The Wicked Symphony & Angel Of Babylon

1. The Wicked Symphony
2. Wastelands
3. Scales of Justice
4. Dying for an Angel
5. Blizzard On a Broken Mirror
6. Runaway Train
7. Crestfallen
8. Forever is a Long Time
9. Black Wings
10. States of Matter
11. The Edge

1. Stargazers
2. Angel of Babylon
3. Your Love is Evil
4. Death is Just a Feeling
5. Rat Race
6. Down in the Dark
7. Blowing Out the Flame
8. Symphony of Life
9. Alone I Remember
10. Promised Land (part II)
11. Journey to Arcadia

Tobias Sammet - lead vocals, bass guitar
Sascha Paeth - guitars, producer
Eric Singer - drums
Miro - keyboards, orchestration

The Metal Opera - 2000
The Metal Opera Part II - 2002
Lost in Space Part I (EP) - 2007
Lost in Space Part II (EP) - 2007

The Scarecrow - 2008
The Wicked Symphony - 2010
Angel of Babylon - 2010

Bruce Kulick
Oliver Hartmann
Henjo Richter
Felix Bohnke
Alex Holzwarth
Jens Johansson
Simon Oberender
Jørn Lande
Michael Kiske
Russell Allen
Bob Catley
Cloudy Yang
Jon Oliva
Klaus Meine
Tim "Ripper" Owens
André Matos
Ralf Zdiarstek

Sascha Paeth & Tobias Sammet - prod.

Released 3/4-2010
Reviewed 24/5-2010


Avantasia started as a side project from Edguy for Tobias Sammet and what he normally did there. The result was a slightly more epic project with more guest musicans and something that tells a story. In other words, an opera - or a metal opera to be precise. But the project was such a big success that Sammet not only wanted but also could do another album for his project. With these last releases we have five albums and two EPs. Avantasia have almost become bigger than the main band and Sammet’s had icons like Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine, Bob Catley, Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Jon Oliva and Jörn Lande (among others) as vocalists and one just as impressing assembly of musicians. So, the Avantasia phenomena - how are we suppose to grant these new albums?

Well, for starters we have what probably feels the most important with a project like Avantasia - the vocals. I praised ‘The Scarecrow’ for the fact that Tobias Sammet had taken a step back in the vocal part which meant his guests got a bigger part. This time it feels like he has slipped back into old habits again. Sure, it’s better than on the first two, but it’s still too much Sammet in relation to how much parts the other qualified vocalists get - my guess it’s about 60% Sammet this time. But then there are songs where Sammet takes no part at all, like Death is Just a Feeling and Symphony of Life on Angel of Babylon. And I actually think these are the best songs on the albums as well. I don’t think it has any to do with Sammets lack of singing, but it’s kind of funny it is that way.

Musically, these fall in the same fashion as ‘The Scarecrow’. It’s better produced that the first two albums and the guitars have turned a bit more rock n roll and the overall content is a bit deeper with magnificent choirs, arrangements and electronics. But there are also simple rock songs like the by Sammet sung Rat Race. And there are the ballads as well, and they are really as soft as a ballad can be. Like Blowing Out the Flame where the sounds have been limited to beautiful choirs, a sole guitar, piano and rythmed drums. I guess you can say whatever you want about the albums - that they are complete, fulfilled and have everything. But that’s not my opinion. They are rich and have most of what you can expect from albums like thses, and more. They have everything between those slow, calm songs to the heavy and fast ones, but this is just ingredients that takes you half way to a complete album (or two albums in this case).

I don think that these albums suffers from any specific fault, but I also think that it is too little that hits the bulls eye as well. If you pluck the cherrys from the bucket of plums, we’ll find 5-6 songs that is really good. This is the biggest difference from the earlier albums, they had 5-6 great songs per album. Here it is the same amount on both albums together. Then there’s a large amount of okay songs and everything comes in a nice package without any direct misses. The vocal part sounds good, the instruments are handed with professionalism and both covers and production is made with highest quality. The only problem is the songs that doesn’t engage enough. Everything else there’s plenty of.

I don’t know if my expectations have anything to do with it or not, but to me it feels like ever since Sammet has got the opportunity to do bigger and better productions, the quality also have sunk steadily. It should not be that way because everything on this album sounds so much better than the first albums with both Edguy and Avantasia. But it have also become much less interesting to listen at. It lacks those crazy moves, the same kind of wild, raw energy and engagement and stupid but charming mistakes from the first albums. That really out of this world spirit that signify Sammet where he’s been so over ambitious but couldn’t fulfill all his visions and had to compromise. But Sammet doesn’t need to compromise any longer, he can do whatever he wants. He can even get exactly the people he wants to have on his albums, so no compromises there either. It should be so much better, and it sounds so much better, but it isn’t better. I’d rather play ‘The Metal Opera part 1’ once and takes an incredible journey to a fantastic place for a moment than spend a long time playing these albums ten times - because they have a longer lifetime but a fantastic moment weight much more than a whole life that is okay but not exceptional. What do we remember the best from our life? That A we got in one subject or the pass we got in every other? Or the trip we made to paradise for a week compared to our fully decent every day life? Or when we won some competition compared with all those times we finished top ten?

Avantasias two new albums keeps steady over the level of good, but if I want to be really touched by this project I don’t play any of these. It is good music, good albums, good songs, overall it’s good. It’s a project that still haven’t been bad, but my interest has never the less calmed quite much. ‘The Wicked Symphony’ and ‘Angel of Babylon’ are two albums that will alot of enjoyment, but probably no excitement. However, no problems to reach the pass.


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Edguy/Freedom Call/Aina
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm