Friday, February 22, 2013

Avantasia - the Metal Opera pt II (2002)

The story of Gabriel Laymann, the Druid Vandruiy and all the others continues in "part two".
The cast is also much the same, except this one also involves Bob Catley of Magnum as the "voice of the tree".

This one has a much more amusing cover - as it features the cast. Although I do rather wish that they had chosen to base the characters off their vocalists, because seeing Michael Kiske as the bearded, helmetted druid would have been hilarious. Maybe I shall have to do that myself. The figure at the back - Gabriel - could look a little like Tobias - from behind. The dwarf could be Kai I suppose. The others are all pointy-eared and therefore probably not part of the main cast (although I'm guessing the fellow at the front is Elderane).

Here's a picture someone did of Vandroiy.

"Seven Angels" opens with the haunting choirs of the Believers (not the band). The three "bad guys" are disbelieving of their failure, whilst the hero - Gabriel Laymann, is whisked away to the beautiful city of Sesidhbana. This song is epic, as we have come to know and love with Avantasia - some slow and mellow bits, monumental builds, great guitaring and sophisticated drumming.
And very long (fourteen minutes).
But you hardly notice, cos it changes styling and vocalist so many times you start wondering if its changed tracks and you've not noticed.

In "No Return" Vandroiy and Gabriel sing in harmony again, celebrating the beauty of the city in which Gabriel now finds himself. To add to the awesome male vocals, we have Matos adding his touch as well. Three of my favourite vocalists in one song... oooh, it's enough to give me chills! Anyhow, Gabriel decides he wishes to laern more about this spiritual world in which he has found himself.

Elderane is prepared to help and sends Gabriel to find the Tree of Knowledge. So, in "The Looking Glass" Gabriel makes the journey to the tree that speaks with Bob Catley's voice, and gets somewhat more confused, because the tree is rather cryptic... (and has somewhat broken grammar too)
"As long as you long for the whole, you can't get a part of at all
How proud would the buildings of Rome look without all single stones"
This is a faster paced, catchy song - rather reminscent of Edguy, actually.

Piano leads us "In Quest For". Here the Tree of Knowledge sings. He still has broken grammar "you're accused for heresy"? Hehe, you're singing a duet with a tree, Gabriel. Anyhow, he looks into the tumultuous waters of a lake and sees someone that resembles his aged mentor, Jakob. no wait, it is Jakob - but as a young man. It's a nicely mellow piece, and a good bit of a calm before the storm that is "The Final Sacrifice", in which we learn more about Jakob's past.Having heard this song an hour ago on the other album, I don't feel I need to say much mroe about it here.

Meanwhile, a bishop, a monk and a priest are lost in "Neverland".

Contains such awesome lines as:
"I know less than all but more than many who know less..."
It sounds a little like Gabriel is taunting them...

More piano leads us into the gentle "Anywhere" in which Gabriel finds himself thinking about Anna again, and also about how he wishes to free the part of Jakob's soul that was caught in the lake.Sammet is pretty good with the ballads, his voice isn't quite as sweet and pure as Kiske's, but it is definitely powerful and emotive. He doesn't share this song with anyone.

Taking his new goals to Elderane, he learns how to free Jakob's soul from being rtapped under Rome - where it is kept captive in "The Chalice of Agony" and guarded by a fearsome beast. Gabriel and Regrin set about this mission using the seals to open the gate. They release the souls and usher them in to Avantasia. The beast comes awake and ravages at them, Gabriel escapes but Regrin perishes.
(Poor Kai - why is it always the dwarf that is considered less important to the plot?).
As far as songs go, it's pretty catchy - nicely melodic and fast paced.

At this point, Gabriel is sent back to the real world. He's been away a while - I hope Vandroiy has been watching his body well. In "Memory", Vandroiy convinces Gabriel to head to safety, whilst he will rescue Anna. He hires some men and goes there to find that Jakob (soul restored) is waiting there to help him. Together they rescue Anna, but in the process Vandroiy is killed.
(And now Kiske - why are you killing your metal idols? Or their characters, anyway).
It's heavy and fast, and kinda dramatic in parts.

And Anna mourns Vandroiy in the next song - "Into the Unknown". She finally gets to sing again!
Now we get a lovely duet/ballad between Gabriel and Anna and a melodious conclusion to a magnificiant project and an epic album.

Brilliantly conceived and well organised. Sure, the plot is a bit crazy, but it's many steps better than Skylark's confusing concept album, and so masterfully cast that who cares if its a little bit cheesy.

I'm gonna give this 10/10 too, and then maybe listen to the first track again.

I think I feel some fanart coming on...

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