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The Scarecrow - Tobias Sammet's Avantasia

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal / Artist: Tobias Sammet's Avantasia / Enhanced / Audio CD released 2008-01-28 at Plastic Head Music

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      15.06.2008 12:52
      Very helpful



      fantastic metal opera album with top guest singers

      Welcome to Avantasia

      :Background to The Scarecrow:


      is a concept and the autonomous project of Edguy front-man, Tobias Sammet. The second and third release by Avantasia being The Metal Opera and The Metal Opera part II are more in line for a return of style that is seen in The Scarecrow. The mere few months after the release of Lost In Space part II as well as relatively recent appendix surgery have in no ways marred this album of power/symphonic metal excellence. A much anticipated release date of March 2008{at least anticipated by me} and a pre-order on the internet left me all in a fluster at the prospect of trying to make my ears bleed and turn my brain to slush whilst lecturing my children that this is real music and the poop they listen to is not the way forward, fortunately for me the brain washing is working and they often fill their wee iPods with power metal. Once again I digress. Firstly I shall get the specifics out of the way and then get down to the nitty gritty of reviewing this fifth outing by Avantasia. One of the further selling points of the Avantasia albums are the guest vocals on all of the albums. Lead singers from bands such as Hammerfall, At Vance, Within Temptation, Virgin Steele to name just a few have been guest vocalists on Avantasia albums with The Scarecrow being no exception to the rule.

      Released: Jan 25th 2008, March for the U.K
      Genre: Symphonic Metal/ Power Metal
      Label: Nuclear Blast Records, {Same as Edguy}
      Producer: Sascha Paeth & Tobias Sammet

      Track Listings

      1."Twisted Mind" (6:14) Guest vocals Roy Khan lead vocals of Kamelot
      2."The Scarecrow" (11:12) Jorn Lande & Michael Kiske from Helloween
      3."Shelter from the Rain" (6:09) Bob Catley of Magnum, Hard Rain & Michael Kiske
      4."Carry Me Over" (3:52)
      5."What Kind of Love" (4:56) Amanda Somerville metal vocal coach & solo artist, Michael Kiske
      6."Another Angel Down" (5:41) Jorn Lande of Allen & Lande fame
      7."The Toy Master" (6:21) Guest vocalist Alice Cooper
      8."Devil in the Belfry" (4:42) Jorn Lande
      9."Cry Just a Little" (5:15) Bob Catley
      10."I Don't Believe in Your Love" (5:34) Oliver Hartmann lead vocalist of At Vance
      11."Lost in Space" (3:53) Amanda Somerville

      What Does One Get For Their Money?

      I can sum it all up in one easy answer.... value, but that's not what you are here for. Here is a run- down of all the tracks.

      Twisted Mind:

      This track opens up with some heavy bass guitar before opening to more familiar Avantasia territory with a nice lead guitar/ keyboard melody that makes me think of Egypt. The duet with Roy Khan works very well except for Tobias having a somewhat more powerful voice and on occasion dominates the song. Judging the lyrics I believe it is about a doctor of a lunatic asylum judging peoples sanity and leaving them no hope of freedom.....Nice, lol.

      The Scarecrow:

      This is evidently the album title song and by far easily my favourite of the album. As soon as the track opens up you know that you are in for a treat and you hear the magic that was The Metal Opera. The music that starts immediately smacks of Scotland and Celts with earthy, guttural drums played in a very war-like bass manner with folk/Scottish style violin. Every year at the Edinburgh festival is a band playing called Albanach, and they dress like medieval Scots and play some awesome powerful Scots music and this song is in the same vein. Sammet , Catley & Kiske all get some lush solo vocal pieces as well as some meaty harmonies. The track is quite long {no bad thing} and as a result there are some beautiful pieces of music with no vocals in a beautiful blend of folk come metal. This track would easily lend itself to a soundtrack such as Braveheart or Highlander as well as a medieval period film or on an Avantasia album per se. In the track there is also a succulent piece of lead electric guitar which would be the envy of any self respecting air guitarist.

