Every time Tobias Sammet gets ready to unleash a new studio album with Avantasia, there is naturally a buzz in the metal community as it’s not that often nowadays to be treated with such prestigious releases that feature a parade of special guest stars. After all, this German kid has always come up with magnificent and well-crafted albums despite the fact that the last one (“Mystery of Time”) was a little bit weak. Nevertheless, the new record “Ghostlights” is here and we couldn’t wait to give it a spin (or two or three)…
Once again, the triple axe-attack by Kulick, Hartmann and Paeth handles the guitar work on the album while Sammet didn’t fail on inviting some of the best rock stars in the world like Geoff Tate, Dee Snider, Ronnie Atkins, Marco Hietala, Michael Kiske and more. The first strike was in December with the song “Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose” where Sammet displayed his Meat Loaf/Steinamn influence. As a matter of fact, this pompous/theatrical mood is constantly present throughout the duration of “Ghostlights” which is enriched by the familiar power/prog elements. Most definitely someone will notice a resemblance with Kamelot (“Seduction of Decay”), Helloween (“Ghostlights”), late Savatage (“The Haunting) but all in all, the compositions shape through the Avantasia crucible.
The best cuts on “Ghostlights” are without any second thought the title track and “Unchain the Night” where Michael Kiske leaves us –as always- in awe! “Master of the Pendulum” and “Let The Storm Descend Upon You” are quite remarkable, too.
So, what’s the verdict? Is “Ghostlights” a good album? Most definitely, it is. Does it meet our expectation? It depends of what someone expects from Sammet these days. It doesn’t even come close to the two Metal Opera masterpieces or the sonic outbursts of “Scarecrow”. Nevertheless is a really good album that doesn’t reach the immaculate level of quality of the first three Avantasia records.
Highlight: The “Ghostlights Tour” will include a three-hour live set by Tobias Sammet and co.