The Wicked Symphony

2010, Nuclear Blast
Heavy Metal

Avalon e Fantasia: il ritorno del folletto di Fulda nel regno di Avantasia
Review by Gaetano Loffredo - Publish on: 06/04/10

It’s proved and indisputable that Avantasia has become a much more interesting project, yet much more commercial, than Tobias Sammet’s main band Edguy. “The Scarecrow” represented the album of the stylistic change and the bone of contention: it was a nonlinear work, linked between past and future by a line that was clear enough only when there was a change of rhythm or a well-known voice, trying to overwhelm the lavish orchestration, less overshadowing nowadays.
Besides, trying to convince the audience, used to metal songs such as “Reach Out For The Light” or “The Seven Angels”, with some “Lost In Space” cheap modernism, it couldn’t but raise doubts. However Sammet believed – or rather hoped – in people’s understanding, after an accurate work of internationalization of his works, which are not convincing us completely: if you are able to produce excellent power metal, it doesn’t mean that you’re able to create something good with metal mixed with hard rock (referring to “Tinnitus Sanctus”).

Let’s put aside for a while the fairly good “The Scarecrow” and the old ecstasy, and let’s accept Toby’s artistic widening willingly. Regardless of the path he’s taken, let’s see if “The Wicked Symphony” and “Angel Of Babylon” (read our review) are good enough to be considered as “top quality” works. With this review, we’re going to examine the first of the two Avantasia chapter, which are sold separately, because they had separate productions, even though they are complementary. Nevertheless, you can buy a rather expensive limited edition with both albums and a book with unpublished pictures of 2008 Tour, liner notes, interviews and so on, enough to please the greedy collectors.


Tobias Sammet never renounces to dreamy atmospheres which set the tone to his works: so there’s a great beginning with the umpteenth mid tempo suite, which is also the title-track and it lasts about ten minutes. The king of madmen calls at his side two awesome singers, such as Russel Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Masterplan), letting them duel in the temple of symphony, just before the explosion of the refrain, which is definitely typical of Avantasia. The second song, “Wastelands”, is really predictable, both in the style and in its position in the tracklist. It’s a classic power metal song, with melodic parts and a perfectly suitable voice: Michael Kiske’s one (former member of Helloween). Surprinsingly, as a result of a bigger inclination to metal, “Scales Of Justice” upsets my expectations, and the bright atmosphere as well, showing a hard.fighting Tim “Ripper” Owens, for a hot-tempered and inspired song, without being too innovative, though.
The next song is a single, featuring Klaus Meine (Scorpions), which is absolutely a radio-friendly mid-tempo, appreciable for an easy refrain and catchy duet, even though I would have given to Klaus a stronger and less catchy song.
Andre Matos (former member of Angra) is really confident on the fantastic “Blizzard On A Broken Mirror”, as though it has been expressly written for his voice, as well as the power ballad “Runaway Train”, beautifully interpreted by Jorn Lande, together with Sammet and Bob Catley (mind Kiske’s introduction). Everything seems to work perfectly, “Crestfallen” enlarges more the horizon: it’s an atypical song, obscure and unpredictable, shortly followed by a much more traditional song, “Forever Is A Long Time”, with a less inspired refrain, but completely involving.
Then we’re back to melodic metal with “Black Wings”, a modern song, and with “States Of Matter”, definitely faster with a refrain to sing endlessly. “The Edge” is closing the album, which somehow recalls “Lost In Space”.

“The Wicked Symphony” is another album by Tobias Sammet with a valuable quality, a great episode that can’t and mustn’t be considered as a miracle. It’s intriguing and mighty, but the man from Fulda has lost the magic which was protecting him in the first chapters. Now you shall listen to it as it is, straightforward as every metal album, with a few adornment and a hint of modernism that will make it contemporary. Avantasia was born as the acronym of Avalon and Fantasia, two words that can be found in the lyrics, but not so much in the music. We can’t but dip into the new world, leaving behind the hopes of getting back to the past and let us cherish in a bright present, after all.

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