      Shelter From the Rain:

      This is plain and simply an outright power metal track that would not be out of place on a Edguy album. The three vocalists again work well together and compliment each other's voices totally. The lyrics have an almost religious feel to them but not particularly in a Christian sense but more like in a pagan sense. This is a reasonably fast paced track with some heavy bass style guitar thrown in to boot.

      Carry Me Over:

      A good come down from the previous song this is sung more like an upbeat ballad with quite a faster paced chorus. Nice soft guitar leads in places gives this a pleasant melodic feel and in parts feels like an early Sonata Arctica track since it is very much like that type of track. The song is about scorned love and how he is all but invisible to the woman even though he desperately tries to make himself apparent.

      What Kind of Love:

      This is the true ballad of the entire album and boy what a scorcher. Musically it's like Clannad or Enya but with a rock tinge to it. Guest vocalist is Amanda Somerville. This lady has been vocal coach to many power metal legends. She worked on projects with most of the top metal bands such as Epica for example. She is a songwriter and a solo artist. The woman has got a gorgeous voice and combined with the vocal range of Sammet these two rock together. Again this is a track that resonates of days gone by to the Metal Opera era. An orchestra is very evident and the song starts slow building to a crescendo in the latter part. This song comes dangerously close to Land of The Miracle by Edguy in terms of powee, effect and beauty. I envisage this song would have been awesome in the film Tristan & Isolde in the scene near the end where Tristan is dying with Isolde by his side. Toward the end it the song just simply drifts off. This is a real nice touch to the album adding a lot of strength.

      Another Angel Down:

      This is a metal treat. It holds no illusion and pulls no punches, it simply is a nice pick up after the ballad and has great intense vocals. Fast paced and immensely catchy. Shit hot mental guitar playing half way through and the lead guitar almost weeps as it prepares you to once again belt out the addictive chorus at the top of your voice. This is the sort of track that sticks in my head as I do my weekly shopping at Asda, and makes shopping a more pleasant affair.

      The Toy Master:

      Oh what a treat. This is immediately an angry song but is very apt when the dominant vocals are Alice Cooper. Sammet is a lucky son of a gun working with the people he does. After an initial angry start and the obscure mental institution feel of Coopers couple of verses the Sammet presence keeps getting to influence the song helping to give it a catchy melodic feel. This is the sort of track you would hear on Alice Cooper's Trash album. You see, another beauty of these Avantasia albums is that he lets his guests stamp their mark on the tracks and almost own them, whilst the subtle sound of Edguy and Sammet spruce them up and give them an essence of uniqueness.

      Devil in the Belfry:

      brings the album back to a more pleasant happier frame of mood, and is a straight forward in your face power metal track.

      Cry Just a Little:

      Whilst undertaking this review I listen to the tracks to fully refresh my memory and whilst listening to this track it occurred to me what am I thinking. When I wrote about the other power ballad on the album called What Kind of Love I believed that nothing else could compare with it but Cry Just a Little is a worthy contender. The song starts with the vocals just being accompanied by Spanish guitar right up to the opening of the first chorus. The lyrics are about a man who is under the opinion that he had no affect on his partner and that being without him is easily endured. It is a really fine ballad.

      I Don't Believe In Your Love:

      Oliver Hartmann like Sammet has a very strong powerful voice and is very apt for this track. This is your more angry love ballad where there is a degree of contempt and bitterness. A word to the wise, this album does not have a parental advisory sticker but this track does contain the word F**k in the chorus. It is not used just as an excuse to swear, Avantasia albums are not by any means renowned for profanity. But when you listen to the track and acknowledge what it's about the word usage becomes apparent and forgivable, the word ironically is kind of important. So anyway this is a touch of an angry song but it is good and it works well and I guess this is how we all feel at some points in our lives especially when you have feelings for someone who is a proper nightmare.

