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The appetizer before the banquet. - 86%

hells_unicorn, September 1st, 2006

This is where one of the biggest and most amazing Power Metal projects started. Riding the tide of a good amount of success with Edguy, Tobias Sammet took it upon himself to unite the combined talents of some of the biggest names is Power, Traditional, and Gothic Metal. Such bands as Gamma Ray, Helloween, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, At Vance, Virgin Steele, Within Temptation, and a few others are in attendance either as members of the permanent band or as character voices in the story.

The first point of interest is the shorter version of Avantasia, the title song of the whole concept. It differs from the album version in that the rather dim sounding intro with the fade in to the song, and has a shorter guitar solo and quicker fade out at the end. Although these differences seem a bit superficial, they have an affect on the atmosphere of the song, giving it a sense of urgeny that draws the listener in a bit more quickly. Although I like the full album version better, I can see the purpose for the shortened version beyond merely being more radio friendly.

The second and third tracks are both high speed rockers from the 1st and 2nd albums respectively. "Reach out for the Light" is a brilliant duet between Michael Kiske and Tobias Sammet over a guitar heavy instrumentation, with some brilliant lead work by Gamma Ray axeman Henjo Richter. "The Final Sacrifice" is a more surreal high speed song with some dramatic church organ accompaniment, in which David Defeis and Tobias Sammet scream up a storm.

Although you can find all these tracks on the 2 main albums (although my version of Avantasia Part 2 did not contain the shorter version of Avantasia), you may find a certain asthetic value in owning this prelude to the masterpieces.