Monday, January 5, 2009

Avantasia - Lost in Space

As I reflect over 2009, I think about what was the most important music of the year to share with others.

There is probably far more music created every year than anyone will ever manage listen too. Most good music discovered by myself is already a minimum of two years old. Other times I’m a little luckier.

Apparently Germany is where it is at.

The proud nation that gave us some of the greatest classical composures of all time, such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Orf, and also gave us some of the most badass rock groups of all time, The Scorpions, Rammstein, and UFO.

My little exploration into European symphonic metal began back in April. I reviewed Nightwish – Deep Silent Complete, for those of you who don’t remember, it was a metal opera group out of Finland. My good friend Rick as a surprise rather enjoyed the song and the band as a whole when he began to look into them further. This really touched my heart, since it is exactly what I wanted to accomplish in the first place, but more so because Rick mostly just reads the music in review because he liked the analytical way I ranted about things that pissed me off. Anyway having never seen eye to eye musically it sure was nice to break ground with Rick, who told me his favourite genres of music just so happened to be metal and opera.

Well that got me looking for more, because who can’t help but love metal and opera combined?

I Google searched “metal opera” only to find there is already a rock opera in existence titled “The Metal Opera.”

Upon further investigation I learn about Tobias Sammet, German rock god. Tobias leads the German rock group Edguy, which may be a stupid name for a rock group, but don’t let that distract you from the fact they are very good. But Tobias Sammet being a rock god and all found it hard being settled to writing just good rock music, he wanted to do more, he wanted to tell stories on a grand scale through the cryptic art of rock operas. Not wanting to alienate the rest of Edguy by forcing the group into a direction they may or may not have wanted to go, he started a side project titled “Avantasia.” Avantasia is a combination of Avalon, and Fantasy. For those who don’t know Avalon is the mystical island the sea nymphs take King Arthur after his final battle against the forces of Mordred. Legend has always been that time does not pass on Avalon and when Britain needs him most Arthur will return. Just some interesting trivia, just in case you wanted to know.

Anyway back in 2000 Avantasia released “The Metal Opera,” which rocked. But we were lucky enough in 2008 to be treated to Avantasia’s second masterpiece “The Scarecrow.”

Tobias did something interesting when releasing “The Scarecrow.” He started work way back in early 2007, and while some songs were already seeing the final publish, he couldn’t wait for the album’s release to come to share it with the world. So he released two LP “Lost in Space” Part 1 and 2. Some of the tracks on those two LPs were amazing, and interestingly enough other then the track “Lost in Space,” only one other song off the LPs made it to the album “The Scarecrow.” It takes a special kind of musician to make so much good music he can’t fit it all on his albums.

So this month everyone rock out to Avantasia - “Lost in Space.” As near as I know “The Scarecrow,” was the best album of 2008. If you enjoy “Lost in Space,” half as much as I do, I highly recommend also by Avantasia; “The Story Ain’t Over,” and “Promised Land.” But honestly anything by Avantasia is freaking awesome. All three songs are linked on my facebook page.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Also, the extended version featuring Helloween's Micheal Kiske:

Also, the "epic" version, also known as "Alive at Gatestudio":