Monday, 4 January 2016

Avantasia - Ghostlights - Song by Song Review

1. Mystery of a Blood Red Rose
Not a bad start but there's better to come. A nice rock song anyway with of course a huge nod to Mr Loaf with the piano led pomp style. 7.5/10

2. Let the Storm Descend Upon You
A bit strange to put the album's longest track second. Jorn's parts are awesome. Ronnie Atkins sounds weaker in comparison. The other singer is Robert Mason whom I don't know and he sounds pretty good. The chorus is great in this mid paced tune. Musically the song is a bit unadventurous and even monotonous but vocally it's great and everyone performs amazingly well. Great lead work towards the end. 8/10

3. The Haunting
Featuring Dee Snider and Toby singing lead. The song starts spooky but then the chorus kicks in and has a great melody. The song is slow and slightly creepy sounding as the title would suggest. I love the atmosphere actually and the chorus is really quite moving. I'd probably class this as a ballad which I would normally not like but this is really interesting to listen to. Nice melodic solo as well. Oh and I should say I never knew Mr Snider can sing so melodically. 8.5/10

4. Seduction of Decay
Featuring Mr Tate with a slowish slightly oriental feel to the song. Tate sings very good it must be said. The song has a nice melody but it's just a bit pedestrian. That oriental motif is pretty nice though. The chorus is also a little underwhelming. However the song has really cool verses so I don't miss a huge chorus strangely enough. Both Tobi and Tate sound really good. The song sounds like a slow burning, moody Kamelot song to me. Pretty cool. 8/10

5. Ghostlights
Time for a little power metal! Yes that's what I like - a happier melodic tune with of course Kiske singing amazingly high. Wow his voice sounds so cool on this track. I don't know how he does it. Tobi and Jorn join in on some lines at various times for variety. There are some nice counterpoints between the singers as well which makes it a nice listen. The chorus is really catchy indeed when Toby sings a line in between Kiske. One of the best songs Helloween never wrote! 9.5/10

6. Draconian Love
Something a bit different with a slightly dark Gothic song with vocals by Herbie Langans and Tobi. The song sounds a bit like Sisters of Mercy to me. It has a slowish tempo but the melody is actually great especially come chorus time. I should be skipping this but I actually really like it and I find it strangely uplifting. Different and catchy Gothic melodic metal. 8.5/10

7 Master of the Pendulum
We reach the middle of the album and it's one of my fave songs on the whole thing. This one is full heavy metal! The opening is slow but soon the metal starts to happen and Marco from Nightwish starts to tear it on the mic. The chorus is very Nightwishy as well and it's probably not a coincidence that Marco was given this song to sing. An amazing, pure, melodic heavy metal tune! 10/10

8. Isle of Evermore
A haunting mournful ballad sung by Sharon from Within Temptation and Tobi. It's merely OK in my book. I don't think he utilised Sharon well on this track. She needs bigger melodies to sing IMO. I mean she can do slow and morose but the song is just not  interesting enough to me. The song doesn't have any guitar in it. It's like one of those soundtrack songs you find in a movie like Gladiator or Braveheart. 6.5/10

9. Baybylon Vampyres
Ok now we're talking. That opening riff will spark up the dead! What an awesome energetic and melodic start to a song. Lead vocals by obi and Robert Mason on this tune. Both sing perfectly and the song builds the pace and melody up nicely indeed before we reach a happy go lucky chorus and it's one of the catchiest on the album. The guitars blow me away on this track. It sounds a bit like a super fired up TNT to me with vocals close to Mr Harnell as well. The lead trade offs towards the end are really spectacular as well. Love this awesome tune! 10/10

10. Lucifer
Oddly enough a song called Lucifer is a piano led ballad and not a heavy pounder, well for the first half at least. However the song is melodically pretty amazing. Both Jorn and Tobi turn in wondrous performances on this song especially Jorn. He's superb on this song. The middle of the song suddenly transforms into a rocker with pounding drums and ripping leads. The melodies sung by Jorn at the end are just spine tingling. The shorted song and one of the best IMO. 9/10

11. Unchain the Light
A moodier yet very melodic song sung by Tobi, Ronnie Atkins and Kiske. I especially enjoy the song when Miki kicks in with the high pitched stuff. The chorus is superb and very melodic whilst the verses are far more moody as a juxtaposition. The song is just a great listen thanks to the amazing vocals by all three chaps. 9.5/10

12. A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies
The final track sees the only appearance of old Avantasia favourite Bob Catley on the album and he sounds in fine form even though he's probably by far the oldest singer on the album. The song is more in the vein of the Meat Loaf show tune and has a lot of pomp flavour. However the melodies are truly captivating and Bob and Tobi grab the listener with this anthemic end to the album. A majestic and triumphant way to finish. 9/10

Wake up to the Moon - Bonus track
Well a bonus track is always nice to have especially when it's as good as this. A number of singers with Jorn in the main sounding amazing as well as Miki Kiske in the superbly melodic chorus. The song sounds like a tune from one of Miki's recent AOR styled albums that he does for Frontiers. I'm not sure how the song fits in with the rest of the album story wise if at all but musically it really is a joy to listen to. A superb slice of melodic rock/AOR this bonus track with all the cast getting a line or two to sing. 9.5/10

So there we have it. Obviously I am totally in love with the album. I liked the last album and the ones before to varying degrees but I think Tobi has out done himself this time song writing wise. I'm sure some people will say he's not metal any more but the album has metallic moments but it also has loads of non-metal but the quality is so damn high and the melodies so addictive that I could care less. My overall rate is 9/10 with a 9.5/10 probable given more than my three plays so far. A bona fide certainty for the the 2016 Top 20 list and we're four days in!

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