By Colonel Angus

Tobias Sammet’s day gig with Edguy is really good but I was always partial to his Avantasia project.  Even though I got into it quite late in the game, starting with "The Wicked Symphon"y in 2010, I have been a fan since and worked my way backwards through the catalogue.  Although these are operas with a storyline, I always felt that the songs were good enough to stand on their own without the need to follow in a specific order to enjoy.  Most concept records like Queensryche’s "Operation: Mindcrime" and Pink Floyd’s "The Wall" are great examples of songs over story.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t enjoyable from start to finish, it just means that you can pick and choose songs without having to devote a lot of time to one piece of music.  All of that brings me to "Ghostlights".  Even though this is a sequel to "The Mystery of Time", you can enjoy this one right away if you are new to Avantasia.  The quality of the tunes is right up there with the previous releases.  They have all the pomp and drama that we have come to expect without ever sounding like rehashes of previous material.

There are many special guests and although Michael Kiske and Bob Catley have made appearances on earlier albums, we get a couple of surprises.  Dee Snider makes an appearance on “The Haunting” and Geoff Tate lends his vocals on “Seduction of Decay”.  I read in an interview that Sammet picks certain vocalists for specific track based on their singing style and he did a great job with those two vocalists.  After hearing those tracks, I can’t imagine anyone else singing those lyrics.  Elsewhere, we get Robert Mason guesting on a few songs and Jorn Lande appears on “Let the Storm Descend Upon You” and “Lucifer”.  Even with all of these “name” vocalists on "Ghostlights", Sammet and his songs really the stars of the show; as it should be.  With many winning tracks to choose from, I feel that “Seduction of Decay”, “Master of the Pendulum” and “Isle of Evermore” are the standouts on this record.  As mentioned earlier, "Ghostlights" is full of great songs that can be enjoyed on their own or as part of the story.  Avantasia in my mind is more enjoyable than Edguy which says a lot.  Even if you have not heard any of the previous releases, or it’s prequel The Mystery of Time, I can wholeheartedly recommend "Ghostlights" for new fans and returning fans alike.