Avantasia - Ghostlights (Nuclear Blast Records)

Lashings of bombastic raunchiness...
Release Date: 
29 Jan 2016 - 12:30am

One Tobias Sammet must have been sitting around thinking 'how can I make this record even more epic and bombastic?' before realising that by the simple addition of massive synths and grandiose guitar runs (layer upon layer upon fucking layer), the usual becomes the unusual. I have to be in my 'special place' to get into symphonic metal - I generally find it a bit too over-dramatic and bodice-ripping - and Avantasia's Ghostlights is full of pomp and ceremony. Lucky I'm in that special place then, otherwise I would have shrugged this off as just another over-indulgent outpouring.

Opener Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose is the entire album distilled into one track. It's so over the top with so much power guitar and synth and operatic vocal that all I can imagine is some big hair blowing under a huge fan. Not that it's bad (I keep muttering 'special place, special place' like some obscene mantra), and while the term 'bombastic' gets chucked about quite a lot when discussing symphonic metal, the term seems wholy appropriate - not that the tune is over-inflated or without meaning.

There are so many guests on here that I'm not even going to attempt to list them all though Dee Snider (The Haunting which reminds me of The Scorpions' WInd of Change - such majestic soloing!) and Geoff Tate (Seduction Of Decay) are but two. Second track Let The Storm Descend Upon You certainly has a bit more grunt than the previous track but the album, as a whole, really does remind me of 80's hair metal. Yet I really have got quite into it (why do I feel guilty for writing that?). Obviously if you're a die-hard black metal fan without the ability to spread the wings of your musical taste then you're going to hate Ghostlights but allow yourself a little self-indulgence and you'll find there's quite a lot to like on here. Special place. Special place.