Avantasia - The Mystery of Time
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal / Rock Opera
10 songs ()
Release year: 2013
Tobias Sammet's site, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Chris
Major event

Avantasia's new album, I find, is not a simple affair to review. On the one hand I would have liked to have much more time listening to it and letting it brew before I wrote that review but on the other it's already out for two weeks... But I also feel like this album has many subtleties that would have required a little more time to analyze fully.

So why the difficulty ? Well, for one I think this album is different from the last few Avantasia releases, where I thought the name Avantasia itself didn't really apply. I thought it was just great albums where Tobias and invites did their stuff, really. In this sense I feel The Mystery of Time is much more like the original two Avantasia albums. It's not however Power Metal bombastic all the time (but it is at times !), though one part of my review process was to listen to every Avantasia albums and I noticed my memory of it was somehow different than what I thought, meaning there is more slower moments that I would remember even in the first two, and that isn't a bad thing at all. It did scream Rock Opera, and I don't know if it's the subject, the songs or the added symphonic orchestra on The Mystery of Time that managed to change my view of nowadays' Avantasia, but I have found that this new album did in fact did credit to the name. The orchestra is the same used on Hellfire Club but it used much more in tone with an opera here, which makes a big difference. There is no denying the list of talent guests on the album is again impressive. Kiske, Turner, Byford, Atkins, Catley,... the list goes on. These musicians are some of my favorites (however I miss Lande) and I'm so glad to have them all participate in Tobias latest creation.

The album contains 10 songs, some slower (two ballads), some mid tempos (like Black Orchid, Spectres & The Great Mystery), and some refreshingly faster tunes (The Watchmakers Dream, Savior in the Clockwork, Where Clock Hands Freeze, Invoke the Machine & Dweller In A Dream) even though it doesn't try to be speed metal at any point. But Mystery of Time succeeds in being moody, with a great atmosphere and a main theme lyrically and musically, that makes it sound much more like an Opera than anything since the first two Metal Opera albums. The album is easy to listen to as well, thanks to the great melodies, some bombastic moments and the incredible vocals talents and musicianship of everyone involved. My favorite songs are the epics like Savior In the Clockwork (10 minutes), the fast and furious Invoke The Machine, The Great Mystery (also 10 min.) but also The Watchmakers Dream and Black Orchid. Of the two ballads, Sleepwalking is my favorite of the two. I even got glimpses of old school Avantasia here and there, with passages reminding me of songs like Reaching For the Light (Where Clock Hand Freezes is a perfect example) or Avantasia.

Musically it's more Power Metal than Hard Rock in my opinion and the orchestra really adds a layer to make the sound more grandiose than in most Avantasia albums to date. It doesn't beat up the original two albums, no way, but it approaches them in my opinion. The guitars are good if somewhat simple sometimes, but what makes this album a hole in one is the vocals throughout ! Everyone of the guests are on top form but it's Tobias that steals the show. He is definitely the best singer for me today, his range, his technique and his vocal abilities have kept evolving with every single album since Vain Glory Opera, and he doesn't seem like he reached a plateau just yet. All I can say is even though it's not as fast as old Edguy or Avantasia stuff, it's so much more fleshed out than the last three Edguy albums as well as the last two Avantasia ones. And I'd rather Tobias makes more of this than more of Edguy if you ask me. Unless some sort of reversal is done there too (style wise)... but somehow I have abandoned this idea (or dream) some time ago :).

In the end if you like good music, played by a true array of extremely talented people, then you should love Avantasia, it's as simple as that. Thumbs up !

Killing Songs :
The Watchmakers Dream, Black Orchid, Savior in the Clockwork, Invoke the Machine, Dweller In A Dream & The Great Mystery
Chris quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Avantasia that we have reviewed:
Avantasia - Moonglow reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Avantasia - Ghostlights reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Avantasia - Angel of Babylon reviewed by Kyle and quoted 82 / 100
Avantasia - The Wicked Symphony reviewed by Kyle and quoted 80 / 100
Avantasia - The Scarecrow reviewed by Chris and quoted 96 / 100
To see all 11 reviews click here
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