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Release Date: January 29, 2016
Creative mastermind and musical genius Tobias Sammet, who initially gained fame as the vocalist and primary songwriter for Edguy, has graced the world with yet another installment from his current band Avantasia, which is not so much a band as it is an ongoing project where Tobias brings together some of the metal industry’s top performers and enlists their aid in bringing his visions to breathtaking life. With Ghostlights, the 7th studio release under the aforementioned moniker, Sammet may have just outdone himself. There is so much going on in this album and so much varied talent on display that the end result is something truly remarkable, destined to be remembered as one of his greatest works, perhaps even one of the greatest melodic metal albums of all time. Hyperbole you say? I say nay!
Just take a listen to the very first track “Mystery of a Blood Red Rose”, a high energy rocker reminiscent of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell days. Sammet, who supplies primary vocals as well as bass duties, is firing on all cylinders here. The melody, the passion, the infectious vibe of the track fires you up and leaves you wanting more. And there’s more… so much more. The second track “Let The Storm Descend Upon You” is a 12 minute opus which features Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Robert Mason (Warrant, Lynch Mob) and the incomparable Jørn Lande assisting with the vocals. Sammet himself is an exceptional vocalist, so there’s a lot to enjoy here.
Next in line is my personal favorite on the album “The Haunting” which features none other than the legendary Dee Snider, of Twisted Sister fame. This track slows things down a big and adds some moody weight to the proceedings. It’ll give you chills. “Seduction of Decay” brings us another treat with yet another living legend Geoff Tate joining the endeavor. And, say what you want about his work in recent years, he actually sounds *good* on this track. It appears Sammet’s songwriting skills can elicit the very best in everyone he brings on board, and it feels as if the song was written with Tate in mind as many moments within brings to mind some of Queensryche’s former greatness.
The star-studded rock opera glamor continues throughout the remainder of the album with such greats as Michael Kiske (Helloween), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), as well as some relatively lesser known vocalists including Herbie Langhans (Sinbreed), and Bob Catley (Magnum) all of whom perform spectacularly, each bringing a unique element to the songs they appear on. Langhans’s track “Draconian Love” is another one of the exceptionally remarkable songs on an album rife with greatness
On top of all of those amazing vocals, Ghostlights also includes the talents of a number of exceptional guitarists including Sascha Paeth, Oliver Hartmann, and Bruce Kulick. Ghostlights is an exhibition of modern melodic metal’s premiere talent, a showcase of amazing vocalists, superb guitarists, and brilliant songwriting courtesy of one of the genre’s greatest minds. Tobias Sammet…. we are not worthy.
Reviewed by: Farron 1340