In 2009 and 2010, Edguy singer/leader Tobias Sammet did what most bands cannot do in their lifetime: releasing two amazing masterpieces back to back in less than a year. Avantasia is symphonic rock opera created by Sammet who released “The Wicked Symphony” and “Angel of Babylon” to complete “The Wicked Trilogy,” a conceptual story that started with 2008’s “The Scarecrow.” Concept albums are hard to pull off much less doing one that spans over three albums. Tobias and Co. manage to not only pull this off but to keep it entertaining, engaging and exciting the whole time.
Once again, Sammet has brought his vision to life with a cast of characters that show just what powerful friends this guy has. I love that while being such an ambitious project, it lacks any presence of ego or pretentiousness. Sammet almost at times plays the guest to his own party as he really lets his friends shine and deliver face melting performances. His presence is definitely known and heard but he doesn’t hog the spotlight by any means. Just like its predecessor “The Wicked Symphony,” “Angel From Babylon” once again features some of the greatest lead vocalists in metal music today. Act III of the trilogy kicks off with a band with “Stargazers” featuring Michael Kiske (Helloween), Jorn Lande (Jorn) and Russell Allen (Symphony X). Right away I knew this album would live up to its amazing predecessor.
The conceptual aspect of “Angel of Babylon” seems to never get in the way of this actually being a great album. The concept as a whole is a great one but the songs stand up on their own outside of the concept. Jorn Lande appears on 6 of the twelve songs but really shines bright on “Down in the Dark” which has to be one of my favorites. Russell Allen shows just why his is one of the best metal singers out here on “Journey To Arcadia.” He shows the depth and versatility of his voice as he sings this song that sounds very inspired by Jim Steinman/Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” era. My personal highlight is the show stopping performance by Savatage/Pain’s Jon Olivia on the song “Death Is Just A Feeling.” His demented, twisted performance on this track bears resemblance to that of Alice Cooper which fit the song perfectly. The only true weak moment of this amazing album is the Cloudy Yang sung track “The Symphony of Life.” This song lacked the dynamics and drive of the other songs so this one just seemed to be the sore thumb here. A totally forgettable song on a truly amazing and unforgettable album.
Tobias Sammet has closed out his “Wicked Trilogy” with a huge bang as “Angel of Babylon” is a triumphant curtain closing to an epic trilogy. It’s kind of like the Star Wars of metal music minus the really annoying Ewoks. The only thing cooler than watching someones dreams and imagination come to life is to have it do so in a way that is musically stunning. lyrically engaging and fun to listen to. One might listen to these songs and call them cheesy but that’s one perspective of it. Music doesn’t always have to be serious. Sometimes it is just necessary to be swept away into someones own fantasy and to leave all of life’s little troubles behind for just a bit. Tobias Sammet has created a fantasy world and has welcomed us all into it with open arms. The doors are open. All you have to do is step inside.