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Edguy – Space Police: Defenders of the Crown [Review]


Edguy – Space Police: Defenders of the Crown
2014, Nuclear Blast Records
Buy the album at

1. “Sabre & Torch”
2. “Space Police”
3. “Defenders of the Crown”
4. “Love Tyger”
5. “The Realms of Baba Yaga”
6. “Rock Me Amadeus”
7. “Do Me Like a Caveman”
8. “Shadow Eaters”
9. “Alone in Myself”
10. “The Eternal Wayfarer”
Digital Bonus Tracks:
11. “England”
12. “Aychim in Hysteria”
13. “Space Police (progressive version)”
14. “Space Police (instrumental version)”
15. “Love Tyger (instrumental version)”
16. “Defenders of the Crown (instrumental version)”
17. “Do Me Like a Caveman (instrumental version)”

Band: Tobias Sammet – Lead/Backing vocals, Keyboards
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Tobias “Eggi” Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke- Drums

Additional Musicians:
Michael Rodenberg – Keyboards
Oliver Hartmann – Backing Vocals

Producer: Sascha Paeth & Edguy

Much to the dismay of longtime fans, Edguy continues to be an outlet for Tobia Sammet’s silliness and his love for ’80s rock/metal while Avantasia is his more serious metal project. It’s funny because Avantasia started out as a cheesy & cliched power metal side project for Tobias and there was a time when Edguy used to take themselves more seriously.

One of my favorite songs on the album happens to be a bonus track. “Aychim In Hysteria” is a tribute — musically to Def Leppard and lyrically to the band’s live sound in engineer. Edguy’s lyrics have always been full of little in jokes, awkward phrasing and nonsensical words so while I don’t know what the song is about exactly, at least it sounds good!

With regards to the 10-track album, Edguy has delivered one of their best efforts, in my opinion. I know there are plenty of Edguy fans that still pine for their power metal days and maybe they’ll return to that at some point but for now the band seems happy to write silly catchy hard rock/metal songs. It’s almost like they’re becoming a heavier version of The Darkness. I’m fine with that. That’s how Edguy captured my attention in the first place with Rocket Ride. Songs like “Do Me Like a Caveman”, “Love Tyger” and a cover of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” won’t win the band any favors with power metal purists but they are fun songs nonetheless.

For my money, the best tracks from the album are the ballad “Alone In Myself” and the headbanging “Shadow Eaters”. With the bonus tracks, “England” is okay but like I said, I think “Alychim In Hysteria” is pretty awesome. As far as the progressive/instrumental versions go–  okay, nice to include but they aren’t essential listening.

Space Police: Defenders of the Crown is a worthy addition to the Edguy catalog. I wouldn’t place it with Rocket Ride but it’s at least on level with Tinnitus Sanctus and I’m enjoying it more than Age of the Joker.

Highlights: “Sabre & Torch”, “Space Police”, “Love Tyger”, “Shadow Eaters”, “Alone In Myself”, “The Eternal Wayfarer”, “Aychim In Hysteria”

Avantasia – The Mystery of Time [Review]


Avantasia – The Mystery of Time
2013, Nuclear Blast Records
Buy the album

1. “Spectres”
2. “The Watchmakers’ Dream”
3. “Black Orchid”
4. “Where Clock Hands Freeze”
5. “Sleepwalking”
6. “Savior in the Clockwork”
7. “Invoke the Machine”
8. “What’s Left Of Me”
9. “Dweller in a Dream”
10. “The Great Mystery”

Tobias Sammet – Lead Vocals, Bass
Sascha Paeth – Guitar
Russell Gilbrook – Drums
Miro – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Joe Lynn Turner – Lead Vocals
Michael Kiske – Lead Vocals
Biff Byford – Lead Vocals
Ronnie Atkins – Lead Vocals
Eric Martin – Lead Vocals
Bob Catley – Lead Vocals
Cloudy Yang – Lead Vocals
Bruce Kulick – Guitar
Oliver Hartmann – Guitar
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Guitar
Ferdy Doernberg – Organ

Produced by: Tobias Sammet & Sascha Paeth

Tobias Sammet just does not quit! Between Edguy and Avantasia, he’s constantly recording or touring. He’s the German equivalent of Dave Grohl. Busy, busy, busy!

It seems to be paying off. The Mystery of Time has done very well across Europe and while it didn’t break the Billboard 200 in the United States, it sold well enough in its first week to make Billboard’s Heatseeker and Hard Rock charts.

