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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Avantasia

Lost in Space, Vols. 1 & 2

Review by Gary Hill

Avantasia is a side project of Edguy’s Tobais Sammel. He’s joined here by Sascha Paeth and Eric Singer. Micheal Rodenberg and Henjo Richter guest on keys and guitar. Additional vocals are provided by Amanda Somerville, Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley and Eric Singer. This is epic metal and as such it can (and does at times) fall prey to a bit of a generic texture and to some excesses. The truth is, though, it’s got some great music. While I am not blown away by everything, it’s quite a strong disc that should appeal to a wide spectrum of music fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lost In Space
As piano leads this off and they bring it in with a keyboard oriented, fairly balladic sound, you might be hard pressed to believe this is a metal album. We get a more metallic sound for the vocals, but it’s still quite melodic, but once they launch out into the chorus this has a great power ballad sound. The whole cut might be a bit generic, but it’s also quite cool. There are actually a few proggy sections on this and the female vocals remind me a bit of Lana Lane. This is a good piece of music, but it’s actually the one of the weakest tracks on the album. That’s because the rest of this stuff is so strong.
Lay All Your Love On Me
The introduction on this makes it clear we’re about to head into some Euro-symphonic epic metal. As they launch out into the song proper it affirms it. While the opener was strong, this blows that one away. This is evocative and powerful and just plain awesome. Sure, it’s a bit cliched at times, but it’s also very good. The real punch line, though, is that this is a cover of an ABBA song.
Another Angel Down
A weird little keyboard section starts this, but from there they scream out into the most energized cut to this point. It’s also the strongest one we’ve heard so far. It’s got a powerhouse vocal arrangement and some killer epic metal music.
The Story Ain't Over
Here we have a power ballad. This thing is quite strong – even if the arrangement is a bit too lush at times. There’s almost a Meatloaf like texture to this at points. 
Return To Avantasia
This is just a short little symphonic interlude. 
Ride The Sky
This comes in with a Deep Purple meets Black Sabbath mode. It really has a killer retro texture. That said, it’s frantic to the point of thrashing. 
Promised Land
We’re back into more typical epic metal territory. This is still frantic and fiery, though. It’s another strong cut.
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
With a title like that you’d probably think this is a ballad. It’s much more of a rocker than that, but it has all the emotional power punch of a ballad. It’s another great epic metal track. 
Scary Eyes
This is a scorcher that reminds me a lot of Iron Maiden. It’s a fairly diverse cut with a cool little atmosphere over metal motif for the bridge. I like this one a lot and it might well have the most effective guitar soloing of the whole album. 
In My Defense
Although this ballad has some cool moments and is both one of the proggy and one of the most retro sounding numbers on show, it’s also a bit over the top and sappy. It just barely misses the mark, though as there are portions that are extremely strong. The classically oriented segment later is quite effective, though. 
Lost In Space (Alive at Gates Studio)
I’d say that this mellower version of the track works quite well. It’s more of a pure ballad, but there’s still a lot of drama and power in this. 
Lost In Space (Extended Version)
This bonus track is what it says it is, a longer version of the album’s opener. It’s still basically the same song, though – and frankly for one of the weakest cuts I can’t imagine having three versions of it on the disc. It’s sort of a lackluster way to end things.
 
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