The Mystery of Time

Label: Nuclear Blast/Warner
Three similar bands:
Aina/Edguy/Gamma Ray
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
01. Spectres
02. The Watchmakers' Dream
03. Black Orchid
04. Where Clock Hands Freeze
05. Sleepwalking
06. Savior In The Clockwork
07. Invoke The Machine
08. What's Left Of Me
09. Dweller In A Dream
10. The Great Mystery

Tobias Sammet - lead vocals, bass guitar
Sascha Paeth - guitars, producer
Miro – keyboards
Russell Gilbrook - drums

The Metal Opera (2000)
The Metal Opera Part II (2002)
Lost in Space (2008)
The Scarecrow (2008)
The Wicked Symphony (2010)
Angel of Babylon (2010)
The Flying Opera (2011)

Bruce Kulick - guitar (on tracks 3, 6, 10)
Oliver Hartmann - guitar (tracks 4, 7, 9)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen - guitar (track 2)
Joe Lynn Turner - vocals (track 1, 2, 6, 10)
Michael Kiske - vocals (on tracks 4, 6, 9)
Biff Byford - vocals (on tracks 3, 6, 10)
Ronnie Atkins - vocals (on track 7)
Eric Martin - vocals (on track 8)
Bob Catley - vocals (on track 10)
Cloudy Yang - vocals (on track 5)
German Film Orchestra Babelsberg

Produced by Sascha Paeth and Tobias Sammet
All songs written and composed by Tobias Sammet
Artwork painted by Rodney Matthews

Released 2013-03-29
Reviewed 2013-03-23


nuclear blast

Here we have Tobias Sammet and his metal opera Avantasia tackling the mysteries of time and does that in one hour and ten chapters. Being a big fan of sci-fi and temporal riddles as well as Avantasia and Tobias Sammet I was of course thrilled by the prospect of this album. Still I was a bit apprehensive considering the trend of the latest Edguy albums but also to some extent the latest duo of albums by Avantasia which wasn’t as good and fresh as Scarecrow before it. If you look to the left and follow the links in the discography you can see how much of a fan I am of Avantasia and some of the albums have been very good and felt very exciting. In the times of Scarecrow one could say that there was really a battle between Sammet and Lucassen for the throne as the rock/metal opera scene, but then Tobias put out a live DVD with Avantasia and the latest disappointment of an Edguy album while Lucassen put out the mighty Victims of the Modern Age under the Star One moniker as well as a decent solo album and a new Ayreon album is on its way that will be released this year. Maybe the battle is no longer on as Arjen even does a guest role as guitar player in the second track of this album so all seems exciting, but is it?

That is a whole other matter and the music is bombastic power metal with a very catchy sounds centred around catchy choruses, it is much in line with what we heard on the latest two Avantasia albums and also Scarecrow with a touch of the first album. It is bigger this time though with a symphony orchestra and the same sort of singers doing their parts with Tobi still taking the biggest role for himself as he always does. No complaints about the production, it is excellent in all regards and I must admit myself to being impressed by the fact that he always manages to deliver such solid productions. The guest list is as impressive as ever but the singers are fairly similar in their vocal styles which is a bit of a letdown but not that much, it still works quite well even though I would have liked a stronger female presence on this album.

Alright, this is a good album with some catchiness and clever songs in most regards but there is a bit of a but for me. Having followed this project from its infancy I think it appears like Tobias has started to run out of ideas, first a disappointing Edguy album and now this which is a disappointing Avantasia album. As I stated before it is not bad, but I have heard it all before a lot now and it doesn’t feel as good and exciting anymore. It feels like Tobias has started copying himself and this album feels a bit like a collection of stuff from the previous albums, in a way it is like he is trying to live up to some expectations of what he should sound like and possibly not what his mind should be telling him to do. I think that because I never thought Tobias as a one dimensional character which the evolvement of both Edguy and Avantasia is pointing towards, I don’t understand why most bands and projects in the metal genre has to repeat themselves ad infinitum rather than evolving and keep growing. I mean listen to Black Orchid, it has the exact same melodies and song structure as Sign of the Cross from The Metal Opera, the tempo and words are different but nothing else, and there are more such déjà vu-moments on this album but I will not bore you with them.

To me this is a disappointing release by Avantasia, well if you want to keep the status quo in your Avantasia collection it is great but I would have liked something fresh and exciting much like Avantasia of old. I didn’t get that but I still got a very nice album that is extremely well made and with good songs, but there are many albums already released in 2013 that are both better and more exciting than this one so for me the album money would go elsewhere.



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