Thankfully, The Mystery of Time is only a 10-track collection and not a double album effort like when Sammet released The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon simultaneously back in 2010. But don’t worry, there’s enough power metal epics here — “The Great Mystery” and “Savior in the Clockwork” both clock in (no pun intended) at 10 minutes.

Though I included this album in my Top 10 list for 2013, I didn’t get around to really listening to it until the end of the year even though it was released in March of 2013. Boy, I’m sorry I procrastinated. This may be my favorite Avantasia release yet and the presence of the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg only adds to the majestic metal that Avantasia already brings to the table.

Speaking of that orchestra, Edguy used them for their Hellfire Club album. I admit it’s getting harder to tell the difference between Edguy and Avantasia these days. Sammet is the driving force in both bands and they both play power metal. The only real difference is that Edguy seems to have a cheesy sense of humor and Avantasia uses a lot of guest vocalists.

Yeah, definitely should have rated this one higher for 2013. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Great vocal performances all around, great melodies and songs that you can’t get out of your head. Best Avantasia album yet.

Highlights: “Spectres”, “The Watchmaker’s Dream”, “Sleepwalking”, “Savior in the Clockwork”, “Invoke the Machine”, “What’s Left of Me”, “The Great Mystery”

Edguy – Age of the Joker

Edguy – Age of the Joker (2011, Nuclear Blast Records)

1. Robin Hood … 8:24
2. Nobody’s Hero … 4:31
3. Rock of Cashel … 6:18
4. Pandora’s Box … 6:45
5. Breathe … 5:03
6. Two Out of Seven … 4:27
7. Faces in the Darkness … 5:22
8. The Arcane Guild … 4:58
9. Fire on the Downline … 5:46
10. Behind the Gates to Midnight World … 8:56
11. Every Night Without You … 4:52

Tobias Sammet – Vocals
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Tobias Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke – Drums

Producer: Sascha Paeth

Wow, I had planned on reviewing this one as soon as it came out but I just kept putting it off despite having already given Age of the Joker a few (unfocused) listen. Having given the album a few more attentive spins, Age of the Joker is a really good album that is easily an improvement over Tinnitus Sanctus (which itself was a fine album and one of the best of that year but was missing a certain spark I heard on Rocket Ride …yes, I’m a fan).

For a number of uptight power metal fans, Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus are considered to be low-points for Edguy. With those albums they took on more of an eighties melodic hard rock flavor though Tinnitus Sanctus was the heavier of the two albums that saw them going back into a metallic direction. I would imagine the same fans that derided the last two albums will have mixed feelings about this new release.

Age of the Joker borrows from both the power metal and the catchy hard rock eras of Edguy while also incorporating elements of Sammet’s Avantasia epics. Other than the goofy humor that Edguy displays with an eight minute song like “Robin Hood” (and if you don’t think these guys are taking the piss just watch the video for it), it’s getting hard to distinguish the two groups these days because they’ve both moved into a more friendly melodic hard rock/metal direction over the last few year. Perhaps it’s time to start using a producer other than Sascha Paeth…

Stylistically, I think the album art is a conscious effort on the band’s part to make the jaded fans take them more seriously after having last seen cartoon aliens riding a rocket ship and an ear-bleeding Jesus Christ being sported on the covers. This cover art reminds me of the cover to Mandrake even if it is still a bi

There’s a little something for everyone here. You want old school Edguy? Check out “Robin Hood” and “The Arcane Guild”. You want something more in line with Rocket Ride? You’ve got “Nobody’s Hero”, the bluegrassy “Pandora’s Box” and the power ballad “Every Night Without You”. Hey, were you a big fan of the recent Avantasia albums? Give “Rock of Cashel” and “Behind the Gates to Midnight World” a listen.

It all adds up to make one heck of a high quality album that is one of 2011’s best releases. In fact, I don’t think there are any filler tracks here (I would peg “Robin Hood” as my least favorite though). The band has quite possibly released one of their most consistent albums yet.

