Avantasia, the all star rock symposium led by Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet has returned after a three year hiatus with their seventh studio effort. Ghostlights is a well crafted score of impressive detail and fine guest musicianship. Fans of the power metal genre, symphonic elements and the rock opera style of the bands early releases are sure to appreciate this tantalizing new achievement.
The album kicks off with the first single "Mystery of A Blood Red Rose" which is a straight ahead rocker and features the guitar talents Sascha Paeth who handles the majority of guitar work throughout the CD and also co-produced the album with Sammet. "Let The Storm Descend Upon You" continues and presents an array of vocal talent from such acclaimed voices as, Jorn Lande (Masterplan), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) and Robert Mason (Warrant) as well as Tobias Sammet's easily recognizable set of pipes. There are a number of standout cuts that deserve special attention the first being the vocal contribution on "The Haunting" by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. This song fits its title for sure but it is interesting in that it is a rather unexpected pick for Dee. The first couple of times listening I actually didn't realize who I was listening to. A somber approach and melodic tinge that shows Mr. Snider works well outside the genre he is best known for.
Since it was announced that former Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate would be adding his talent to this album there has been quite some anticipation from the Metal community. Namely because it gives us the opportunity to hear Tate sing Metal and not just any Metal but well written material! Knowing that he still has the voice was never in question and he shines tremendously here on "Seduction Of Decay."
The title track of the album features lead vocals by former Helloween singer Michael Kiske and surprisingly his range is quite remarkable on this one. The only female vocal on the album is a very passionate duet between Tobias and Within Temptation vocalist Sharon Den Adel on the beautifully arranged ballad, "Isle of Evermore". Ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick lends his guitar playing skills to a few songs but is most notable on "Lucifer," which also finds Jorn Lande in the lead vocal spotlight.
Ghostlights contains all the textures, nuances and heart of Metal passion that you would expect to find on such a monumental gathering of talents and more. Music and musicianship such as this is rare in today's day and age. I can't recommend this album enough. Great job Toby! You never disappoint.
-The Metal Priest