The Metal Opera
Released: 2002, AFM Records
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
THE METAL OPERA Pt. II is the long-awaited second installment of Tobias Sammet’s (Edguy) brilliant undertaking. Tobias Sammet envisioned a metal concept album so grandiose and epic that it could not be accomplished by any one band. Instead, Mr. Sammet has brought the musical and vocal talents from over ten power metal bands, including some of the leaders of the genre (including such artists as Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, David Defeis, Andre Matos, Markus Grosskopf, Timo Tolkki, and Henjo Richter). If that line-up does not interest you, then you likely have no interest in power metal whatsoever, and have not even purchased THE METAL OPERA Pt. I either.
Speaking of Part I, listeners can expect the same level of quality production and musicianship exhibited on the first Avantasia masterpiece. Little has changed in Avantasia’s sound, but I find that the songs on Pt. II are not as fast or as heavy as on Pt. I, tending to be on the more epic and melodic side. This is more of a personal preference, however, as the songwriting is nearly flawless.
“The Seven Angels” opens the album and pretty much rules the entire disc. This 14+ minute is the epitome of power metal, featuring everything that makes this particular genre great, fast, melodic guitar work, epic, multi-part choirs, bombastic atmosphere, and a whole lot more. This is without a doubt the finest track on the entire album.
“No Return” lets the listener know that Avantasia truly is Tobias Sammet’s band; the fast, clean Edguy sound drives this track. Sammet, Kiske, and Matos team up on this one for a great vocal delivery. My personal favourite on the disc comes at track five, “The Final Sacrifice.” Although this track appeared as a single from the first album, I am glad that it is included here because it rules. Fast, heavy, and melodic, plus the unique and powerful voice of Virgin Steele’s David Defeis carrying the second half of the vocal duties, this song is perfect. “Neverland” wins the award for best chorus on the album and is another standout. I must admit, however, that I find track three, “The Looking Glass,” to be a very weak track by itself, but it serves its purpose, bridging the blazing “No Return,” with the album’s first of two ballads, “In Quest For.”
My highest praise for THE METAL OPERA Pt II is the cohesiveness of the project. Every song here has its place, and the album must be assessed as a whole to appreciate its greatness. In fact, shortly after I received this album, I dug out THE METAL OPERA Pt. I and listened them back-to-back for the ultimate experience. Be sure to give this a try when you pick up this album.
My major complaint about the album is that David Defeis appears on only two tracks of the album, “The Seven Angels,” and “The Final Sacrifice.” Is it a coincidence that these two tracks are also my favourites on the album? I also feel that the album could have scrapped a ballad or slower song in favor of another fast song, but that is just a matter of personal taste.
When members of Edguy, Virgin Steele, Gamma Ray, Rhapsody, and a slew of other power metallers team up for the magnum opus of power metal, you can’t go wrong. Avantasia proves this theory for the second time with their latest album. If you’re looking for the power metal album of the year, then look no farther than THE METAL OPERA Pt. II.