“The scarlet rose has died, lost inside the night.
Left in my mind, like a dream all full of pride.
The scarlet rose has died.”
It feels like I am working backwards when it comes to discovering the German metal/rock scene. The single best thing that happened to music in the past ten years is Avantasia, The Scarecrow Trilogy was possible the three best albums I bought in the past ten years. I really, really like Avanatasia. Through Avantasia I learned about Edguy which came first.
Tobias Sammet is the genius song writer responsible for Avantasia. He brought many of the European metal stars together to form this super group and became a huge success everywhere but here, where I live.
I have at times compared Tobias Sammet to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At first thought, it may seem like I am proposing a zealous compliment to my main man Toby, or perhaps you might suspect I am drawing an unrealistic comparison based on weak links, like both are German, but no, I am quite sincere in this comparison.
Mozart lived fast and died young. He was a prodigy at writing music and in roughly twenty years managed to write a massive amount of music. While Mozart had skill as a technical musician, most notably as a pianist, his greatest skill was that he was a natural song writer.
Tobias Sammet decided at an early age that he wanted to be a singer and he formed his rock band Edguy. After about twenty years Sammet has written ALOT of music, and while he is talented singer and capable guitarist and bass player his true skill is that of a song writer.
Mozart wrote his first his opera “Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots” (The Obligation of the First and Foremost Commandment) at age eleven; Sammet started Edguy at age fifteen and released their first demo “Evil Minded” two years later.
After roughly two decades Mozart had written twenty-three operas, and a huge catalogue of concertos, symphonies, and sonatas that in my ignorance I am not even sure how to quantify; Sammet after roughly two decades has released nine studio albums with Edguy, five studio albums with Avanatasia, and so many demo tracks and singles that he could easily release two more full albums of Edguy material and at least one more for Avantasia. In fact the album “Avantasia Lost in Space 1 & 2” is exactly what I am describing.
Obviously comparing anyone to Mozart sounds like blasphemy, but you can probably see my point. Both men have a knack for written great music at insane speeds, and Sammet in this regard could be considered a modern rock and roll version of Mozart.
Edguy really found their footing in 1998 with their release of their second album “Vain Glory Opera.” Sammet would have been twenty one at the time.
“Vain Glory Opera,” is a great album. It was a bold move by a young man in a young band to release a operatic endeavour so early on in his career, but it worked, and if I had known about it back in 1998 I would have been able to see the seeds of style and ability that could grow into works of art like the “Scarecrow Trilogy.” Compared to the other eight albums, or at least compared to the other four albums I own, by Edguy, “Vain Glory Opera” is what it calls itself, an opera. The songs flow from one to another organically, there is a feeling of an overarching narrative, the ebbs and flows of the songs carry us through climaxes and powerful moments and all in all it feels like a one solid piece of music, not just a collection of songs. No other Edguy album has that, but all five Avantasia albums do. Since I am working backwards discovering bands like Edguy it makes sense that “Vain Glory Opera,” would be the first Edguy album I would fall in love with, it is the most like an Avantasia album.
While I do love the entire album “Vain Glory Opera” if I was pressed to pick a favourite track it would have to be “Scarlet Rose,” an operatic song as a rock song can be. “Scarlet Rose” is an emotional song about love and loss with a touch of mysticism in to make it all the more dramatic. The way Tobias sings “Scarlet Rose” and knowing his love of fantastic themed story telling it feels to me that the scarlet rose dying is not just a lost love one but a loss of a great symbol of love. Almost like love itself has passed away. It is a softer metal song to be sure but a very poetic and powerful one.
Until later this month, keep on rocking in the free world.
- Colin Kelly