Avantasia

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Avantasia
20160611 Loreley RockFels Avantasia 0717.jpg
Avantasia performing in Lorelei, Germany, in 2016
Background information
Origin Germany
Genres
Years active 1999–2002, 2006–present
Labels AFM, Nuclear Blast
Associated acts Edguy, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Michael Kiske, Andre Matos, Stratovarius, At Vance, Magnum, Rhapsody Of Fire, Virgin Steele, Within Temptation, Impellitteri, Heavens Gate, Aina, Masterplan, Jorn, Scorpions, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Epica, Place Vendome, Revolution Renaissance, Kamelot, Symphony X, Judas Priest, Savatage, Jon Oliva's Pain, Unisonic, Uriah Heep, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Saxon, Pretty Maids, Mr. Big, Avalon, Twisted Sister, Queensrÿche, Nightwish, Warrant, Sinbreed
Website www.tobiassammet.com
Members Tobias Sammet
Sascha Paeth
Miro
Felix Bohnke
Past members See: Members

Avantasia is a German supergroup rock opera project created by Tobias Sammet, vocalist of the band Edguy. It has been characterized as a rock opera, as it features the contributions of various vocalists and musicians and it consists of concept albums. The name is a portmanteau of the words "avalon" and "fantasia" ("fantasy") and describes "a world beyond human imagination" (a quotation from the booklet).

The project can be divided into three periods of activity. The first, 1999–2002, saw the release of a self-titled single and the full-length albums The Metal Opera and The Metal Opera Part II. The second, 2006–2011, consists of the EPs Lost in Space Part I & II and The Wicked Trilogy, composed of the albums The Scarecrow, The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon. The third period, 2013–2016, begins with the album The Mystery of Time and ends with the Ghostlights release.[1]

Some of the guest vocalists and musicians that have been featured on Avantasia are: Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande, Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine, Dee Snider, Jon Oliva, Biff Byford, Joe Lynn Turner, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Geoff Tate, Kai Hansen, Rudolf Schenker, Bruce Kulick, Sascha Paeth, Eric Singer, Eric Martin, Bob Catley, Roy Khan, Russell Allen, Marco Hietala, Henjo Richter, Markus Grosskopf, Timo Tolkki, Jens Johansson, Rob Rock, David Defeis, Andre Matos, Sharon den Adel, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Ronnie Atkins, Oliver Hartmann and Amanda Somerville.

History[edit]

The Metal Operas (1999–2002)[edit]

In Spring 1999, during Edguy's 'Theater of Salvation' tour, Tobias Sammet began to outline his ideas for a metal opera concept album featuring a number of guest musicians. When the tour finished, he began collaborating with metal vocalists like Michael Kiske, Andre Matos, Kai Hansen, Rob Rock, David Defeis, Sharon den Adel, Bob Catley and Oliver Hartmann to record the project. At this stage the core band consisted of four members, Sammet on keyboards, Henjo Richter on guitar, Markus Grosskopf on bass and Alex Holzwarth on drums. In 2001, a self-titled single and the first full-length album, The Metal Opera, were released.[2] The project went on hiatus after the release of The Metal Opera Part II in September 2002.

The Scarecrow (2006–2008)[edit]

At the end of 2006, Sammet confirmed the rumours of a third Avantasia album, due for release in 2008. Two EPs named Lost in Space Part I and Part II were released on 19 November 2007, while the full-length album, The Scarecrow, was released on 25 January 2008. The Scarecrow marked the first chapter of "The Wicked Trilogy" concept and was also the first of many Avantasia releases to feature Sascha Paeth on the role of main guitarist and producer.[3] The album included guest performances by drummer Eric Singer, guitarists Henjo Richter and Rudolf Schenker and singers Jørn Lande, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Alice Cooper, Roy Khan, Amanda Somerville and Oliver Hartmann.[4]

After the release of The Scarecrow, Tobias Sammet was invited to perform a headlining show at Wacken Open Air, an offer that producer/guitarist Sascha Paeth convinced him to accept. That led to 13 shows between 5 July and 13 August. The shows at Masters of Rock and Wacken Open Air were recorded and the live DVD The Flying Opera, based on the footage, was released in March 2011. The line-up for the short tour consisted of Tobias Sammet, Andre Matos, Jørn Lande, Kai Hansen, Bob Catley, Amanda Somerville, Cloudy Yang, Sascha Paeth, Oliver Hartmann, Robert Hunecke, Miro and Felix Bohnke (Edguy).

