Archive for Tobias Sammet

Avantasia – Moonglow

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 8th February 2019 by mickbirchy

Avantasia

Moonglow

Symphonic Metal, Power Metal

Released: 15th February 2019

via Nuclear Blast Records

Every time a new album from the mind of Tobias Sammet comes out, you know I have to listen to it. The new album from Avantasia, Moonglow is another home run for the band. This is their eighth studio record to date and they keep going from strength to strength. This album is one of their most impressive in my opinion. It has so many interesting elements, mixing many different styles from around the world, they have created a complex and dynamic record that is consistently interesting. I have been really into this band for the longest time. The way they mix sounds, melodies and intricate lyrics has always captivated me.

The album was produced by Sascha Paeth and Tobias Sammet and I think they have created something beautiful with this record. Right from the very first track “Ghost In The Moon” the overall sound is so good. The  interweaving of themes, melody and lyrical poetry make this an exciting and interesting listening experience. All of the Avantasia tropes are present, the epic choirs, the fast and furious power metal energy and Sammet’s infectious charisma. His vocals just demand your attention and coupled with the overwhelming orchestral metal sound, every song hits you like a tonne of bricks. Also, this album contains an all-star cast of great metal musicians to accompany Sammet and share the workload. Massive names such as Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Candice Night (Blackmore’s Night), Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche), Eric Martin (Mr Big) and Michael Kiske (Helloween) all lend the assist to making these songs sound so powerful and making the word larger than life.

Personally, this is one of my favourite Avantasia albums. The hooks are simply massive and I’ve had a tonne of fun just rocking out to these songs. From the soft and tender ballads to the energetic and forceful power-metal songs. I don’t think that Avantasia has ever really sounded this good. The guitars can be punchy or lend to a gentle atmosphere. The keyboard and synths are simply wonderful encompassing the music in an aura of majesty. The bass is tightly locked in with the drums and keeps the rhythm beautifully. All in all, every instrument sounds massive and Paeth and Sammet’s production makes everything sound as good as possible.

This is a flawless album and already up there as one of my favourites of 2019. From the passion and conviction of the performances to the sharp and punchy melodies. This album is just one to listen to over and over again. I mean making great music is just Avantasia’s M.O. at this point, yet, this album goes above and beyond the call of duty and really delivers something special. Exceptional writing and fantastic production carry this album to a pleasing 66 minutes 45 seconds, that I just want to keep listening to as many times as I can.

5/5

Mick Birchall

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Edguy – Monuments (A 25 Year Tribute to Edguy)

Posted in CD, Editorial/Opinionated, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 9th July 2017 by mickbirchy
Edguy
Monuments
Power Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive
Released: 14 July 2017
via Nuclear Blast

It’s been 25 years of Edguy. Yes, this band has been going as long as I’ve been alive on this earth. So, I thought that I would pay homage to one of the greatest metal bands that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. What better way to do that than going through the newest release from them. Monuments is a carefully and passionately selected collection of the band’s greatest hits from the last 25 years. Not only that, but the release has five brand new songs from the band. Along with one previously unreleased recording. Mounting up to a staggering 28 track album that will be more than enough to indulge even the biggest fan of the band.

I first discovered Edguy back in 2008 with the album Tinnitus Sanctus. I bought it after reading about them in a Magazine calling this album “the strongest of their career yet”. At this time, the metal press was buzzing around them. I listened to the album and something stirred inside of me. I instantly wanted to hear more from them. So in very quick succession I looked their history in music. I was completely blown away and I think this was the start of my obsession with power metal. As listening to them got me into fellow contemporaries: Blind Guardian, Sonata Arctica and Hammerfall. I know I was a little behind but believe I’m caught up now with them all. Yet, there was something different about Edguy and it was all in frontman, Tobias Sammet’s vocals. He sang with such power and conviction still to this day his voice gives me goosebumps. If anyone ever asks me what a metal or rock vocalist should sound like I just turn and point to Tobias. Everyone has their own favourites that they immediately associate with the genre. He’s mine.

Yet, I don’t want to do a disservice to the band that back him up. Edguy has some incredible talent in there. Unlike a lot of bands that go this long; Edguy have had a pretty consistent line up having the same lineup from 1998 onwards. Giving them a fantastic consistency. This is reflected across all their albums. Jens Ludwig and Dirk Saur have been their from the very beginning on guitars. Always producing fantastic riffs and melodies that compliment the tone of whatever album. They were going in to. Be it the more power metal centric albums or the winding twisting more progressive sound. No matter how flamboyant or heavy the song. Ludwig and Saur really deliver in getting music stuck in your head. As for the rhythm section Tobias Exxel on bass and Felix Bohnke on drums has always given Eduy that weight and power to their tunes. There’s just such a commanding presence to their music. When Edguy plays, you listen.

Monuments, includes 5 brand new songs from the band. You’d think that they may get lost amongst all of the classic songs. They sort of do, I don’t necessarily see that as a band thing. I just see it as these songs just feel as good as their iconic work. Which can only be a good thing. All five of the songs are big triumphant anthems and their played with just as much conviction as the big hits. With massive sounding production and the tight musicianship that we’ve come to expect from Edguy by now. Is it any wonder that they sound this good! They fit so nicely on this package of their hits. They feels like songs that have always been here. I guess that’s the real strength of Edguy. Making songs that fit so well into the collective consciousness, making tunes that just sound right.

