Avantasia - Ghostlights
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal, Symphonic Rock
12 songs (1:10:03)
Release year: 2016
Tobias Sammet's site, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

For a project that began as a self-dubbed 'Metal Opera', Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet has taken Avantasia quite far from both. We're at the point where hankering for more metal opera albums seems to be ignoring the fact that he's moved on, releasing five albums now that are very distinct from the metal opera past - and have been well-received despite that. Yet Ghostlights is probably about as close as you'll get to a Metal Opera part III for the moment, allowing plenty of power metal influence to seep through and mix with the usual symphonic and 80s rock to great effect. His usual large group of guest vocalists are present and correct, and Ghostlights is a solid and excellently-written album that will please fans of Avantasia post-The Scarecrow. It's got more oomph than those who have heard past singles from the group would expect, and although quite singular for all that – opening track and first single Mystery of a Blood Red Rose is more reminiscent of Meatloaf than anything, for example – still quite capable of surprising you.

The second track here, the twelve minute Let the Storm Descend Upon You, is a great example, a lengthy build up in proper 80s rock style with grandiose power metal groove, with added vocals from Warrant's Robert Mason and Pretty Maids' Ronnie Atkins, not to mention usual contributions from Jørn Lande. There's some excellent guitar soloing from band member Sasha Paeth (ex-Heavens Gate, Luca Turilli) and guest widdler Oliver Hartmann (ex-At Vance, amongst many others!) and that the song manages to be catchy and keep your attention well the whole way through just shows what a terrific songwriter Sammet has grown into. Although it's not my usual ear candy, the likes of piano-backed yet quite heavy ballad The Haunting is excellent, Dee Snyder popping up to provide guest vocals and making for a group-sung chorus that's hugely infectious.

Picking out dud songs is actually quite difficult, as there's enough variety and experimentation to keep you enthralled. Geoff Tate takes the lead for the vaguely Middle-Eastern-tinged Seduction of Decay and is a terrific reminder of what a good singer the guy is (although at over seven minutes the song threatens to drag a little) while Draconian Love goes full goth with Sinbreed's Herbie Langhans making it sound like one of Paradise Lost's poppier outings. Elsewhere, the title track is a solid power metal cruncher with Michael Kiske giving it a classic Helloween feel, contrasting nicely with the Nightwish-esque Master of the Pendulum which is nicely heavy thanks to Marco Hietala. We're not even at the best tracks on the album! Sharon del Adel helps make ballad Isle of Evermore a potential Eurovision winner, and Babylon Vampyres immediately returns to metal, sounding very like classic Edguy with some more excellent guitar work, this time from Bruce Kulick. Although Lucifer, beginning as a ballad but soon throwing in the guitar widdling par excellence, is a bit too short to be a really terrific song, the following Unchain the Light and closer A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies soon makes up for it with singalong power metal epics. They're great ends to a great album, one I chose for review on a whim but quickly grew to love. Sammet has outdone himself.

Killing Songs :
Mystery of a Blood Red Rose, Let the Storm Descend Upon You, Ghostlights, Draconian Love, Master of the Pendulum, Babylon Vampyres, Unchain the Light
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Avantasia that we have reviewed:
Avantasia - Moonglow reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Avantasia - The Mystery of Time reviewed by Chris and quoted 88 / 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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