Avantasia - Moonglow review
|Release date:||February 2019|
01. Ghost In The Moon
02. Book Of Shallows
04. The Raven Child
08. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
10. Requiem For A Dream
11. Maniac [Michael Sembello cover]
12. Heart [bonus]
This album features Hansi Kürsch.
Yes, Tobias Sammet has figured out that the only way he can possibly improve on his now-trademark vocal tag-team with Jorn is to add Hansi Kürsch - and thus The Big Epic Song With Jørn Lande is now The Big Epic Song With Jørn Lande and Hansi Kürsch. So Avantasia gains yet one more facet, and so we move from Ghostlights to an album of equally poetic moniker, Moonglow. Like its predecessor, and in keeping with the general trend of Avantasia, Moonglow is a soft fantasy opera with choirs as soulful as a '60s pop group and a good-natured, arena-filling bent on par with '70s hard rock. It's not just Hansi who makes his Avantasia debut here: the title track features Candice Night (of Blackmore's Night, of course) on a dashing pop-rock single, and there are few tracks that better embody the spirit of this project's trajectory.
Already at the end of the first paragraph we have a couple of all-time greats for the band, but for me it's actually the five-minute "Book Of Shallows" that dominates Moonglow: Tobias and Jørn, a vocal team forged in heaven, plus Hansi, plus Ronnie Atkins, plus a very Kreator-sounding thrash section sung by none other than Mille Petrozza himself. Slap a Massive Power Metal Chorus on that and you've got a guaranteed killer. Moonglow isn't that much shorter than Ghostlights, and with a ten-minute voyage instead of a Eurovision single opening the album, it's not easy to call this album more compact, but I've found myself more willing to play through this in its entirety, whereas I do tend to jump around to my favorites when I go back to Ghostlights.
Avantasia is playing a winning game. At its worst, the band still provides pleasant, low-investment pop metal with big choruses and a glut of interesting guest vocalists frolicking in a novel sonic playground, and at its best - well, if you've ever heard "The Scarecrow," you know that no words could ever do justice to Avantasia at its best. There will always be fluctuations in songwriting quality and the appeal of the visiting talent, but any Avantasia album reaches a high standard of listenability. Moonglow is no exception; hearing Geoff Tate in a curious new context puts his voice in a new light for me, and though I've never cared for his singing all that much, I find his features here hypnotic. Same goes for the cover of "Maniac," of Flashdance fame - I'm not a big fan of the song (and I probably still prefer the Firewind version), but it's here, and so I will listen to it and enjoy it.
The mounds of strings and choirs and otherwise characteristic bombast are not here to kick down your door and bombard you with power metal clichés; I mean, they certainly will, but these aspects are more like pillows of sound, shepherding you through the difficult journeys of life with clear-headed melodies, angelic vocals, and ripping riffs. Avantasia is serene, wise, and beautiful, even when demonstrating its power; when life sucks, this sound is here for you.
||Written on 03.03.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.|
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