Review: AVANTASIA - The Scarecrow (2008)

Country: Germany
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Release Year: 2008
Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD, LP
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Side bands are -in my opinion- in the majority, unnecessary projects that manage to release 1 or 2 albums and fade away with time, living no significant legacy behind. This is not the case here; this is the exact opposite in fact. Avantasia is a project by Tobias Sammet and it is considered by many as a better and more successful group than his original band Edguy. He is the only steady member of the group and he composes all the songs, records everything (except the drums) and he gathers many artists as guest participants.

‘The Scarecrow’ is the successor of his previous 2 masterpieces ‘The Metal Operas’. Sammet had the impossible task of writing something that would be as good as the first 2 albums or at least something that would not disappoint the fans and that was very hard since he set up the bar very high.  The first track ‘Twisted Minds’ is enough to make you forget all this. The whole album is yet again another very solid release by Avantasia and even though it does not reach the previous releases, it still is a great album to listen to. In this album Sammet ‘slows down’ the speed with more heavy-hard rock influences and approaches, with help from Roy Khan, Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Amanda Sommerville, Oliver Hartmann and Alice Cooper in vocals and Henjo Richter, Kai Hansen and Rudolf Schenker helping with guitar parts in certain songs.

It is one of the few albums that I cannot really decide which song is my favourite. Each one is unique and gets stuck inside your head very easily. If I had to choose, I guess I would have to say ‘The Scarecrow’. Jorn Lande’s voice blends beautifully together with Sammet’s creating a magic melody. I should however mention that this is a concept album concerning an isolated creature, striving to find his emotions and inner peace. The story continues in the following two albums ‘The Angel of Babylon’ and ‘The Wicked Symphony’.

It is really a shame that Avantasia don’t get to do many live shows due to many difficulties concerning the big number of different performers needed but as long as they release great albums, we don’t mind!

Alexandros ‘Noullis’ Vacanas
April 2012