The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon (2009–2010)[edit]

In November 2009, Sammet announced that he was recording two new albums, The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, to be released on 3 April 2010.[5] The concept of the albums was a continuation of The Scarecrow story and these three albums together are often referred to as "The Wicked Trilogy".[6] The special guests included drummers Eric Singer, Alex Holzwarth and Felix Bohnke, guitarists Bruce Kulick and Oliver Hartmann, keyboardist Jens Johansson and vocalists Jørn Lande, Russell Allen, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Klaus Meine, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Jon Oliva, Andre Matos, Cloudy Yang and Ralf Zdiarstek.[7] The Scarecrow, The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon have scored high positions in various international music charts.[8]

The Metal Opera Comes to Town Tour (2010–2011)[edit]

Avantasia live in Stockholm (Sweden) in 2010

A 12 show tour of Europe, South America and Asia took place during December 2010, with the exception of one concert at the Wacken Open Air festival in August 2011. The concerts lasted for almost three hours and many of them were sold out days before.[9] The ensemble was almost the same as on The Scarecrow Tour in 2008, with two changes. Andre Matos was replaced by ex-Helloween and current Unisonic singer Michael Kiske (with Kai Hansen also participating on this tour, there were a lot of instances when the two ex-Helloween members shared the same stage) and the fact that Cloudy Yang was not part of the line-up.

Both tours were closely documented by Amanda Somerville on her YouTube channel.[10] The videos show various interesting backstage moments such as rehearsals, cancelled flights, or the ensemble travelling by a regular train.

The Mystery of Time (2012–2013)[edit]

In August 2012 Sammet announced that "I didn‘t foresee how much I need Avantasia when I decided to finish this chapter of my life in 2011. After the worldwide success of the latest studio releases, an arena world tour that was sold out pretty much everywhere, collaborations with childhood heroes...I 'knew' that I had said everything I could possibly say in the name of Avantasia. But that's not what Avantasia is all about. I wanna create more great music, I wanna create more fantasy-worlds, the bigger and the more epic, the better. And listening to the material that I have created for this forthcoming chapter in the history of Avantasia, I know there is no way I am not going to do it! I have got the feeling and the certainty, that this is absolutely meant to happen and to be."[11]

During December 2012 it was revealed on Sammet's Avantasia website that the new album would be called The Mystery of Time and was due for release on 30 March 2013. The Mystery of Time marked the beginning of a new concept and was the first Avantasia release to feature the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. The album included guest performances by drummer Russell Gilbrook, guitarists Bruce Kulick, Oliver Hartmann and Arjen Anthony Lucassen, while the guest vocalists were Joe Lynn Turner, Biff Byford, Michael Kiske, Ronnie Atkins, Eric Martin, Bob Catley and Cloudy Yang.[12][13] The Mystery Of Time scored high positions in several international music charts and even enabled the project to enter the US Billboard charts for the very first time.[14]

The Mystery World Tour (2013–2014)[edit]

Avantasia live in São Paulo (Brazil) in 2013

Avantasia's second biggest world tour took place between April and August 2013. The tour consisted of 30 concerts and included 7 headlining festival appearances in Europe, one festival performance in Canada and three hour long shows in South America, Japan, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Holland.[15][16] The line-up for the tour consisted of vocalists Tobias Sammet, Michael Kiske, Ronnie Atkins, Eric Martin, Bob Catley, Thomas Rettke, Amanda Somerville and musicians Sascha Paeth, Oliver Hartmann, Miro, Andre Neygenfind and Felix Bohnke.