Highlights: “Nobody’s Hero”, “Rock of Cashel”, “Pandora’s Box”, “Two Out of Seven”, “Fire on the Downline”, “Behind the Gates to Midnight World”, “Every Night Without You”

Buy ‘Age of the Joker’ at

AVANTASIA – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon: Deluxe Edition

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon: Double Album Deluxe Edition [Import] (2010, Nuclear Blast Records)

Disc 1: The Wicked Symphony

1. “The Wicked Symphony” … 9:28
2. “Wastelands” … 4:44
3. “Scales of Justice” … 5:04
4. “Dying for an Angel” … 4:32
5. “Blizzard On a Broken Mirror” … 6:07
6. “Runaway Train” … 8:42
7. “Crestfallen” … 4:02
8. “Forever is a Long Time” … 5:05
9. “Black Wings” … 4:37
10. “States of Matter” … 3:57
11. “The Edge” … 4:12

Highlights: “The Wicked Symphony”, “Scales of Justice”, “Dying for an Angel”, “Blizzard On A Broken Mirror”, “Runaway Train”, “Crestfallen”

Disc 2: Angel of Babylon

1. “Stargazers” … 9:33
2. “Angel of Babylon” … 5:29
3. “Your Love is Evil” … 3:53
4. “Death is Just a Feeling” … 5:21
5. “Rat Race” … 4:07
6. “Down in the Dark” … 4:23
7. “Blowing Out the Flame” … 4:51
8. “Symphony of Life” … 4:30
9. “Alone I Remember” … 4:48
10. “Promised Land” … 4:47
11. “Journey to Arcadia” … 7:12

Highlights: “Stargazers”, “Death Is Just A Feeling”, “Rat Race”, “Blowing Out The Flame”, “Symphony Of Life”, “Alone I Remember”, “Promised Land”

Tobias Sammet – Lead Vocals, Bass
Russell Allen, Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Klaus Meine, Andre Matos, Bob Catley, Ralf Zdiarstek, Jon Oliva, Cloudy Yang, Oliver Hartmann – Guest Vocals
Sascha Paeth, Bruce Kulick, Oliver Hartmann, Henjo Richter – Guitar
Miro Rodenberg – Keyboards, Orchestration
Sascha Paeth, Jens Johansson – Keyboards
Simon Oberrender – Organ
Felix Bohnke, Alex Holzwarth, Eric Singer – Drums

Producer: Sascha Paeth & Tobias Sammet

An epic collection featuring two epic albums! This deluxe edition collects both of Avantasia’s 2010 releases plus features a fairly lengthy booklet full of pictures and notes on the making of the albums. This time, instead of pure laziness, I actually had a good reason for not reviewing this set when I initially planned… it was just too much to absorb at once!

For some strange reason, unlike The Wicked Symphony, Angel of Babylon has not been released as a single disc in the United States although it is available as an import. I bought this collection on Amazon shortly after the street date because it turned out it was cheaper than having to order both albums separately because Angel of Babylon‘s import price was ridiculous at the time. This collection itself is actually an import (some of the text of my particular copy’s cellophane wrap was in Spanish) and it was retailing for $60-70 at most online shops when I first looked. YIKES!!! There are some very good deals to be found for it in Amazon’s Marketplace though, that’s how I got my copy and only paid$27 for it.

The very first thing I think of when I think of Avantasia are the amazing vocals that are always involved. Of course there’s Tobias Sammet, who is one of my favorite metal vocalists but Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske and Russell Allen shine on both albums just as they did on The Scarecrow. Jorn is featured on so many of these songs he might as well be considered a full-time member of Avantasia alongside Tobias. A Sammet/Lande album, anyone? And that’s not all! Klaus Meine, Tim “Ripper” Owens and Jon Oliva make appearances as well.

To this day I still have not heard the first two Avantasia albums. Some have complained that Tobias has taken the music in a slightly different direction, which is his prerogative since Avantasia is a side-project and a labor of love after all. Actually… Now that I think about it, if anything, I think Avantasia has become a bigger focus for Tobias than Edguy has been lately. Even so, the line has been blurred and both groups are becoming a bit interchangeable in sound. Not that I’m complaining, I like the direction both bands are headed in: great melodies, huge fantastic vocals, big drums, a bit of pop music, some ’80s hard rock, catchy choruses. Not many can do melodic power metal better than this.

I leaned towards The Wicked Symphony when I first bought this collection but after giving both albums many spins, I think I like Angel of Babylon better. There’s really no filler on that album at all. Either way, both are better than The Scarecrow (which I liked) and are two of 2010’s better albums!

Upcoming Reviews

Albums are piling up again! Here’s what I’m planning on reviewing by next weekend:

Nonpoint – Miracle
Pretty Maids – Pandemonium
Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon: Double Album Deluxe Edition
Alexx Calise – In Avanti (finally?)

