Avantasia - Moonglow
As a long time fan of German metal opera supergroup Avantasia since their albums were actually called Metal Opera, it took me a long time to gather my thoughts about their latest release Moonglow. I wholeheartedly welcome mastermind Tobias Sammet’s departure from classic 90’s Euro-power sound. Even with my expectations of a Meatloaf-inspired glam-theatrical extravaganza, Moonglow was all sorts of surprises. Since the early years, Avantasia is known for writing long, dramatic, multi-part epics with an impressive lineup of guest vocalists. Opening an album with a nearly 10-minute-long track is quite ballsy, even for Sammet. However, “Ghost in the Moon” was surprisingly pleasant to listen to with an incredibly satisfying use of choral vocals, guitar-vocal exchange in the verses, and a dramatic crescendo buildup in the bridge. Moonglow marks the first appearances by Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian and Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night. Hansi had the opportunity to show off the full range of his vocals in “The Raven Child” which he shared with Avantasia regular Jorn Lande while Candice shared lead vocals with Tobi Sammet himself on the poppy title track “Moonglow.” I fully expected zero power metal tracks in this album - but again, I was caught off guard by “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and “Requiem for a Dream,” both with ample use of guests vocalists trading verses and singing group call-and-responses. Like this album, it is extremely difficult to write a concise review of how I experienced Moonglow - it had some of the bloat that I noticed in Ghostlights, but it also had the creative and whimsical songwriting that I loved in my personal favorite Avantasia album, The Mystery of Time. Avantasia’s 2019 release is a trip. A wild, confusing, beautiful, trip.