According to Sammet: "I wanna put on the biggest thing you have ever seen, I wanna bring more vocalists, play longer shows, and just make it a giant Rock Opera. I love to headline festivals, you run over people in 90 minutes and kick ass. But I also like to do our own Avantasia indoor tour because we can make it much more Avantasia oriented and play almost three hours...It will be huge."[17]

Avantasia live in São Paulo (Brazil) in 2013

With two shows remaining at the end of the tour, Sammet held a press conference in which he announced that Avantasia would perform a headline performance at Wacken Open Air Festival in 2014. He also indicated that this would be a farewell performance as no further Avantasia activities were planned for the near future:[18]

Ghostlights (2014–2016)[edit]

In a May 2014 interview regarding Edguy's then latest release Space Police: Defenders of the Crown, Tobias said that The Mystery of Time hinted at a possible sequel.[19] The new album, entitled Ghostlights, was released on 29 January 2016 and featured guest performances by guitarists Bruce Kulick and Oliver Hartmann, while the guest vocalists were Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Dee Snider, Geoff Tate, Marco Hietala, Ronnie Atkins, Sharon den Adel, Bob Catley, Robert Mason and Herbie Langhans.[20] Ghostlights scored the highest positions of any Avantasia release in several international music charts and even enabled Avantasia to enter the US Billboard charts for the second time.[21]

Ghostlights World Tour and the future of Avantasia (2016–present)[edit]

Avantasia live in Madrid (Spain) in 2016

The "biggest world tour so far" took place between March and August 2016. According to Avantasia's website it consisted of approximately 40 concerts in Europe, North America, South America, Canada, Japan, Russia and Scandinavia. With the exclusion of 8 headlining European summer festival performances, each concert lasted for over three hours.[22][23] The ensemble was almost the same as on the previous tour with the addition of Jorn Lande and Herbie Langhans. As he did after announcing the 2014 Wacken performance, Sammet once again suggested that the Ghostlights World Tour might be the project's last activity in a long time:[24][25]

After the completion of the tour, Sammet announced that Avantasia will headline both Wacken Open Air and Barcelona Rockfest during the summer of 2017.[26]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Members[edit]

Current core members[edit]

Former core members[edit]

Vocalists[edit]