All of this in addition to my usual personal collection reviews and maybe a few other recent releases depending on what I have time for! I bought a bunch of Deep Purple albums and have listened to a few but there’s enough to have a ‘Deep Purple Week’ so I’m thinking I may do that sometime in the coming weeks. I’ll possibly do a Whitesnake week too in the near future. I’ve been on a big Whitesnake kick lately.


Bruce Kulick – BK3 (2010, Twenty 4 Records/Rocket Science Ventures)

1. “Fate” … 3:31
2. “Ain’t Gonna Die” … 4:11
3. “No Friend Of Mine” … 4:09
4. “Hand of the King” … 4:55
5. “I’ll Survive” … 4:48
6. “Dirty Girl” … 3:59
7. “Final Mile” … 4:14
8. “I’m The Animal” … 4:42
9. “And I Know” … 3:17
10. “Between The Lines” … 3:54
11. “Life” … 4:32

Bruce Kulick – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals (“Ain’t Gonna Die”)
John Corabi – Lead Vocals (“No Friend of Mine”
Nick Simmons – Lead Vocals (“Hand of the King”)
Doug Fieger – Lead Vocals (“Dirty Girl”)
Tobias Sammet – Lead Vocals (“I’m The Animal”)
Steve Lukather – Guitar (“Between The Lines”)
Jeremy Rubolino – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jimmy Haslip – Bass
Eric Singer – Drums (“I’m The Animal”)
Brent Fitz – Drums
Kenny Aronoff – Drums
Cliff Calabro – Backing Vocals

Producer: Jeremy Rubolino with Bruce Kulick

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this release and while I expected it to be a solid effort, I didn’t realize how much I could would to enjoy this album.

Bruce is a vocalist in the style of Ace Frehley and Joe Perry — he’s not the greatest singer, but there’s a lot of charm to his voice and he makes it work. Not that he’s the lone vocalist for BK3. There are a number of lead vocal cameos: Gene Simmons and his son Nick get a song a piece, former Union band mate John Corabi sings, as does Edguy/Avantasia vocalist Tobias Sammet (who was recommended to Bruce by Eric Singer).

Musically, Bruce covers a broad range of rock ‘n’ roll. There’s some modern hard rock, old school hard rock, heavy metal, rock/pop, fast, slow, etc. You’d think this would make for a patchy album, but it doesn’t. Somehow, it all flows together and it’s a bit refreshing to go from the trippy Kulick-sung “I’ll Survive” to the rock pop of “Dirty Girl” sung by The Knack’s Doug Fieger. It keeps things interesting.

The album opens with “Fate”, which is a fast and fun song that throws a bunch of lyrics together that rhyme. Whether there’s a reason to any of this rhyming or not, I always enjoy songs like these. Good way to kick things off and it’s probably the must care-free song on the album.

“Ain’t Gonna Die” is up next with Gene on vocals. It’s an okay song but I have to say I think Nick outdoes his dad when he sings on “Hand of the King”. That’s a great heavy modern rock song and Nick’s voice is deep and powerful, sounding a lot like Gene. Both of these songs sound like they would have fit in well with KISS’ Carnival of Souls album. “Hand of the King” is probably my favorite song on the album but “No Friend of Mine” with John Corabi on vocals gives it a run for its money — another fantastic song with a modern edge.

Anytime I can hear Tobias Sammet, it’s a real treat. One of the best singers in rock today and “I’m The Animal” is  a throwback sounding something like what you might hear on a late ’80s KISS album or even Revenge. Eric Singer plays drums on this one. “Between The Lines” is an instrumental featuring Bruce & Steve Lukather. Very cool stuff with a Joe Satriani vibe.

Overall, this is a VERY cool release that went beyond my expectations. There’s definitely a number of iPod worthy tunes here for me (Where only the elite are playlisted!) and the album as whole has received steady play since it has come into my possession awhile back. I have not heard any of Bruce’s other post-KISS works previous to BK3, but if you were a fan of his work in that group, I think you’ll like this album.

