Sound: 2010 sees Avantasia still moving further away from Power Metal, but that is not to say that latest release Angel of Babylon is anything short of awesome.
Angel of Babylon is the final chapter in The Wicked Trilogy (or, The Scarecrow saga), which is the story of a lonely creature with a distorted sensory perception. The album shares a very similar sound to the other albums within the story, The Scarecrow and The Wicked Symphony. I assume they were all written around the same time as The Scarecrow.
All of the songs on the album are around the same amount of time with the exception of the opener, Stargazers which is the longest track on the album clocking in around 10 minutes. Also I forgot the epic last track Journey to Arcadia which is around 7-8 minutes. Definitely one of the most stand out songs on the album, along with the creepy Death is Just a Feeling and the very different Symphony of Life which introduces a new character as quickly as it gets rid of her. // 9
Lyrics: Just like every other previous Avantasia album, Angel of Babylon has a wide range of guest vocalists featured, all who have their own character in the story. Once again they have Jorn Lande (Masterplan, JORN) from the previous two albums, Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, KISKE) who has been on all of the Avantasia albums to date and many more guest vocalists.
I have only briefly read the lyrics, but I can say they seem very dedicated to the story, except for the opening Stargazers which just seems to be a bunch of characters saying random lines. I don't see what it has to do with the story. I believe Tobias Sammet has said himself in an interview that Stargazers really has nothing to do with the story, but he just liked the song so much that he put it on the album anyway.
I give this section a 10/10 for absolutely stunning vocal performances by every single singer involved and beautiful lyrics. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall Impression? I was very disappointed at first. All the songs seemed to have the same formula, and the lack of metal surprised me, and not in a good way. This is why I waited a few months before reviewing this album, so I could take some time to really listen to it and warm up to it.
Don't purchase this album if you aren't going to like anything that isn't fast, metal tracks like the old Avantasia, this is something entirely new.
There are the mid-paced songs like Angel of Babylon, Your Love is Evil, Rat Race, Down in the Dark, Alone I remember and Promised Land.
There is a Ballad, Blowing Out the Flame, and a song unlike any other Avantasia material called Symphony of Life. A creepy but very emotional and beautiful song featuring Jon Oliva (Savatage, Jon Oliva's Pain) by the name of Death is Just a Feeling.
This leaves us with the two epics, the Heavy Metal opener Stargazers, and the wonderful, more soft closing song Journey to Arcadia.If this album was stolen or lost I would not hesitate to purchase it right away. I'd recommend this album to any body who enjoyed the previous Avantasia releases like The Scarecrow and The Wicked Symphony, or someone who enjoys bands like W.A.S.P, Bon Jovi or Survivor. // 9