      Lost In Space:

      This track polishes the album of beautifully and artistically but it pissed me off a touch. Being a fan of Avantasia I have all of the albums. This song features on other albums to even be it in Acapella, instrumental, souped up, live and one with bloody Smarties on top, lol. So here is the gripe. I do love the song its great but I already have it a plethora of times in different forms and I felt cheated a little, I rather would have had a new track. However, since the song is so awesome I have to forgive.....just a little. Lost In Space makes great use of piano and keyboard and also has some vocals by Amanda Somerville. I mentioned earlier about have songs stuck in my head and this track takes that to another level. After listening to this I cannot help but keep singing the chorus over and over in my head for hours. It is a power metal song but in a soft approach , it is far from being an heavy track.

      Cover & Inlay

      To be expected with power metal bands nice picture on the front cover of a somewhat sinister looking scarecrow. Song lyrics throughout booklet and some nice band pictures too.

      Avatasia albums to date:

      Avantasia (EP) - 2001
      The Metal Opera - 2001
      The Metal Opera Part II - 2002
      Lost in Space Part I (EP) - 2007
      Lost in Space Part II (EP) - 2007
      The Scarecrow - 2008



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      All that remains for me to say is thank you very much for reading/rating my review and I hope it is of much use to you, Addy.

      © June 2008


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      • More +
        03.02.2008 13:36
        Very helpful
        1 Comment



        Avantasia's third album (2008).

        The new Avantasia album has finally arrived, and as expected (especially in light of the promotional EPs) it's a complete disappointment. Tobias Sammet's tenure as a metal god has long since faded, and even a redundant cameo from Alice Cooper can't keep 'The Scarecrow' from seeming less like a continuation of the grandiose style of 'The Metal Opera' and more like the same commercially-oriented, watered-down power metal he's been creating since Edguy released 'Rocket Ride' and became lousy overnight. In fact, Alice Cooper only makes the commercial agenda worse.

        Unlike 'The Metal Opera,' which was far from the work of progressive genius some hail it as, but was at least a damn fine power metal extravaganza, 'The Scarecrow' is more like a dull and repetitive melodic rock album, attempting to hide behind the fact with a few guest musicians and singers, though naturally Sammet takes the lead vocal duties pretty much all the time, and ensures that he snags all the best choruses. His cohort on lead guitar is famed power metal producer Sascha Paeth, who shamelessly released his own "metal opera" Aina a few years after Avantasia and here once again proves that his musical ability is nothing more than mediocre.

        Even the most ambitious song, the eleven-minute title track that fans have eagerly been waiting for, turns out to be not so much ambitious as simply long-winded, possessing the same catchy chorus style as the rest of the songs but not really adding anything to elevate it to a grander scale, something that's even more disheartening when considering how uninhibited and bombastic the earlier Avantasia song 'The Seven Angels' managed to be. On reaching the end of the album, no one would be more surprised than me that 'Lost in Space,' the near-ballad, part-acoustic, overly commercial song earlier released as a single, would end up being the best thing here. After the decline of Edguy, I held out hope that Avantasia would continue to provide an outlet for Sammet's metal edge, but I should never have let my expectations get so high.

        Throwing in a couple of obligatory ballads with terrible lyrics ('Cry Just a Little'), shameless female-fronted pop songs ('What Kind of Love')and even a few songs that very nearly approach the enjoyment of the previous album, but don't ('Shelter from the Rain,' 'Another Angel Down,' 'Devil in the Belfry' and 'I Don't Believe in Your Love'), this is only going to be a disappointment for fans, but casual rock fans may find it an exciting gateway to more ambitious climes.

        1. Twisted Mind
        2. The Scarecrow
        3. Shelter from the Rain
        4. Carry Me Over
        5. What Kind of Love
        6. Another Angel Down
        7. The Toy Master
        8. Devil in the Belfry
        9. Cry Just a Little
        10. I Don't Believe in Your Love
        11. Lost in Space


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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Twisted Mind
        2 Scarecrow
        3 Shelter from the Rain
        4 Carry Me Over
        5 What Kind of Love
        6 Another Angel Down
        7 Toy Master
        8 Devil in the Belfry
        9 Cry Just a Little
        10 I Don't Believe in Your Love
        11 Lost in Space

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