Avantasia – A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society


This is the ninth album by Tobias Sammet’s project that displaced his band, Edguy, and reignited the fans’ interest for pompous power metal.

Every time I sit down to listen to every new Avantasia album I wonder if I will be able to remember any of the songs after the first spin. Because, as always the production will be flawless, everyone’s performance will be 100%, and there will be at least a dozen layers of backing vocals, choruses etc. All those are a given, but what about the compositions: will you remember them? The answer for “A Paranormal…” is “yes”, although I doubt if I will remember the album’s title!

Celebrating his project’s 20th anniversary Sammet reminds me of an experienced coach who keeps the backbone of his team intact, using the same players for the same roles and just making a couple of additions, or “recycle” a few guests from the past. This tactic that usually works in team sports, seem to also work with Avantasia.

Floor Jansen, the most famous woman singer in the band, since Sharon Den Adel, shines through “Kill The Pain Away” and the ballad “Misplaced Among The Angels” and she is rightfully creating a demand to be part of the next album as well. Ralf Scheepers, who is also on his first ever performance with the band, throws his usual screams on “The Wicked Rule The Night”. The others are just doing the chores. Because, how would you call it if you were Michael Kiske with that divine voice that makes everything you sing sound amazing? No wonder “The Inmost Light” brings Helloween in mind. Geoff Tate leaves his mark on “Scars”, which sounds like “Empire”, before the double bass drums kicks in, Bob Catley feels right at home with the most ‘80s song on the album, “The Moonflower Society”, while Eric Martin sings on the most modern and fresh Avantasia songs we’ve heard until now, “Rhyme And Reason”.

Jorn Lande… another chore! Adding one more performance on an Avantasia album he just can’t fail singing “I Tame The Storm”, which is tailor-made for him. Finally, another usual suspect, Ronnie Atkins, adds his magical tone to the wonderful ballad, “Paper Plane”, and we sincerely hope that this will not be his last.

All in all, I have to say that this is the best Avantasia album I’ve heard since “Angel Of Babylon” and the reason is quite simple; it’s the first album since then that made me pay attention to while I was listening to it. It wasn’t just one of the same. At least, not on all its songs. With “Paranormal…” the cunning German takes a few risks, leaves his comfort zone on some tracks, dares and at the end of the day, succeeds. He is doing his best to give to this stagnant genre that we love to hate a new breath of life. We’ve said it above… an experienced coach!