As for the unreleased song “Reborn In The Waste”. Recorded back in 1995, as part of the Savage Poetry recordings. Savage Poetry being one of their demo albums in the early 90’s. I can understand why it wasn’t included. I don’t think it’s wholly representative of the band’s skill or style. In all honesty I think it’s a pretty lackluster tune. It’s got a nice hook to it and I think if they remade the song today it might be better but I don’t know. I guess I like it just for the fact it’s another piece of Edguy nostalgia more than anything else.

In all honesty. This has been a fun one to look at. Just looking back through Edguy’s back catalogue and remembering the great tunes from yesteryear. They are certainly a band that has stood the test of time with 10 albums under their belts and some of the most enthusiastic fans I’ve ever met. Going through this greatest hits compilation has really made me appreciate how good this band really is. From the heavy hard rock tunes, to their soaring ballads they make some of the finest metal music around. They may not be on the same level as the all time greats of the genre, but they always hold a special place in my music library. I will always think back to the time I first heard them roar into gear with “Ministry of Saints”. If you have never given them a chance do yourself a favour grab Monuments and get acquainted with one of the best metal bands in the world. At least according to this reviewer. Yeah, this might read as a bit of a fluff piece or it could read as a little self-indulgent. I really don’t care. I just wanted to look back on one of my favourites to celebrate 25 years of this band.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Avantasia – Ghostlights

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 29th January 2016 by Pieni

Avantasia
“Ghostlights”
Symphonic power metal
Release: 29th January 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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It seems like yesterday that Tobias Sammet brought the term “metal opera” to a new level but it’s been 15 years already. And he keeps pushing the envelope.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s different from the previous albums, as the symphony-meets-power-metal is still the formula. But somehow the outcome this time is more… elegant.

Even the +12-minute “Let The Sun Descend Upon You” unfolds gracefully, making every minute worthy – I’m not big on lengthy songs, but with this one, time flew. Also, Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) and Robert Mason (Warrant) brightened up the melody with their hard-rock-vibe vocals.

There’s also a somber and mysterious tone in both “The Haunting” and “Seduction Of Decay”, the first a bit creepy, living up to its title, the latter somewhat Middle-Eastern influenced. They’re both enthralling, the participation, respectively, of Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) and Geoff Tate (Operation: Mindcrime) the sweetest icing for such cakes.
I won’t talk of every guest on this record, but since we’re speaking of perfect fits, this review cannot go without mentioning the amazing job that Herbie Langhans (Beyond The Bridge and Sinbreed) did on “Draconian Love”. His deep voice makes of this track the closest to a goth rock one.

The sadness on the ballad “Isle Of Evermore” is pretty touching, while the happy speed of the title-track will make the day of the power metal fans. Yes, “Ghostlights” is a very thorough album, hitting all the right marks in diversity, style and spirit.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Edguy – Space Police – Defenders of the Crown

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , on 11th May 2014 by mickbirchy

Edguy
“Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown”
Power metal
Released on 18th April 2014
via Nuclear Blast

 photo spacepolice_zps45ae5816.jpg

Edguy returns with their tenth studio album Space Police – Defenders of the Crown, and just a spoiler for the review ahead, it’s really damn good.  The long awaited follow-up to 2011’s Age of the Joker, Edguy delivers another excellent record that is sure to keep fans of both the band and heavy metal alike, happy.  This album is an enjoyable straight up heavy metal album from start to finish, as well as taking tropes from classic rock.  This album has everything from the fast paced belters to the catchy, riff and solo filled, sing alongs.

The album starts with the heavy and commanding Sabre & Torch, giving the album a spark of energy to start off with.  It was the best foot forward for the band as the this song shows off the vibe they wanted – a heavy, enduring, pure metal tune.  The next two songs Space Police and Defenders of the Crown are also well written and have some intense and interesting lyrics. These three songs back to back just kick the album into high gear, there’s no wonder the latter tracks are both “the title” of the album.  All throughout the album Tobias Sammet’s strong songwriting and excellent compositions are present, and provides all the songs so much emphasis and flaunts a striking presence.  There are so many good melodies, riffs and solos on this record, it makes every song sound big and definitely catches your attention.

One of the selling points of the album, for me at least, is their cover of Falco’s 1985 hit Rock Me Amadeus and… it’s one of the best covers I’ve heard in a long time.  It captures the spirit of the original but adds the heavier music and Edguy’s traditional light-hearted tone.  Around this cover, we have some of the best written songs on the album.  Love Tyger, The Realms of Baba Yaga, and Do Me Like A Caveman are fun filled, high octane songs that bring that old school rock energy.  They all bring that great sound that Tobias Sammet is always so good at creating for the metal world, and trust me once these catchy tunes are in your head they won’t be gone for a while.

In summary, as if you couldn’t guess already, this is an album well worth buying.  Edguy makes a staggering return to form and boast it.  The production, writing and the musicianship are well done, making the overall listening experience feel magnificent.  The whole album is easy to listen to and this is a must get for any true fan of metal.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall