Avantasia
Angel Of Babylon

2010, Nuclear Blast
Heavy Metal

Contorni epici e suoni fluttuanti: la magia di Avantasia
Review by Gaetano Loffredo - Publish on: 06/04/10

“Definition of rock journalism: people who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read” (Frank Zappa)


Well, to come up with such a quotation on his official website, Tobias Sammet might have disliked the criticism that has overwhelmed his controversial “The Scarecrow”, an album which somehow betrayed the style and lost the magic of its precursors with its unsuspected  modernism. This is the natural consequence of the German singer's artistic growth. It is also a physiological matter: when you're 20, you see music in a certain way; once you're 30, you see it totally different.
Therefore, his two new productions, “The Wicked Symphony” (read our review) and “Angel Of Babylon” must be put to the test. In this review, we're going to focus on the second one.


ANGEL OF BABYLON


Unlike what happened on “The Wicked Symphony”, this album really hits the gas: “Stargazers” and “Angel Of Babylon” compete to tribute an old school power metal style. The first one is quite a long tune sang by four different voices (Hartmann, Lande, Sammet and Kiske); the second one is more direct and blithe and requires two singers only (Lande and Sammet). The music is epic and melodic, filled with emotions and divinely produced: the third gem, “Your Love Is Evil” fearfully decelerates, but then it gives us a stunning bridge and an unforgettable refrain. We finally find the real Tobias Sammet, equally behind the mic and the pen. “Death Is Just A Feeling”, a circus-like spectacle introduced by Jon Oliva, is quite an acid track that leaves us – like its step sister, “The Toy Master”, did on the previous record – with a sour taste. Toby might have been aware of this little fault, so he immediately comes up with one of the best power metal tracks ever, “Rat Race”, followed by a hard rock-oriented mid tempo (at least before its sugary refrain), perfectly sang by  flawless Jorn Lande, once again master of the scene. Then, it's time to take a chair and an acoustic guitar: the ballad “Blowing Out The Flame” will make you burst into tears, with its brilliant electric guitar solo in the middle of the song and its perfect piano closure. “Symphony Of Life”, a Nightwish-like song, goes back to futurism and modernism, thanks to the vocals of an unknown female singer (Cloudy Yang) who already recorded the backing vocals for the previous records. Let's move away from Toby's standards, and join the hard rock fury of “Alone I Remember”, an unexpected, old-fashioned yet fluent song. Finally, the wonderful “Promise Land”, which didn't make up on “The Scarecrow” (though it appeared on one of the two pacemaker Eps), and another power ballad, “Journey To Arcadia”, epic and dreamlike, in a perfect Avantasia style.

 

I slightly preferred “Angel Of Babylon” to its brother “The Wicked Symphony”, thanks to its faster tracks and its melodic taste, even if Sammet probably tried to overdo, here and there. The style is quite similar to the one of “The Scarecrow”, so we have modern sounds, filters, a radio-friendly style and an updated production. In my opinion, this is a sincere and passionate work, that can guarantee extended listening sessions; two albums that, for some good reason, you'll have to buy. Beware, though: this is neither Sammet's final consecration, nor a miracle.





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