AVANTASIA – The Scarecrow

AVANTASIA - The Scarecrow
  • 8.5/10
    AVANTASIA - The Scarecrow - 8.5/10


Nuclear Blast
Release date: February 5, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

When Edguy go on a hiatus, the band’s front man and one of the most productive and splendid songwriters in the Metal scene nowadays, Tobias Sammet, devotes time to his other project; Avantasia. This is the third such album, and the second Avantasia concept album (the first two were one story). Titled The Scarecrow – not The Stormcrow, more on that later – Sammet has put together yet another big, bombastic, and stellar album featuring an impressive lineup of guest musicians.

For a more in-depth look at what The Scarecrow story and concept is all about, look elsewhere. Nuclear Blast’s promotion, or lack of such, is to blame for that, so here you will only find the music reviewed. The label can blame the Internet and filesharers for their ways of promotion, but most people know that the record industry suffers from their lack of ability to build up artists and their careers. (When the record industry started to focus on collections with hit singles and one hit wonders instead of helping serious bands build a lasting impact on the audience –- that’s when it started going downhill and people stopped buying albums. But that’s a whole other discussion.)

As mentioned, The Scarecrow offers a fine lineup of guests. Roy Khan (Conception, Kamelot) puts his unique voice on the opener “Twisted Mind” in a duet with Sammet. The song itself redefines the word “catchy,” with its big chorus and in-your-face melody. Behind the Scare-kit is none other than Eric Singer, so there’s no need to question the groove on this album. This song is simply one of the best Melodic Metal songs you will hear this year.

The big and epic (oh, what a silly word) title track is next, with its 11 minutes of sheer splendor. Here, another one of Rock’s finest singers enters the picture; Jorn “Stormcrow” Lande. Not Scarecrow, but Stormcrow, because Lande has built himself a small Stormcrow-concept around his band, Jorn. Sorry Toby, but that was the second reason why this album had to be named The Scarecrow – the word “Stormcrow” was taken. The first reason is, of course, that it’s questionable to name an album with German origin “Storm-something.” But, it would at least have given the kids a much-needed reminder about who lost the war and so on, as this part of history, sources say, is not given emphasis in the German school system these days … But, all silly WWII jokes and critique of German politicians aside, the song “The Scarecrow” is nevertheless nothing but a musical masterpiece.

Next up is a more traditional German Speed Metal song that could have been lifted from an Edguy album as well. What is surprising here is that none other than Michael “I will never sing Heavy Metal again” Kiske is the featured singer. The song is great for what it is, and Kiske will now be named Michael “but I sing German Speed Metal when I am broke” Kiske. Michi is still to be considered the father of German Speed Metal vocals, whether he likes it or not. This time around, he doesn’t even hide behind a pseudonym, like on the first Avantasia albums.

Without going into every small detail on this brilliant album, another very honorable mention goes to Jorn Lande (again) for his beast-like vocal input on “Another Angel Down” – another track that could have found its way to an Edguy CD, and the almighty Alice Cooper’s very fitting interpretation of “The Toy Master,” which sounds like it was written for The Coop. Producer Sascha Paeth’s role in making Avantasia what it is, must also be honored a dozen times or two.

For fans of Melodic Metal, who don’t mind epic (that silly word again) arrangements, lots of diversity and experimentation outside what is considered typical “Metal,” and who don’t shit their pants when a few songs hit the far left lane on Germany’s Autobahn, The Sacrecrow is well-invested money (probably a better investment than most stock markets these days). What keeps the album from getting a full score – because what is good here is so brilliant that a bull’s eye is within reach – are the sub-par ballads not even worth spilling bandwidth on. Besides, a big plus for Sammet’s more controlled vibrato use this time around …


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