4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
The latest AVANTASIA album released today is here! I have been looking forward to this album for quite some time and it doesn't disappoint.
Tobias Sammet (the lead singer and founder of the band) is superb! His vocals are unique and he has a voice you can enjoy. This is a METAL OPERA album - meaning it Incorporates a number of household names in the Metal genre (power metal predominantly) such as Michael Kiske, Ronnie Atkins, Amanda Summerville and Bob Catley
If you like bands such as Rhapsody Of Fire, Sonata Arctica, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Reinxeed etc etc, you will like this. Some great songs with a variety of singers and sounds.
I have just finished listening through this and I have to say I was extremely impressed and it deserves a review for those of you contemplating the purchase of this epic album - simple decision - its a fantastic album worthy of being in anyone's music library!!!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
The "Mystery Of Time" is the sixth studio album by Tobias Sammet's rock opera project. Avantasia offers a very good new album that rivals some of its past achievements. The use of a real orchestra proves to be a welcome addition, creating a bigger and more captivating sound.
The cast of musicians includes Tobias Sammet (Edguy) on bass and lead vocals, Sascha Paeth (ex-Heaven's Gate) on guitars, Russell Gilbrook (Uriah Heep) on drums and guest guitarists Bruce Kulick (ex-Kiss, ex-Meat Loaf), Oliver Hartmann (ex-At Vance) and Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon). The Mystery Of Time is also the first Avantasia album to feature the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg.
The list of guest vocalists is expectedly impressive and includes Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Biff Byford (Saxon), Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Bob Catley (Magnum) and Cloudy Yang.
The album offers a variety of hard rock, symphonic rock, power metal and pop-rock. The overall sound doesn't differ a lot from The Wicked Trilogy releases, but the orchestra surely makes things more interesting and the vocals are more evenly distributed.
There are many highlights among the songs and only two of them sound rather weak or filler-like. There are several longer songs and even two ten-minute epics, but surprisingly none of them gets tiresome or boring.
The best track is probably the longest song, entitled "Savior In The Clockwork". This is a varied track, with several tempo changes, but it is essentially a hard rock epic with some doses of power metal. The song is vocally dominated by Tobias Sammet and an impressive Biff Byford, with Joe Lynn Turner singing the first verse and Michael Kiske joining for some short passages towards the end. A strong chorus, several memorable guitar riffs and a good guitar solo, by Bruce Kulick, round off the track perfectly.
"Where Clock Hands Freeze" is the mandatory Michael Kiske fronted power metal track and it is definitely one of the best songs on the album. Besides the short orchestral intro this is a fast and melodic double-bass driven song, with one of the best choruses on offer. Kiske probably delivers his best vocal performance ever on an Avantasia song. The track also features vocals by Sammet on the second verse, background orchestration and memorable guitar solos by both Sascha Paeth and Oliver Hartmann.
"Black Orchid" is the darkest song and another highlight. A slower symphonic rock epic, featuring a successful duet between Sammet and Byford. Black orchid includes many orchestrations, a great chorus with big choirs and is probably the most atmospheric track on the album.
"The Great Mystery" is the second longest track and the perfect album closer. A big ballad type of song, with several tempo changes, that combines influences from Magnum and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The vocals are shared between Bob Catley and Sammet, with small contributions from Turner and Byford. The song features a very memorable chorus and a well arranged and bombastic orchestral passage. A major theatrical highlight.
"Dweller In A Dream" is a catchy up-tempo melodic hard rocker. It features a strong duet between Sammet and Kiske and another memorable chorus. Nothing mind blowing, but still very enjoyable and another stand out.
"What's Left Of Me" is one of Avantasia's best ballads ever. A very nicely arranged track with strings, piano and choirs, which includes a very addictive chorus and is dominated by an emotional vocal performance by Eric Martin.
"Spectres" does a good job as the album opener but ultimately fails to amaze. A mid-tempo rock song, with prominent orchestra backing and a good chorus. The orchestral intro is truly captivating and the vocals are dominated by Sammet, with a small contribution from Turner. The song looses points due to some strange arrangements.
"Invoke The Machine" is the heaviest song on offer and features a rough and very fitting vocal performance by Ronnie Atkins. The track includes memorable guitar riffs and good solos by Paeth and Hartmann. Unfortunately the chorus is rather unimpressive and drags the whole tune down. It is still a good up-tempo melodic heavy metal song that many will enjoy.
