similar name, which I can’t remember right now. As it turns out, I’m reviewing a German supergroup metal opera project created by Tobias Sammet, vocalist of the band Edguy.

Yeah, I googled that. Apparently, it’s a bit of a rock opera, whatever that means. Anyway, there is a heap of guests who I probably won’t know, so I’ll just stick to the tunes.

The first tune being Welcome to the Shadows, which opens like something off an Evanescence album. Until some bloke sings, that is, then it just gets odd. It’s very atmospheric and orchestral, but when the song kicks in it’s got the pop characteristics of something by John Farhnam. This is going to be an adventure.

Next up is The Wicked Rule of Night, and the intro instantly sounds a little more wicked with pounding toms and overdriven guitar. When the double kick takes off and the guitars open up into a quick thrash rff you quickly learn where the song is going. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest on steroids … something like that. The super high-pitched vocals are a bit of a turn-off, but a guitar solo eventually steps in to save the day.

Gospel sounding operatic vocals introduce us to Kill the Pain Away, which seems to have shared vocals between an unknown male and female. I’d google it, but I don’t want to spoil all the fun for you. It’s a bit of a rocker, a pop-rocker, probably a bit cabaret for the mainstream though, and not quite heavy enough for the black shirts.

The Inmost Light takes me back to the vibes of The Wicked Rule the Night. It’s more traditional metal than metal opera. It does have its moments though, between the double kicks and heavy guitars.

Piano and vocals create the feeling of a ballad during the intro to Misplaced Among the Angels and even though some heavy guitars finally break through, the orchestral strings, clean vocals and slow pace confirm that this is our first ballad for the album. There is a mystery guest female vocalist again. Well, it’s probably not a mystery if you care to google, but we’ve been through that already.

I Tame the Storm quickly regathers the pace as dualling guitars blast their way through the intro and into a snare roll section not too dissimilar to what you hear in every second Slipknot song these days. This song sounds nothing like Slipknot though, it’s a bit too pop and a little more power metal.

I’m now up to track 8, Paper Plane, and am starting to wonder what the fuck I actually got myself in for. I generally hate concept albums and anything fantasy based, however, like the recent Machine Head album, I’m managing to hang in through this one too. It probably won’t rate up there with the MH one, but I don’t hate this, I know it has its place. What it needs is a movie like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, because I just don’t have the imagination, or the drugs, to immerse myself in this one enough to enjoy it for what it’s worth.

And on that note, I’m going to opt out at this point because I can’t do this album the justice that it most definitely deserves. It’s operatic, symphonic, creative, heavy, fast, slow and sombre. It pretty much covers a million different moods, and a vast collection of heavy, modern, and classical genres. Interesting, very interesting!

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