Vocalist Associated bands Avantasia The Metal Opera The Metal Opera Part II Lost in Space Part I Lost in Space Part II The Scarecrow The Wicked Symphony Angel of Babylon The Mystery of Time Ghostlights
Germany Tobias Sammet Edguy all tracks all tracks, except track 4 (Malleus Maleficarum) all tracks all tracks all tracks all tracks all tracks all tracks, except track 8 (Symphony of Life) all tracks all tracks
Germany Michael Kiske ex-Helloween, Place Vendome, Kiske/Somerville, Unisonic Reach Out for the Light Reach Out for the Light, Breaking Away, Farewell, Avantasia, The Tower The Seven Angels, No Return Promised Land The Scarecrow, Shelter from the Rain, What Kind of Love Wastelands, Runaway Train Stargazers Where Clock Hands Freeze, Savior In The Clockwork, Dweller In A Dream Ghostlights, Unchain the Light, Wake up to the Moon
United States David DeFeis Virgin Steele Final Sacrifice Serpents in Paradise, The Tower The Seven Angels, The Final Sacrifice
Brazil Andre Matos ex-Shaaman, ex-Angra, ex-Viper, ex-Symfonia Inside, Sign of the Cross, The Tower The Seven Angels, No Return, Chalice of Agony Blizzard On a Broken Mirror
Germany Ralf Zdiarstek Malleus Maleficarum, The Glory of Rome Memory Black Wings
Germany Oliver Hartmann ex-At Vance The Glory of Rome, Sign of the Cross, The Tower The Seven Angels I Don't Believe in Your Love Stargazers
Germany Kai Hansen ex-Helloween, Gamma Ray Inside, Sign of the Cross The Seven Angels, Chalice of Agony
United States Rob Rock ex-Axel Rudi Pell, ex-Warrior, Driver, Impellitteri The Glory of Rome The Seven Angels, Neverland
Netherlands Sharon den Adel Within Temptation Farewell Into the Unknown Isle of Evermore
Finland Timo Tolkki ex-Stratovarius, ex-Revolution Renaissance, ex-Symfonia The Tower
United Kingdom Bob Catley Magnum, ex-Hard Rain The Looking Glass, In Quest for The Story Ain't Over Shelter from the Rain, Cry Just a Little Runaway Train Journey to Arcadia The Great Mystery A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies, Wake up to the Moon
Norway Jørn Lande ex-Ark, ex-Masterplan, Jorn Another Angel Down Promised Land The Scarecrow, Another Angel Down, Devil in the Belfry The Wicked Symphony, Runaway Train, Crestfallen, Forever is a Long Time Stargazers, Angel of Babylon, Rat Race, Down in the Dark, Alone I Remember, Promised Land Let the Storm Descend Upon You, Ghostlights, Lucifer, Wake up to the Moon
United States Amanda Somerville Aina, Kiske/Somerville, Trillium Lost in Space, The Story Ain't Over Lost in Space, Lost in Space What Kind of Love, Lost in Space
United States Eric Singer Kiss, ex-Black Sabbath, ex-Alice Cooper Ride the Sky
Norway Roy Khan ex-Conception, ex-Kamelot Twisted Mind
United States Alice Cooper The Toy Master
United States Russell Allen Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob The Wicked Symphony, States of Matter Stargazers, Journey to Arcadia
United States Tim "Ripper" Owens ex-Judas Priest, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Iced Earth Scales of Justice
Germany Klaus Meine Scorpions Dying for an Angel
Germany Cloudy Yang Symphony of Life Sleepwalking
United States Jon Oliva Savatage, Jon Oliva's Pain Death is Just a Feeling
United States Joe Lynn Turner ex-Rainbow, ex-Deep Purple, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen Spectres, The Watchmakers' Dream, Savior In The Clockwork, The Great Mystery
United Kingdom Biff Byford Saxon Black Orchid, Savior In The Clockwork, The Great Mystery
Denmark Ronnie Atkins Pretty Maids Invoke The Machine Let the Storm Descend Upon You, Unchain the Light, Wake up to the Moon
United States Eric Martin Mr. Big What's Left Of Me
United States Robert Mason Warrant, Lynch Mob Let the Storm Descend Upon You, Babylon Vampyres, Wake up to the Moon
United States Dee Snider Twisted Sister The Haunting
Germany Herbie Langhans Seventh Avenue Draconian Love
Finland Marco Hietala Nightwish, Tarot, Northern Kings, Raskasta Joulua, Sapattivuosi, Sinergy Master of the Pendulum
United States Geoff Tate Operation: Mindcrime, ex-Queensrÿche Seduction of Decay

Musicians[edit]

