Tobias Sammet is not only an excellent musician, composer and songwriter - you can even call this ambitious mastermind a really outstanding artist who knows how to cast his love and emotion for music in beautiful, virtuos moulds. With AVANTASIA, the biggest and most important rock opera phenomenon of our times, the charismatic band leader is able to create fantastical, magic, parallel worlds with every new release since the band’s foundation in 2000.
The Fulda, Germany-based vocalist - also mastermind of the power metal giants EDGUY, (founded in 1992) - is one of the most internationally successful musicians to come out of Germany during the last few decades. Tobias Sammet already wrote rock history by selling more than three million records and by playing thousands of shows in more than 40 countries all over the world. But creativity and inspiration need space, need air to breathe and the ideas are now bubbling... The previous record, »The Mystery Of Time« (released March 2013), which entered #2 in the German charts and more top positions in many countries worldwide, is followed by the most multifaceted opus in AVANTASIA’s history.
The new album, »Ghostlights«, does not only deliver exciting surprises, it presents a stellar array of guest musicians; they unite on this record to continue with the concept of the previous album (»The Mystery Of Time«) and impressively take the listener on a journey.
Days decrease in length. Light fades away. Darkness lays down its misty shroud onto the world. Icecold, starlit nights announce it: the beginning of winter. It’s the perfect time to send out the seventh, probably most bombastic monumental opus. “The overall concept is about a cycle of megalomaniac scientists, led by a misanthropic occultist, who wants to manipulate the individual sense of time and to bring into line the society; mainly to build bridges, but truly to get ultimate control,“ Tobias Sammet explains the concept behind »Ghostlights«. “The protagonist, a young agnostic scientist, gets between the fronts. His moral values are on one side, his scientifical appointment and his pursuit for development and progress on the other side. During the story, he’s more and more confronted with different aspects of spirituality, with the speedup of time and with questions for the sense of life,“ the songwriter, who is responsible for all lyrics and compositions alone, tells and underlines, that he didn’t want to copy the storyline of a fairytale on this album. “ I wanted to draw a picture for the listener with every lyric, to give every song an individual meaning but still to design the lyrics in that way that they build the base of a fantastic story. The concept is more or less about ordinary questions, me and some other people for sure care about.“
If you ask Tobias about the stylistic direction of the songmaterial of »Ghostlights«, there’s one most important feature: “It sounds like AVANTASIA! I just started to compose. The result was a typical AVANTASIA album, which still had room for new influences and elements. The record is extremely diversified and contains much to explore. That’s a really important point, because »Ghostlights« requires the listener for a running time of 70 minutes. But it offers him a lot, if he gets himself into it. I make music for 25 years now and I get asked again and again to classify my new material. What should I say? I’m absolutely happy with it. It will be the record, I missed in my collection as a MAGNUM, HELLOWEEN, DIO, MEAT LOAF and BRAVEHEART fan until now.“
As is a tradition since the founding of AVANTASIA, there are again many great guest singers on »Ghostlights«. To start, you can be excited about the first attendance of former QUEENSRYCHE vocalist Geoff Tate. “The song, Geoff sings, lasts over seven minutes and is heavy and progressive - but hymnic,“ Tobias states. “Geoff really liked this track, because on one hand it’s extremely catchy, and on the other hand it’s rowdy decadent and full of bombast, as he puts in. I would describe this song as a mixture of dark AVANTASIA with a shot of QUEENSRYCHE’s »Rage For Order«.“
Geoff Tate is one of many new guests in the AVANTASIA world. If Tobias Sammet requests, they all come. After prestigious musicians such as Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker (SCORPIONS) and some members of legendary US bands such as KISS or MR. BIG, who attended in the most recent past, there’s again a load of guest musicians this time:
Besides the legendary TWISTED SISTER vocalist Dee Snider, NIGHTWISH icon Marco Hietala and WITHIN TEMPTATION power woman Sharon Den Adel - who sang already on the AVANTASIA debut, »The Metal Opera« (2001) - there’s also Michael Kiske (UNISONIC, ex-HELLOWEEN), Ronnie Atkins (PRETTY MAIDS), Bob Catley (MAGNUM), Jorn Lande (JORN, ex-MASTERPLAN), Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS, ex-MEAT LOAF), Robert Mason (WARRANT, ex-LYNCH MOB), Herbie Langhans (SINBREED), Felix Bohnke (EDGUY), Oliver Hartmann, Michael Rodenberg and Sascha Paeth.
The twelve tracks were produced -like the previous album - by Sascha Paeth and Tobias in Gatestudio Wolfsburg. Paeth, who earned a Golden Bobby for the »Best International Rock Production« from the Association Of German Sound Editors for his production of AVANTASIA’s »The Scarecrow« in 2008, is responsible for the recordings and the mix as well. Mastering was done by Michael Rodenberg (ALICE COOPER, OOMPH, EDGUY).
On December 11th, a foretaste in the form of the opulent track 'Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose' will be released. As from March 2016, an allstar ensemble will hit the road for the »Ghostlights« world tour. “Michael Kiske, Jorn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Bob Catley, Eric Martin, Amanda Somerville, Sascha Paeth, Miro Rodenberg, Felix Bohnke, Andre Neygenfind and Olli Hartmann will be there for sure,“ the initiator reveals. And that’s for sure: If Tobias Sammet’s AVANTASIA will take the listener on a three-hour journey in another world during the shows in spring in every evening, it’s a superlative experience.
AVANTASIA have never underlined more impressively, why they catapulted the rock opera genre into the 21st century with such a force. They never have been better!
|2001||The Metal Opera|
|2002||The Metal Opera Part II|
|2010||The Wicked Symphony / Angel of Babylon|
|2013||The Mystery of Time|