I have loved the strange power metal project Avantasia since I first heard The Metal Opera Part II in 2007, and they were in fact the band that made me fall in love with concept albums (alongside Kamelot and their Epica / The Black Halo albums). I loved both two Metal Opera albums, and I loved The Scarecrow when released in 2008, even though I considered and still consider it to be below the Avantasia average of earlier albums.
The Wicked Symphony is the continuation of The Scarecrow, and it is followed by Angel of Babylon which was released simultaneously. I was afraid that The Wicked Symphony would fall below the average settled by The Scarecrow, especially when it came to the poppier tracks such as “Carry Me Over”, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Out of The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, I place my vote on The Wicked Symphony. The album is covered with three giant epics (two of which follow eachother!) – the title track, “Blizzard on a Broken Mirror” and “Runaway Train” – and the latter two are easily in my top of favorite Avantasia tracks, alongside beauties such as “The Scarecrow”, “The Seven Angels” and “Journey to Arcadia”. Even though “Dying For an Angel” sound like an Bon Jovi meeting pop metal, it is rescued by the multiple heavy immediate power metal classics on the album, including “Wastelands“, “Forever is a Long Time” and “States of Matter“, and “Crestfallen” proves yet again that Avantasia easily can reach beyond traditional power metal.
The song that ends the album, “The Edge“, is a strange song. I generally don’t like its “kind”, if I may say so – loveydovey guitar ballads with a theme of hanging on when everything looks bleak. But this one is different. Maybe it’s different simply because I have my own personal interpretation of the Scarecrow saga and its story, and I can imagine what the song is really about. And if I am correct (don’t tell me if I’m not), it works phenomenally to end the album, and lead into The Angel of Babylon.
I was hoping the new Within Temptation album would lead them into a heavier direction, or at least a development of the symphonic metal of The Heart of Everything, but it seems like I was incredibly wrong. Judging by the early comments by the band, I assumed the new album The Unforgiving, to be released on March 25, was to be in a cleaner hard rock style. With the new single Faster, however, they seem to go more in the styles of a classic techno pop approach. Oh no.
I will not judge the entire album from this, no, but it does make me a wee bit disappointed already. I really loved The Heart of Everything as well as all their earlier albums, and I would hate to see such a band fall into ruins.
I am still really excited about the album, which is created alongside a graphic novel with the same name. The prequel is out already online, and it looks quite cool. The idea overall is great, and I’m excited to see how the story goes and how the lyrics goes into the overall story (I have always been a sucker for good concept albums).
I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that, but… well, the incredibly moronic Faster cover only increases my possible dislike for the song.