Musician Associated bands Avantasia The Metal Opera The Metal Opera Part II Lost in Space Part I Lost in Space Part II The Scarecrow The Wicked Symphony Angel of Babylon The Mystery of Time Ghostlights
Germany Tobias Sammet Edguy Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all)
Bass (10)
Bass (all) Bass (all) Bass (all) Bass (all) Bass (all) Bass (all) Bass (all)
Germany Henjo Richter Gamma Ray Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Lead guitar (3) Lead guitar (2, 3, 4) Lead guitar (2, 3, 6, 7, 8) Lead guitar (10)
Germany Markus Grosskopf Helloween Bass (all) Bass (all) Bass (all)
Germany Alex Holzwarth Rhapsody of Fire, ex-Angra Drums (all) Drums (all) Drums (all) Drums (3, 7, 8, 10) Drums (1, 2, 3, 11)
Germany Jens Ludwig Edguy Lead guitar (12, 13) Lead guitar (5, 9)
Finland Timo Tolkki ex-Stratovarius, ex-Revolution Renaissance, ex-Symfonia Lead guitar (1, 10)
Germany Norman Meiritz Acoustic guitar (6) Rhythm guitar (10)
Germany Frank Tischer Piano (11) Piano (1, 4, 7)
Germany Sascha Paeth ex-Heavens Gate, Aina Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Guitars (all) Guitars (all)
United States Eric Singer KISS, ex-Black Sabbath, ex-Alice Cooper Drums (10) Drums (all) Drums (all) Drums (all) Drums (2, 4, 6) Drums (5, 7, 9, 10)
Germany Michael "Miro" Rodenberg Aina, Kamelot Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all except track 2) Keyboards (all) Keyboards (all)
Germany Kai Hansen ex-Helloween, Gamma Ray, ex-Iron Savior Lead guitar (3)
Germany Rudolf Schenker Scorpions Lead guitar (10)
United States Bruce Kulick ex-Kiss, Grand Funk Railroad Lead guitar (6, 11) Lead guitar (5, 9, 11) Lead guitar (3, 6, 10) Lead guitar (9, 10, 12)
Germany Oliver Hartmann ex-At Vance Lead guitar (2, 8) Lead guitar (1, 2, 3) Lead guitar (4, 7) Lead guitar (2, 5, 9, 11)
Germany Felix Bohnke Edguy Drums (1, 5, 9 11) Drums (4, 6, 8) Drums (all)
Sweden Jens Johansson Stratovarius, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen Keyboards (2)
Germany Eddy Wrapiprou Edguy Keyboards (all)
Germany Simon Oberender Organ (11) Organ (9)
United Kingdom Russell Gilbrook Uriah Heep Drums (all)
Netherlands Arjen Anthony Lucassen Ayreon, Star One, Guilt Machine, Ambeon, ex-Stream of Passion, ex-Vengeance, ex-Bodine Lead guitar (2)
Germany Ferdy Doernberg Axel Rudi Pell, ex-Matt Gonzo Roehr, Sainted Sinners Hammond Organ (2)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Avantasia reviews, music, news". sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  2. ^ "Avantasia - The Metal Opera Review". The Metal Crypt. 2001-07-16. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  3. ^ Sinister, Barely (31 March 2014). "Interview: Tobias Sammet from Edguy". new-transcendence.com/. 
  4. ^ Listing of The Scarecrow album on Discogs.com, (accessed 16 March 2015).
  5. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - AVANTASIA: New Album Titles Announced". Roadrunnerrecords.com. 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  6. ^ "Avantasia Book - The Wicked Trilogy". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  7. ^ "Avantasia :: Official Web". Tobias Sammet. 2009-09-12. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  8. ^ "Avantasia :: Official Web". Tobias Sammet. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  9. ^ "Avantasia :: Official Web". Tobias Sammet. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  10. ^ amandasomerville (2011-03-16). "Channel of user amandasomerville". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  11. ^ bravewords.com. "> News > AVANTASIA - New Epic In The Making". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  12. ^ "Tobias Sammet :: Avantasia :: Official Web". 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  13. ^ "Avantasia - The Mystery Of Time - Listening Session - Kolumne bei Musikreviews.de - Metal, Progressive und Rock". Musikreviews.de. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  14. ^ EvilG (2013-05-10). "Avantasia "The Mystery of Time" debuts at #9 on Billboard "Heat Seekers" chart, #33 on "Hard Rock"". Metal-rules.com. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  15. ^ "Avantasia :: Official Web". Tobias Sammet. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  16. ^ "Artikel | AVANTASIA: Interview mit Tobias Sammet". Powermetal.De. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  17. ^ "Avantasia :: Official Web". Tobias Sammet. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  18. ^ "Avantasia to headline Wacken Open Air 2014". 
  19. ^ Pinnegar, Shane (14 May 2014). "Interview – Tobias Sammet". 100% Rock Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "AVANTASIA - more details on »Ghostlights«! - Nuclear Blast". 
  21. ^ "Tobias Sammet’s AVANTASIA Enter Charts In 17 Countries On 3 Continents With Ghostlights". bravewords.com. 
  22. ^ "Tobias Sammet :: Avantasia :: Official Web". 
  23. ^ "Avantasia - We want your review - see below!But first:... - Facebook". 
  24. ^ Booth, Alison (21 January 2016). "Interview With Tobias Sammet, Avantasia: "It’s gonna be the last time in a very long time"". Metal Shock Finland. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  25. ^ Schwarzkopf, Thomas (27 January 2016). "Exclusive Interview with Tobias Sammet (Avantasia, Edguy)". Myglobalmind Magazine. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  26. ^ "Tobias Sammet :: Avantasia :: Official Web". 

External links[edit]