Avantasia is the brainchaild of singer/songwriter Tobias Sammet of the German Power Metal band Edguy. Sammet has recruited the best of the Metal world to join his Metallic Symphony and create a super group of sorts for their fourth album “The Wicked Symphony.” In addition to a band that features KISS drummer Eric Singer and former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, Sommet reached out to such legendary Metal vocalists as Klaus Meine of The Scorpions, former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske and Jorn Lande for vocal duets that are nothing short of stratospheric and at times goose bump inducing.
“The Wicked Symphony” is extremely well thought artistically and the production is something to behold. I always thought that the sign of a really great written and performed album is that it can cross boundaries and appeal to mass audiences. The songs are beautifully melodic and easy on the ears yet they possess all the qualities that would appeal to both the casual Metal fan and the Metal aficionado. Avantasia has managed to do that with “The Wicked Symphony.”
The opening track “The Wicked Symphony” is classic Metal that appeals to that audience yet “Dying For An Angel” which features a duet with Klaus Meine is a song that could appeal to the fans of the lighter fare of Metal. It’s still heavy enough to kick ass but the chorus and hook are so fucking melodic that it makes you smile. One of my favorite moments is “Scales of Justice” featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens. Ripper was never a huge favorite of mine but it seems that over the years he has become comfortable in his own identity and come into his own as a great Metal vocalist. I really enjoyed his work on this one. Another highlight of the album is the duet between Sommet and former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske on the song “Wastelands” which pretty much is one of the greatest Helloween songs never made. This song just reeks of classic Helloween awesomeness as Kiske’s amazingly untouched vocals sore over music that is so melodic that it made the hairs on my neck stand at full attention. Kiske’s work on the song “Runaway Train” is nothing short of stellar has to be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. The way he and Sammet work together is something that I would love to hear more of. I could listen to those two all day long!
There are so many dynamics to “The Wicked Symphony” and like any album, it does have it’s weak moments. “Crestfallen” which features Jon Lornde is a good example of a “close but no cigar” moment. This song lacked the dynamics and the melody of the rest of the album and sticks out like a sore thumb. The song is not un-listenable by any means but compared to the rest of this album, this track just falls short. Avantasia does recover in a huge way with “States of Matter” featuring Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen who I never heard before this album. His vocal work on this song was so stellar on this tune that I will be checking Symphony X out in the not so distant future.
“The Wicked Symphony” is a true Metal Masterpiece. Tobias Sammet and Co. have managed to create what I feel is a timeless metal classic. It is literally an album that has something for everyone and I would find it a shame to be passed up. “The Wicked Symphony” is classical music for a whole other generation and genre.