Highlights: “Fate”, “No Friend of Mine”, “Hand of the King”, “I’ll Survive”, “I’m The Animal”, “And I Know”, “Between The Lines”

EDGUY – Hellfire Club

Edguy – Hellfire Club (2004, Nuclear Blast Records)

1. “Mysteria” … 5:44
2. “The Piper Never Dies” … 10:05
3. “We Don’t Need a Hero” … 5:30
4. “Down to the Devil” … 5:27
5. “King of Fools” … 4:21
6. “Forever” … 5:40
7. “Under the Moon” … 5:04
8. “Lavatory Love Machine” … 4:25
9. “Rise of the Morning Glory” … 4:39
10. “Lucifer in Love” … 0:32
11. “Navigator” … 5:22
12. “The Spirit Will Remain” … 4:12

Tobias Sammet – Vocals, Keyboards
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Tobias Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Oliver Hartmann – Backing Vocals
Thomas Rettke – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Edguy

Great release from Edguy, even though it’s not a highly acclaimed album from many of Edguy’s so-called “fans”. It’s heavier than previous Edguy efforts yet includes an orchestra for many of the songs.

The catchy power metal songs are still here though. “Mysteria”, “We Don’t Need a Hero” and “King of Fools”, are particularly infectious and it’s another release to offer proof that Sammet is one of the best voices in rock & metal.

I first got into Edguy with Rocket Ride, which is another album derided by Edguy fans, but I loved it and went back and picked this one up. It’s not over the top with the ode to 80s melodic metal that Rocket Ride had at times, but on Hellfire Club, the signs are showing of a band that’s more concerned with having fun than being credible in the eyes of critics… and that’s a good thing.

Highlights: “Mysteria”, “The Piper Never Dies”, “We Don’t Need a Hero”, “Down to the Devil”, “King of Fools”, “Forever”, “Lavatory Love Machine”

EDGUY – Rocket Ride

Edguy – Rocket Ride (2006, Nuclear Blast Records)

1. “Sacrifice” … 8:01
2. “Rocket Ride” … 4:47
3. “Wasted Time” … 5:48
4. “Matrix” … 4:09
5. “Return to the Tribe” … 6:06
6. “The Asylum” … 7:38
7. “Save Me” … 3:47
8. “Catch of the Century” … 4:03
9. “Out of Vogue” … 4:36
10. “Superheroes” … 3:19
11. “Trinidad” … 3:28
12.”Fucking with Fire (Hair Force One)” … 4:22
13. “Land of the Miracle” [live] … 5:49

Tobias Sammet – Vocals
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Tobias “Eggi” Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke – Drums

Produced by: Sascha Paeth

I can enjoy some power metal bands, but it’s not a favorite genre of mine because it all usually seems the same to me, musically and lyrically, but Edguy is definitely a power metal band that I love. Though some would argue that are really just a hard rock band these days and that billing started with this album (my first Edguy purchase).

Here’s proof that advertising works: I picked this one up at FYE shortly after it was released (I think it was only $11.99 or so) because the sticker on the shrink wrap said it was for fans of KISS, Scorpions and I think the third band was Judas Priest. Hey, I love those bands and the CD was fairly cheap, so I gave it a shot and I’m glad I did because this is one of the greatest albums I’ve ever heard.

As I would come to find out by buying their older material later, the album is a departure from their original power metal sound. It’s a bit more silly, slightly less metal and the 80s hard rock vibe is strong… and obvious at times when it comes to songs like “Fucking with Fire (Hair Force Once)”.

The album doesn’t take itself too seriously, but sometimes it treads on being TOO goofy like with “Trinidad”, which is catchy, but almost sounds like a song you might hear in a Disney movie like Lion King, if not for the lyrics.

Tons of older Edguy fans have turned their back on the band starting with this album, but the band has at least gained me as a fan. I love the direction the band took with this album and continued with Tinnitus Sanctus. This is definitely an album I return to over and over again.

“Land of the Miracle”, from their 1999 album Theater of Salvation, is a “bonus” live track from a show in Brazil. It’s a great performance and the crowd energy really adds to it.

