Overall Score: 8/10 Riffage: 10/10 Air-punch-ability: 9/10 Catchiness: 8/10 Pros: An evocative display of power Cons: One or two minor misjudged tracks
Avantasia’s ‘Ghostlights’ still gloriously illuminate the way for rock opera.
Seven albums into their illustrious albeit uncertain career, the German supergroup never seem to falter and ‘Ghostlights’ is further proof of their longevity – Avantasia deserve reverence for their endurance.
From the theatrical intensity of Meat Loaf-esque opener ‘Mystery of a Blood Red Rose’ to the towering 12-minute epic ‘Let the Storm Descend Upon You’, it’s blatant that the outfit still hold a wealth of passion for their craft, as Tobias Sammet’s trudging gravel tones transform into piercing high notes with as much ease as ever.
It wouldn’t be an Avantasia record without ethereal character and eager production in swathes, as the sinister ‘The Haunting’ lingers through an evocative solo while ‘Seduction of Decay’ heralds impending doom, before the heart-wrenching anguish of ‘Lucifer’ soon crashes into their trademark punchy extravagance.
With poignant highs and an incredible opening, the jaw-dropping melody of the title track stands to prove their era of orchestral majesty is still at its peak, with new drummer Felix Bohnke earning his stripes quite quickly. Summoning ‘Draconian Love’ and the ‘Master of the Pendulum’, the intensity still brought to the table after a turbulent 17 years is extremely commendable – Tobias is a wonderful unifier.
The intense noodling amid ‘Babylon Vampyres’ forges a consuming and incendiary album highlight, while the ambitious pursuit of freedom through ‘Unchain the Light’ portrays a stunning anthemic chorus built for crowd interaction. Forceful closer ‘A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies’ speaks volumes for the album’s mission statement – epic compositions are their forte, so it’s best to leave these masters to it.
Bursting with eye-watering riffs, captivating atmospherics and moving sentiments, ‘Ghostlights’ is a perfect reflection of the ceaseless energy held behind Avantasia, no matter how many years and line-up changes have threatened to dethrone them.
Ghostlights is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.