Avantasia – “Ghostlights” (2016)

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Tony Cannella

In addition to carving out a stellar career with Edguy, Tobias Sammet has managed to do quite well with his “other” project Avantasia. Avantasia released “The Metal Opera” in 2001 and the fact that “Ghostlights” is the 7th album from Avantasia is mind boggling. Tobias has shown no signs of slowing down and with “Ghostlights”, he only seems to be getting better. “Ghostlights” is Avantasia’s first album since 2013’s “The Mystery of Time” and is loaded with a wide array of talent, which is no surprise given some of the artists who has appeared on Avantasia’s releases over the years. As always ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske is one of the main vocalists presented here. In addition, we have Geoff Tate (Operation: Mindcrime, ex-Queensryche), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Robert Mason, Marco Hietala and Sharon den Adel to name a few and a plethora of great musicians as well. This album is stacked. “Mystery of a Blood Red Rose” starts us off and is an up-tempo opener with rich sounding harmony and background choirs. The epic 12-minute “Let The Storm Descend Upon You” is simply huge and features the three vocals attack of Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) and Robert Mason (Warrant) to deliver a stunning tour de force of a song. Dee Snider is up next to sing the track “The Haunting” and is followed by the Geoff Tate sung number “Seduction of Decay” which happens to be another favorite. Other highlights include: “Ghostlights”, “Master of Pendulum” and “Isle of Evermore” which features Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation. After seven albums of intricately woven songs and musicianship you would think that Avantasia’s well might be getting (at least) a little dry. Not so.“Ghostlights” is a stunning masterpiece of a record and just may be Avantasia’s high water mark.

Rating – 95/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Mystery of a Blood Red Rose
  2. Let the Storm Descend Upon You” (Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Robert Mason)
  3. The Haunting (Dee Snider)
  4. Seduction of Decay (Geoff Tate)
  5. Ghostlights (Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande)
  6. Draconian Love (Herbie Langhans)
  7. Master of the Pendulum (Marco Hietala)
  8. Isle of Evermore (Sharon den Adel)
  9. Babylon Vampyres (Robert Mason)
  10. Lucifer (Jørn Lande)
  11. Unchain the Light (Ronnie Atkins, Micheal Kiske)
  12. A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies (Bob Catley)
  13. Wake up to the Moon (Digibook edition bonus track) (Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande, Bob Catley, Ronnie Atkins & Robbie Mason)

 

Line-Up

  • Tobias Sammet – lead vocals on all tracks, additional keyboards and bass
  • Sascha Paeth – Rhythm guitars, lead guitars (except on tracks 2, 8, 10, 12), bass, additional keyboards, engineering and mixing
  • Michael Rodenberg – orchestration, keyboards, mastering
  • Felix Bohnke – drums
  • Bruce Kulick (Grand Funk Railroad, ex-Kiss) – lead guitar on tracks 9, 10, 12 (Guest instrumentalists)
  • Oliver Hartmann (ex-At Vance) – lead guitar on tracks 2, 5, 9, 11 (Guest instrumentalists)

Guest vocalists

  • Jørn Lande (ex-Masterplan, ex-Ark)
  • Michael Kiske (Unisonic, Place Vendome, ex-Helloween)
  • Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids)
  • Dee Snider (Twisted Sister)
  • Geoff Tate (Operation: Mindcrime, ex-Queensrÿche)
  • Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot)
  • Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation)
  • Bob Catley (Magnum)
  • Robert Mason (Warrant, ex-Lynch Mob)
  • Herbie Langhans (Sinbreed, Beyond the Bridge, ex-Seventh Avenue)

 

Links

facebook.com/avantasia

twitter.com/_avantasia

twitter.com/tobiassamme

tobiassammet.com