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Avantasia: A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society

A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society is the 9th studio album by Tobias Sammet’s (Edguy) German metal opera project Avantasia, and the second of the Moonglow saga. Flooded with hooks and memorable choruses, this is an album that covers multiple genres such as power metal, symphonic metal, melodic rock, and even progressive metal, with a variety of vocalists also contributing to the diversity of the sound, but at the same time maintaining some coherence with the melodic aspect of the songs as the main unifying aspect between songs. One of the things I like most about this artist is his accuracy when choosing who sings to every song he writes, because the result is on point… so kudos to Tobias for that. The basic recording band for the album consists of Tobias on lead vocals, keyboards, and bass guitar, Sascha Paeth (Edguy, Kamelot, Epica, etc.) on guitars and bass guitars, and Felix Bohnke (Edguy) on drums… guest vocalists will be mentioned later… and a beautiful Tim Burton inspired album cover by Swedish illustrator Alexander Jansson. The opener “Welcome to the Shadows” is straight metal opera at its core, and the only song not to feature a guest vocalist, it has an immediate hook with catchy melodies and fabulous instrumentation by the band. The first power metal song of the album is “The Wicked Rule the Night”, a song where Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Gamma Ray) displays all his high pitch power to match the frenetic rhythmic pace in a flawless execution, another hook, darker and heavier than some of the rest material, but never less sticky, with the presence of an outstanding guitar work by Paeth.

“Kill the Pain Away” kicks off with an evident symphonic metal vibe, in part due to the presence of the talented Floor Jansen (Nightwish) on guest vocals, it is a good song but definitely not the one I’ll come back for, opposite to what happens when I listen to the following song “The Inmost Light”, a true highlight of the album, a song that features Michael Kiske (Halloween) on vocals and that momentarily returns the album to the power metal corner of the room and delivers one of the more memorable choruses of the whole output. The second song with Floor is the single “Misplaced amongst the Angels”, a melodic rock tune where Tobias confirms his great vocal ability sending his guest’s vocal performance to second place, a song engineered for the masses. “I Tame the Storm” is one of my favorites, now is Jørn Lande’s turn (Jørn) to accompany Tobias and the result is fantastic, a song easy to hum-to after just a few listens, powerful but heavily catchy. “Paper Plane” is the unequivocal melodic treasure of the album, Ronnie Atkins is the perfect match for the vocal harmonies adding a poppier edge to Sammet’s composition, and the Journey-like guitars are the cherry on top of the ice cream. The great Bob Catley joins the band on “Moonflower Society” and the performance is so accurate that it sounds like a lost Magnum song from the mid 80’s, recorded with actual production values, love this song!

Eric Martin (Mr. Big) guests on “Rhyme and Reason”, and the band finds itself on the mellower side (if that even exists) of power metal, a lot has to do with Eric’s style, perhaps the less natural fit of any guest on the album… but it works, somehow it does… yes it might be too bright and positive at spots, but it is impossible no to head-bang to the guitar solo and singalong to the sweet chorus.

I’ve heard and read so much about how Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche) has lost his powerful unique voice, but on this occasion I’ll have to disagree because he delivers an outstanding performance on “Scars”, another of my favorites, and it sounds a lot like early Queensrÿche, same way I felt with the Catley’s song, Tobias has a clinical eye to accomplish exactly that, so it makes it even easier for the listener to capture his ideas. Finally we find the 10-minute epic “Arabesque”, a heavy melodic gem that finds Kiske and Jørn meeting Tobias at the album’s summit. Bagpipes sounding keys blending with middle eastern guitar melodies, heavy drumming and formidable vocalization, finishing the album on the same operatic note as it began, with perhaps the best guitar work yet by Paeth… APEWTMS is another great accomplishment by Mr. Sammet. Cheers.

Track list:
  1. Welcome to the Shadows (5:04)
  2. The Wicked Rule the Night (4:24)
  3. Kill the Pain Away (3:43)
  4. The Inmost Light (3:26)
  5. Misplaced Among the Angels (5:16)
  6. I Tame the Storm (3:52)
  7. Paper Plane (3:53)
  8. The Moonflower Society (5:13)
  9. Rhyme and Reason (4:41)
  10. Scars (4:12)
  11. Arabesque (10:09)

Added: February 12th 2023
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 587
Language: english

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