Besides the album's strong points there are also some flaws. The biggest flaw is the absence of longer and more technical guitar solos and the low mix of the guitars (in parts). Another disadvantage is the weak pop ballad "Sleepwalking", which ruins the flow of the album. The up-tempo hard rocker "The Watchmaker's Dream", is overall mediocre and another low point. The final minor flaw is the use of certain tempo changes, on some songs, that don't necessarily work for the best.
In conclusion, The Mystery Of Time is a great rock opera release. It flows better than the previous three Avantasia albums and includes only two weak songs. Most guest vocalists do a great job and their roles are overall more prominent. The orchestra proves to be a very good addition to the sound and is used wisely. Personally I view the new installment as one of the stronger Avantasia albums, which surpasses both Angel Of Babylon and The Metal Opera part II.
Tobias Sammet should be congratulated once again for this achievement. The Mystery Of Time is surely a contender for the album of the year.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2013
This album takes a few times to listen to it before it grows on you.
Hard to capture the majesty of The Metal Operas but this is not a bad effort.
Great guest appearances by the likes of Biff Byford et al and of course Michael Kiske.A pity Felix Bohnke isn`t on the drums this time but you can`t have everything.
I liked 1)Spectres and 4)Where Clock Hands Freeze.5) Sleepwalking isn`t a bad power ballad if a little commercial.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2013
If it's the first Avantasia album you've heard then great, you'll like it. If not, then so very similar to Wicked symphony and Angel of Babylon. Also, the quality of the recording isn't great, very flat on all formats. In fact it sounds like it was recorded on compact cassette. This is a shame because it does weaken the album somewhat. The Scarecrow remains by the far best album. Was hoping for more as the concept behind it was a fantastic idea.
on 13 September 2013
I was fortunate enough to see Avantasia at Bloodstock 2013 and was blown away by both the music and the line up of guest vocalists!
I had checked them out very briefly on YouTube before going but nothing prepared me for the sheer power and ability of the performers and their performance for me was one of the best I witnessed at the Festival. When we got back, I brought this album and have been playing it pretty much non stop.
The songs are immaculately put together, and the narrative as a whole is moved along exquisitely well as the story unfolds. It's so difficult for me to choose a favourite track as they seamlessly blend together. The addition of guest singers is normally done as a way of selling more copies but here with Avantasia, it lifts the project to incredible heights. Michael Kiske's voice sounds as good as I remember it from Keeper of the Seven Keys pt 2, Joe Lynn Turner I hadn't heard since his Malmsteen days, whilst Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins was someone who I'd not heard before but will certainly be looking out for in the future. Bob Catley and Biff Byford need no introduction and are both in excellent form throughout the entire album. All of these vocalists work perfectly for their allotted roles within the project, never overstating their parts whilst providing excellent support for Tobias Sammet who helms the project with a perfect touch.
If you only buy one album this year, make it this one!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2013
I am a bit dissapointed,I was expecting a little bit more this time,but from this album every Avantasia sounds to me like the same...nothing a haven't heard before
on 20 September 2013
Tobias Sammet has shown once more that he does understand a thing or two about music. The Mystery of Time is not the best album he created, but it is certainly not the worst either. There are wonderful and powerful songs on it, as well as some easy-going ones. I do enjoy song number 1 quite a lot; Specters is very good and it does set the stage for a nice story - again! As soon as I heard the first few tunes I stopped doing everything and just listened. It was really nice, however, the album weakens a little bit to the end, so that we have a powerful start and a slightly weaker end, however, I do not find it that bad at all. It is certainly not what one could expect from Avantasia, compared to the Metal Opera this was a little less awesome, but let's wait and see how the story continues.
on 24 July 2015
Avantasia have developed their sound magnificently with this alpine-esque album, it has all the beauty of winter snow and midnight blue skies. An experience to listen too, each song is so beautifully structured, you hear something new with each listen. Expressive vocals and a glorious orchestra of sound, a must have for Symphonic Metal listeners.
on 20 April 2013
The best by far of all the Avantasia albums, more coherent, musically incredible brilliant selection by tobi for all the gifted musicians and vocalists, well structured fantastic songs, just a great album to own if you like power metal ( melodic) with somne great heavy riffin at times highly recommended...