Released: Mar 29, 2013
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal, Hard Rock, AOR
Label: Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 10
Maybe it's the expansive territory this album takes sound-wise, but "The Mystery Of Time" is a step greater as compared to the band's previous albums.
The Mystery Of Time
UG Team, on march 29, 2013 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Avantasia is a renowned heavy rock supergroup, featuring former members of such bands as Edugy, Rhapsody Of Fire, and Kamelot. After first forming back in 1999, Avantasia has gone on to create a multitude of critically acclaimed studio albums, and appealing to the ears of metalheads across the globe with their signature sound consisting of pulsating heavy metal licks, progressive rock elements, and an overall rock opera-esque sound. Now, Avantasia return to the music world bearing not just their first studio album in three years, but also another memorable metal outing. The new record, titled "The Mystery Of Time", marks the third installment in the band's history, and shows Avantasia returning to the same vibe they last left with "Angel Of Babylon". The entire album bears a strengthy sound most comparable to Symphony X, filled with such downright epic tracks as the racing "Invoke The Machine", which boasts contagious vocal harmonies and speed metal riffs; and the ballad "Sleepwalking". I'm also hearing a more significant AOR influence throughout the new album, which actually propels the album a step forward, as compared to some of the band's earlier works. Another powerful record from Avantasia, which doesn't leave too much to even remotely consider negatively persisting upon. // 8
Lyrics: Saying that lead vocalist Tobias Sammet is an incredibly dynamic singer just isn't doesn't do him justice. He can easily transition from a natural tone, to a angst filled scream that falls somewhere in-between Ronnie James Dio and Udo Dirkschneider. "The Mystery Of Time" has proven to be no exception, and it's his singing that drives many songs over the top, more specifically "Where Clock Hands Freeze". // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, "The Mystery Of Time" is a frequently exhilarating album, which shows Avantasia taking some more dynamic influences head on, and never ceasing to come out on the winning side of each encounter. I'm not quite sure, maybe it's the expansive territory this album takes sound-wise, or maybe it's the standout contributions by such similarly renowned rock musicians as Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow and Deep Purple) and Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween), but "The Mystery Time" is a step greater as compared to the band's previous albums. And this step brings Avantasia in a bold new direction, and frankly, I like it.
The Mystery Of Time
jonny947, on april 12, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: As a long time Avantasia fan, this new release took me by surprise. The last two albums had some fantastic tracks that stand up as some of Tobias Sammet's greatest works ("The Wicked Symphony", "Promised Land", "Dying For An Angel" and others) but mixed in with these were a generous helping of un-memorable or lackluster tracks that, in my opinion, brought the albums down in comparison to Sammet's mighty "Metal Opera". This album, however, is a totally different story.
The album features a full orchestra, giving the album a distinctly Nightwish-esque vibe, particularly on Spectres, the two 10min+ epic tracks, and "Black Orchid", the opening of which could be taken directly from "Nightwish"'s "Imaginaerum". That said, the orchestra is never over the top, and doesn't feature where it isn't needed. The guitar work is excellent overall, with every song featuring a great solo, particular standouts for me were the main rhythm guitar riffs on "Saviour In The Clockwork" and "Invoke The Machine", the latter of which could have been played by Michael Romeo of Symphony X, the similarity to his playing style is uncanny.
There are some fine examples of Sammet's power metal origins, "Where Clock Hands Freeze" and "Dweller In A Dream" being prime examples, and the album closes with a long, very progressive, self indulgent epic that typically ends albums such as these, which works very well here. // 9
Lyrics: This being an Avantasia album, the lyrics tell a story that is open to interpretation by the listener. They are slightly cheesy, but fit to the music and are never cringe-inducing. In terms of the vocal performances, Sammet's vocals dominate the proceedings, and they are truly stellar on this album, always fitting with the musical style perfectly, and the same can be said for the horde of guest vocalists that join him. For this reason, the two ballads on the album don't fall too far into the trap of being too cheesy, and the first ballad "Sleepwalking" is an album highlight for me, mainly due to how well Sammet's and Cloudy Yang's voices work together on the track. // 7
Overall Impression: This album is full to overflowing with Sammet's best songwriting in years, Edguy music included. I sat down to listen to the first track for a first impression and ended up listening to the full album in one sitting, and not once did I feel uninterested as I would definitely have done towards the end of the last two albums. The mix between exhilarating power-metal, epic and progressive songs, soulful ballads and straight-up metal has been nailed here, along with the order in which these styles are placed in the album, rather than on previous efforts which have swayed too far in one direction for too long.
The album is fantastic overall, and unlike many albums in this genre, I found that it improves as it goes along, with the slightly weaker tracks at the start of the album. That said, "The Watchmaker's Dream" has a face-melting organ solo, and it is difficult to find any negative points in any of the album's tracks so significant that they are worth commenting on. Highly recommended to any fan of Avantasia or Edguy, as well as fans of almost any metal genre, due to the amount of creative ground covered here. // 9