Album Review: Avantasia – Moonglow (Nuclear Blast)

Avantasia, the all-star rock opera spaceship piloted by EdGuy singer, songwriter and producer Tobias Sammet, release their eighth full-length album, ‘Moonglow’, via Nuclear Blast Records on February 15th 2019. Since its beginning in 1999, past Avantasia releases have featured such galactic heavyweights as Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions), Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer (Kiss), Eric Martin (Mr Big), Saxon’s Biff Byford, ex-Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider and many more.

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This new 11-song record sees Sammet, among the most talented and popular names in German hard rock and metal, reunited with some familiar faces from previous Avantasia albums. These include original Queensryche lead singer Geoff Tate, Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske of Helloween, Jørn Lande (ex-Masterplan), Eric Martin (Mr Big) and Magnum’s Bob Catley. ‘Moonglow’ also introduces new collaborators Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, Kreator’s Mille Petrozza and Blackmore’s Night frontwoman Candice Night in truly spectacular fashion.

Synonymous with epic operatic power metal/rock, each new Avantasia album brings with it a sense of excitement and anticipation that eventually reaches feverish levels as the release date nears. That’s is exactly the case with the new 11 track release, Moonglow.

Over an hour of wondrous and other-worldly epics, it might be the best Avantasia release so far as Ghost in the Moon ticks all the right boxes with huge sounding symphonies, glorious vocalisations and choruses to die for. As an opener, it delivers such feel good music that you’ll want to walk up to strangers in the street and give them a massive hug.

Book of Shallows has a bit more power tradition about it with a chunky guitar riff and a simple sounding beat that follows nicely into the chorus. The radio friendly track of the album thanks to the short length and bouncy groove.

The title track brings things back round to what makes Avantasia so special and that’s the marrying of rock and symphonic melody. Alongside Candice Night on vocals we get a really special sounding number that sounds tailor made for the soundtrack of a modern fantasy-movie. An impossibly catchy track that is short and sweet.

Keeping things lively by intersecting their lengthier epics like The Raven Child with shorter ones is a smart call. It helps keep the momentum going especially as the shorter ones tend have a fair more metal groove to proceedings.

Starlight has a hell of a lot of ‘pep’ to it and Invincible is a glorious sounding piano led ballad. Both these heavy-hitters are followed by probably the least interesting track on the entire album Alchemy. A low point of the record as it’s very by the numbers with nothing that hooks at all. The length of it does threaten to derail things but happily The Piper At the Gates of Dawn regains a foothold with its synthy elements and hyper chorus. The fast pace is met mid-point by an air-grabbing drop and build back to a frantic finish. This is Avantasia at their strongest.

Reaching the final few tracks of the album, you might start to wonder if things might be getting a bit boring but that’s far from the case. Lavender is fantastically upbeat and sends warm feelings throughout the body. Requiem for a Dream hits the highs for how an Avantasia epic should sound before a cover of Michael Sembello’s Maniac caps things off in unusual 80s synth style. Unusual but so much fun.

Almost an entire album of bangers, Moonglow is every bit as good as you could hope it to be. An epic listen.

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Avantasia – Moonglow Full Track Listing:

1. Ghost in the Moon
2. Book of Shallows
3. Moonglow
4. The Raven Child
5. Starlight
6. Invincible
7. Alchemy
8. The Piper At the Gates of Dawn
9. Lavender
10. Requiem for a Dream
11. Maniac (Michael Sembello Cover)

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The album will be available via all major streaming services upon release. Physical copies can be ordered via Nuclear Blast here.

Avantasia - Moonglow (Nuclear Blast)
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