Album Reviews : Avantasia – The Scarecrow
It’s been a long time since Tobias Sammet’s last “Avantasia” release, and partnered with the fact this new one doesn’t feature the “Metal Opera” title, it’s obvious that this album is going to differ from the first two. That may be an understatement.
While the “Metal Opera” releases may have been solid power metal albums, that’s all they were. Sammet’s new one however features a lot more variety, in both song writing and choice of guest vocalists. The album still features a few songs that could have been taken straight from earlier “Avantasia” releases; that large power metal sound has thankfully not been lost entirely, it has been mixed in with various other music styles to create a much more dynamic album than usually expected from Sammet.
Title track “The Scarecrow” is an epic journey (just over 11 minutes to be more precise) of the various musical directions featured in the album. If you want an accurate indication of what the album sounds like, that song is it. Sammet has done a brilliant job of capturing the essence of the album into this monster of a song. I definitely hope that there is a similar epic on the next Avantasia release (assuming there will be another one) as Sammet’s writing definitely shines here.
One of the definite highlights of the album is Alice Coopers menacing vocals in “The Toy Master”, easily the darkest track of the album. Cooper’s evil vocals fit really well into the album, offering some variety from the usual cleaner vocals. The track “Shelter from the Rain” will be a popular track amongst power metal fans as it features some fantastic vocals from Michael Kiske and a sound very reminiscent of older Avantasia. The album also features a few songs with a much rockier feel to them, including the title track from Sammet’s recent two EP’s, “Lost in Space”.
The ballads are the low point of the album. “What Kind of Love” and “Cry Just a Little” are both very average ballads. I love a good ballad however I find these tracks don’t convey much emotion, so all that’s left are some slow and generally weak tracks that really don’t match up to the rest of the album. I find it rare that I don’t skip these two songs when listening to the album.
Other than that, this is an amazing album that surpasses anything Sammet has done in the past. It’s a brilliant mix of musical styles that, with the exception of the ballads, all work very well together. Don’t make the mistake of listening to this album expecting a big, epic, power metal album because other than a few songs, you will be disappointed. Have an open mind and you are sure to find at least a few gems throughout the album. My fingers are crossed that Sammet includes the same amount of variety on his future efforts. 7/10
Album: The Scarecrow
Genre: Power Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
1. Twisted Mind
2. The Scarecrow
3. Shelter from the Rain
4. Carry Me Over
5. What Kind of Live
6. Another Angel Down
7. The Toy Master <– reviewers choice
8. Devil in the Belfry
9. Cry Just a Little
10. I Don’t Believe in Your Love
11. Lost in Space