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INHUMAN REMNANTS
Inattentional Blindness
JILL HUGHES KIRTLAND
Not Just Tits In A Corset: Celebrating Women In Metal
REVONTULET
Hear Me
TRIPTYKON
Melana Chasmata
GAMMA RAY
Empire Of The Undead
PACT
The Infernal Hierarchies, Penetrating The Threshold Of Night
I AM HERESY
Thy Will
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The Oath
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Worship Death
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Venomassacre



HARDWARES

AVANTASIA

Mystery Of Time

(Nuclear Blast)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 7.5

As ‘Spectres’ kicks off, with its grandiose, orchestral fanfare, I’m thinking, “NIGHTWISH, what have you wrought,” but there’s no bombastic follow-up. In the battle of the sometimes pompous and overblown compositions, count me firmly in the Finns camp, even though a big fan of Tobias Sammet’s original band/alter-ego EDGUY. As with the entirety of this band/solo effort’s output since the second part of Metal Opera, energy is an element in short supply, instead preferring a meandering, slow to mid-tempo progressive bent, complete with lots of keyboards, piano, synthesizers, etc. Given my affinity for the aforementioned female fronted platinum sellers, that’s not inherently a problem, if handled correctly. Backing Hammond organ gives an enlivened ‘The Watchmakers Dream’ something of a 70s classic rock vibe, filtered through Sammet’s power metal upbringing. One of the big draws with AVANTASIA, especially live, is the gaggle of guest stars the diminutive singer is able to assemble. This time is no exception, beginning with former RAINBOW vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, who’s on the first two songs. A traditional dose of galloping metal (complete with guitar solo, an otherwise almost forgotten instrument) turns up, in the form of ‘Where Clock Hands Freeze’, featuring the high-pitched Michael Kiske (UNISONIC/ex-HELLOWEEN), who appears on no less than three tunes, either alone, or in concert with other voices. ‘Sleepwalking’ is a short duet/ballad with female singer Cloudy Yang, who has previously recorded with Sammet, in both AVANTASIA and EDGUY, as well as KAMELOT and EPICA. At 10:20, the epic ‘Savior In The Clockwork’ utilizes not only the gentlemen above, but SAXON throat Biff Byford. However, the most aggressive slice of metal on the disc is reserved for PRETTY MAIDS’ Ronnie Atkins, who does a fine job on the last true rocker herein, ‘Invoke The Machine’. MR.BIG’s Eric Martin joins the Sammet for the commercialize piano/synth paean to The Beatles, ‘What’s Left Of Me’, while ‘Dweller In A Dream’ bounds on a lively keyboard rhythm. Another 10+ composition, ‘The Great Mystery’, wraps things up, in Broadway closing number fashion (with a nod to METALOAF), ultimately ending in a crescendo, almost all the contributing voices “onstage”. All in a days work for the modern king of the rock opera!



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