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Avantasia (Advance Single)
January 2001
Released: 2001, AFM Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos doesn’t often review singles, but with all the buzz about this one – and the fact that it arrived just in the nick of time to be considered for January’s slate of reviews – I figured I’d give this a shot.

Perhaps this review – or this reviewer – suffers from a fatal defect: if Tobias Sammet ate 50 pounds of Taco Bell and recorded an album of him farting for 78 minutes, I’d still have to give it at least a 3.5. If that bias makes this review useless to you, I apologize in advance. However, the people most likely to get the most out of power metal like this are like-minded folks who revere Edguy’s irrepressible frontman as the god he is, and that’s who this review was written for. If you enjoyed the last Edguy album, or if you like any of the other bands whose members spangle the Avantasia project (Helloween, Gamma Ray, Virgin Steele, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, At Vance, Angra, etc.), you will love this single, and most likely the full album when it finally comes out!

Avantasia is described as a “metal opera,” and its Sammet’s brainchild, but he has a lot of help. This single contains four tracks, two versions of the opera’s title track, plus a B-side, and a bonus non-album track by the same musicians. This single accomplishes its intent by whetting one’s appetite for the completed album. I had high hopes for it, and I have to say, the short version of the title track “Avantasia,” while living up to my expectations, did not exactly blow me out of the water. It’s keen, melodic power metal of the most candy-coated kind, but Sammet and guitarist Henjo Richter do their thing quite well. However, this disc finally takes off at track 2. “Reach Out For The Light” is fast, heavy, and almost uncanny in its ability to trigger power metalheads’ sing-along-with-your-fist-in-the-air reflex in about five seconds flat. Far and away the best track on the single, this is already a candidate for the best track on Avantasia as a whole – it’s that good! It could have been lifted bodily from Edguy’s Theater of Salvation, and possesses just as much technical prowess combined with melodic crunch as anything off that tremendous effort.

Track 3, “The Final Sacrifice,” is a bonus album track which I understand will not appear on the Avantasia album. It’s a bit slower-paced, but still excellent power metal. The fourth track is the album version of “Avantasia,” a minute and a half longer than the first track. For some reason this version sounded more fleshed-out and punchy. Tobias’s awesome windpipes never falter for a second anywhere on this disc, and they do nothing to shake my opinion that, if his career continues for the next decade or so, this young German wailer may well earn a place in metal history next to the real giants of vocal talent. Avantasia, upon its release for which I’m counting the hours, will no doubt be a major brick to build up his pedestal.

Should you buy the complete Avantasia, sound unheard, on the strength of this single? Yes! I can’t imagine you’d go wrong.

Next review: » Avantasia - The Metal Opera
Previous review: » Avalon - Avalon II

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