AVANTASIA – A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society (2022) *HQ*

AVANTASIA - A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society (2022) - full

Darkness descends over the hall, the curtain rises… dear audience, welcome to the wondrous otherworld of AVANTASIA. With his ninth album, ”A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society”, Tobias Sammet invites you to join him on an enchanted journey into his own version of reality, which is full of fantastic events and encounters.
It is a captivating, deeply magical universe that Tobias Sammet has built over the past two decades. Since his debut The Metal Opera (2001), the Peter Pan of international rock and metal has romped between metal, classical and hard rock, beguiling the biggest festivals around the world with his traveling circus and working with the greatest voices in the metal world including Alice Cooper and Scorpions’ Klaus Meine.
On this new album we find, among others, the likes of Jorn, Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Floor Jansen, Geoff Tate, Bob Catley, and more.

Avantasia’s whole thing with Sammet at the helm is star-studded, rock opera showmanship that makes a circus tent look demure. Eight albums have swashbuckled through the weird and wonderful up to now and, almost impossibly, they keep getting bolder.
”A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society” should collapse under the weight of its own elaborate costuming as soon as it waltzes onto the stage; so how have Sammet and his army of guests and friends kept things fresh?

It’s certainly not a question of effort. From the opening whirlwind of “Welcome to the Shadows” – which does it’s best to be every song on Bat Out of Hell at once with an avalanche of big vocals and bigger guitars – to the no-holds-barred power balladry of the haunting Floors Jansen duet “Misplaced By The Angels,” it’s clear as day that Tobias and co. have put their all into this.
It swoops and soars above the crowd on gossamer wings and fishing line and makes a spectacle of itself in the best way. “The Inmost Light” is a slice of power metal cheese at its richest, while the title track allows Magnum legend Bob Catley to showcase his always impressive smooth tones.

The whole album had one mission statement, it seems, which was “give ‘em a show” circled in glittery pen a few times for emphasis.
There’s plenty of heavy hitters scattered among the campier efforts, too. Jorn hammers the pants off of the bombastic “I Tame The Storm” in his usual high-octane display of outrageous talents.
“The Wicked Rule the Night” sees Primal Fear icon Ralph Scheepers tear up the songbook and deliver a surprisingly devastating bit of bombard to offset the cloy that is starting to set in. It’s nothing so outrageous as to not be by the numbers Avantasia, but it certainly shakes things up a bit.

There’s a little wiggle room for some change here, though; “Rhyme and Reason” swaps the grandiosity of its precursors for a hit of pure adrenal gland battering to glorious effect. It gets shunted out of the way pretty quickly for the much showier “Scars”, a Geoff Tate-led ballad that’s twice as grand.

”A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society” is anything but a heavy dose of mostly-fun. The album sticks to a tightly observed checklist to a fault, but, despite some familiarity, it still throws its head back and belts out an evening’s worth of entertainment that is well worth the price of the ticket.
Highly Recommended


01 – Welcome To The Shadows
02 – The Wicked Rule The Night
03 – Kill The Pain Away
04 – The Inmost Light
05 – Misplaced Among The Angels
06 – I Tame The Storm
07 – Paper Plane
08 – The Moonflower Society
09 – Rhyme And Reason
10 – Scars
11 – Arabesque


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