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Avantasia - Ghostlights review


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Band: Avantasia
Album: Ghostlights
Release date: January 2016

Disc I
01. Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose
02. Let The Storm Descend Upon You
03. The Haunting
04. Seduction Of Decay
05. Ghostlights
06. Draconian Love
07. Master Of The Pendulum
08. Isle Of Evermore
09. Babylon Vampyres
10. Lucifer
11. Unchain The Light
12. A Restless Heart And Obsidian Skies
13. Wake Up To The Moon [digibook edition bonus]

Disc II [digibook edition bonus] [live]
01. Spectres
02. Invoke The Machine
03. The Story Ain't Over
04. Prelude
05. Reach Out For The Light
06. Avantasia
07. What's Left Of Me
08. Dying For An Angel
09. Twisted Mind
10. The Watchmakers' Dream
11. Another Angel Down

Over the last few albums, Avantasia have softened and smoothed out - matured, perhaps - and they arrive in Ghostlights a much different beast from the brash power project born the better part of two decades ago. Modern Avantasia sounds more "symphonic rock musical" than "metal opera." No harm done, though - it's only different, not worse.

"Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose" immediately delivers one of the most noticeable aspects of Ghostlights - Tobias sounds nearly unrecognizable at first glance. His voice has deepened and matured even relative to Avantasia's more recent material; he bears little relation to the Avantasia of The Metal Opera, to say nothing of old Edguy material. Sat in the midst of Avantasia's diminished extravagance and safer compositional choices, Ghostlights, too, in many ways echoes the old-age odysseys of UFO, Europe, or "Seduction Of Decay"'s guest vocalist, Geoff Tate. Tobias has been steadily sanding down his edges and cultivating a much warmer, more mellifluous approach to songwriting of late, and while we no longer have the magnificent dynamics of "The Scarecrow" or the speed and volume of earlier material, I've found these last few albums to be a lot more consistent and generally more enjoyable, even if they aren't capable of reaching the same occasional heights.

In this regard, Ghostlights finds its closest analogue in The Mystery Of Time; for the most part, Ghostlights definitely sounds tamer and friendlier - though also wiser and more benevolent - than a lot of (symphonic and/or) power metal on the market these days. A few tracks, like "Babylon Vampyres" or "Unchain The Light," bust through the walls with a rawer and more raucous metal sound, but the unusually orchestral "Isle Of Evermore" and slow-building epic "Let The Storm Descend Upon You" set the tone more accurately.

It goes without saying, but Ghostlights lives up to its predecessors with its impressive roster of guest musicians, including several new additions to the Avantasian canon. Rarely has there been a better vocal duo than Tobias Sammet and Jørn Lande; these two titans triumphantly thundering out their tales in tandem always bring a smile to my face. Great as The Mystery Of Time was, it did not have a Tobias/Jørn duet, which is obviously essential for any Avantasia album. Throwing Michael Kiske into the mix on the title track only sweetens the deal. With its brilliant rotation of vocalists and inspired guitar work by both Sascha Paeth and Oliver Hartmann, the high-speed anthem "Ghostlights" leaves behind the more static theatricality of metal opera for a daring odyssey into a classic power metal attack. (See also "Unchain The Light" - plus Ronnie Atkins, minus Jørn.)

Overall, Ghostlights presents an Avantasia evolved and refocused; the album is still very much recognizable as Avantasia, however, and no amount of discourse to the contrary ought to be misread as indicative of a serious change in style. Ghostlights grows more slowly than some of their material, but it's very consistent, and, if not stunning, still more than worth its salt.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7

Written on 01.03.2016 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Guest review by
Ghostlights is an album that for some reason never really clicked with me, something that actually surprises me to this day, because on paper I should absolutely love this album. Good lyrics, very good musicianship, great production should result in an album that I like. Instead it resulted in Ghostlights being an album that I neither love, nor hate.

published 21.08.2017 | Comments (7)


Comments: 6   [ 2 ignored ]   Visited by: 284 users
01.03.2016 - 15:24
Account deleted
Great review this one.!

There are so many individual opinions out there. Unlike most of the reviews i read here in the past, this one actually made sense AND has a positive outcome. I enjoyed it, mainly cause it was about appreciating the bands development, and pointing out the albums highlights. It's about taking the songs of the album and mark their qualities....this is what every official review should be about. Unlike most of the reviews out there this one was NOT about criticizing the bands musical orientation. So many reviews preach, if the album is not traditional power metal, it must suck, and be the disappointment of the year. Damn it, what does that say about reviewing an album?

Maybe its not a power metal, who the fuck cares? Ghostlights kicks major ass. I also consider this to be Tobi's hit in the past couple of years.
Okay, maybe i say this because i also enjoy listening rock music as well.... this i also an individual point view.... but if an albums is not a classic chest-beating power metal, it does not necessarily mean it sucks.

I think this album couldn't have been any better!
01.03.2016 - 19:51
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Actually rose song now makes sence why its so soft and lame, its Eurovision song, sad they did not make it
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
01.03.2016 - 23:01
Rating: 9
SoUnDs LiKe PoP

Very good album. But unfortunately, one too many filler tracks to be considered GREAT.
I lift weights and listen to metal
04.03.2016 - 16:59
Rating: 7

Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 01.03.2016 at 23:01

Very good album. But unfortunately, one too many filler tracks to be considered GREAT.

Enjoyable but not great or memorable.
13.05.2017 - 20:57
Rating: 10

The opener is like, and unlike, any previous avantasia song. Let the storm descend upon you is tobias's most intense production yet. So many of these songs just zing with potential. Its not faultless but i cant bring myself to stop listening, or stop smiling either, and thats all that matters
28.08.2018 - 03:28
Rating: 9

It´s a good record, better than "Mystery of Time" no doubts about it. It´s an interesting CD with a lot of diversity in it, altough in my book doesn´t match the quality of the Metal Opera part I and II, and even The Wicked Symphony. Still a great Avantasia record, with great moments. A band that clearly changed their direction over time, but you can still ear glimpses of the Metal Opera in it. Vocals on point (specially Jorne Lande, always amazing), great melodies overall and choruses. Let The Storm Descend Upon You is a great track, probably the best one of the CD, and my favourite for sure.

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