Highlights: “Sacrifice”, “Rocket Ride”, “Wasted Time”, “Matrix”, “The Asylum”, “Save Me”, “Superheroes”, “Trinidad”, “Fucking with Fire (Hair Force One)”, “Land of the Miracle” [live]

EDGUY – Tinnitus Sanctus

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus [Import] (2008, Nuclear Blast Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Ministry of Saints” … 5:05
2. “Sex Fire Religion” … 5:55
3. “The Pride of Creation” … 5:30
4. “Nine Lives” … 4:26
5. “Wake Up Dreaming Black” … 4:04
6. “Dragonfly” … 4:56
7. “Thorn Without a Rose” … 4:44
8. “9-2-9” … 3:47
9. “Speedhoven” … 7:40
10. “Dead or Rock” … 4:57
11. “Aren’t You a Little Pervert Too?!” … 2:18

Tobias Sammet – Vocals
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Tobias “Eggi” Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke – Drums

Produced by: Sascha Paeth

I got my hands on an import version of this album (released in November) though it won’t see a US release until January 2009. Ah, the wonders of eBay. There’s rumblings of a Edguy backlash, at least over here in the States. They “sold out”, “turned their back on metal”, whatever. Usual gripes when an artist tries to expand their sound. Personally, I don’t think Edguy has ever been better. Yes, I enjoy their power metal very much, but I think their hard rock/80s metal sound is even better.

I got hooked on the band with Rocket Ride, and if you liked that album, you’ll like this one as well. If you didn’t like Rocket Ride, don’t even bother with Tinnitus Sanctus because the power metal element is even more removed (though still there on songs like “Dragonfly” and “Speedhoven”). I might even go as far to say this even better than Rocket Ride, which had one or two filler songs. Tobias Sammet says this is the band’s greatest album and the album he thinks and hopes they’ll be remembered for. While I like to think each future Edguy release will get better and better, he may be right about it being their best at this time.

I especially enjoy “Sex Fire Religion”, which is extremely catchy and my favorite song from the album. “Dead or Rock” is another standout that adds element of sleazy blues rock, but still the typical booming vocals of Tobias.

The only track which I don’t enjoy is “Aren’t You A Little Pervert Too?!”. I know it’s a “joke” song, but I just don’t think it’s funny. I’d rather another track that didn’t make the final track listing had replaced it.

Highlights: “Ministry of Saints”, Sex Fire Religion”, “The Pride of Creation”, “Wake Up Dreaming Black”, “Dragonfly”, “9-2-9”, “Dead or Rock”

AVANTASIA – The Scarecrow

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008, Nuclear Blast Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Twisted Mind”
2. “The Scarecrow”
3. “Shelter from the Rain”
4. “Carry Me Over”
5. “What Kind of Love”
6. “Another Angel Down”
7. “The Toy Master”
8. “Devil in the Belfry”
9. “Cry Just a Little”
10. “I Don’t Believe in Your Love”
11. “Lost in Space”

Tobias Sammet – Vocals, Bass
Sascha Paeth – Guitars
Eric Sing – Drums

I just got into Edguy about 2 years ago. I was looking for CDs at FYE and stumbled across Rocket Ride. A sticker on the cover said something like “for fans of Scorpions, Judas Priest, and KISS”. It was only $10 or so, so I picked it up. I loved it, I went and bought more Edguy and loved those albums too. So here I am now, a loyal follower of Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet, so I picked up his latest solo project’s offering.

Avantasia, for all intents and purposes, is basically Sammet himself writing the songs and then bringing in friends to play and share vocals on it. This is the third Avantasia release, I’ve only head bits and pieces of the first two (The Metal Opera and The Metal Opera Part II) but I’ve never gotten around to getting them.

Anyway, I heard “Lost in Space” and “Carry Me Over” online and that was enough to make me want this album. A lot of fans are claiming Sammet “sold out” with his look and a few songs here (most notably the two I mentioned), the’re saying he’s trying to be the next Bon Jovi. Tobias has addressed these complaints and dismissed them. What’s wrong with writing catchy rock/pop songs? It’s not like there’s not enough metal to go around on the rest of the album.

I knew upon a second listening to this album when it was originally release that it was already going to be one the year’s best, despite that fact that it was released in January. You simply have to hear “The Scarecrow” is one of the most epic and awesome songs ever, seriously, I think it’s one of the greatest songs EVER. It gives me chills, especially Jorn Lande’s vocals. Amazing job.

Sammet has become one of my favorite vocalists as well. I was listening to an early Edguy album a few weeks ago and he’s really grown as a singer. Soaring vocals, man!

Guest appearances abound! Just to name a few: Rudolf Schenker, Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske, Jorn Lande, and Alice Cooper.

Highlights: “Twisted Mind”, “The Scarecrow”, “Carry Me Over”, “What Kind of Love” (which I can picture on a soundtrack for some Disney animated movie), “The Toy Master” (with Alice Cooper vocals, it would easily fit on his Hey Stoopid album), “Devil in the Belfry”, “Lost in Space”

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