Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
Avantasia, Tobias Sammet’s power metal super group has struck again with the Metal Opera Part 2. This release contains artists from such well known groups as Stratovarious, Rhapsody, Gamma Ray, Helloween, and even KISS drummer Eric Singer. Looking at those bands you can guess what this album is going to sound like. It has that fast paced power metal we all know and love, and even the almighty ballads.
I was actually surprised about how much I enjoyed this album. It took me awhile to get into it, but I eventually came around. The album starts off with the epic, “The Seven Angels” (probably my second favorite track), then follows suit with “No Return,” a fast-paced power metal romp that’ll have you pointing to the sky while singing along with the chorus. “No Return” is by far my favorite track on the CD, but I also enjoyed most of the album.
The only tracks I didn’t really like were the ballads, “In Quest For” and “Anywhere”. There was so much cheese emitting from my speakers for a second there I thought there were individually-wrapped Kraft singles pouring out. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but those two tracks, along with “The Looking Glass,” had me eagerly waiting for them to end.
The musicianship found on here is quite enjoyable. Timo Tolkki (Stratovarious), Jens Ludwig (Edguy), and Henjo Richter (Gamma Ray) do a great job on the guitars. There are also some nicely played upbeat piano parts. The vokills are also nicely done. Tobias Sammet handles most of the vokills himself, but is joined by the likes of Rob Rock (Warrior), Andre Matos (Angra), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation; who handles some beautiful angelic vokills), and others. Have no doubt, falsettos abound.
The production on this is top notch. The power of the album is held tightly, and everything is crystal clear. The lyrics follow a tale of deceit, imprisonment, treachery, and all the other makings of a great opera. Each vokillist plays the role of a different character. For instance, Tobias Sammet does the vokills for Gabriel, the main character of the story. The lyrics are better understood if you read those off the first Metal Opera, which I ended up doing. It is a generally interesting story told through the magic of metal.
In the end, this is an album I have to be in the mood for, but when I do put it in, I am given quite a good listen. If you don’t enjoy power metal vokills, then stay away from this release. But if you’re an open-minded listener, give it a chance.