Ferdi : The first Avantasia album made a huge impact on the Metal scene. The music that was presented on that album might not have been very original, but Powermetal seldom sounded that good. The songs were catchy, the refrains kept with you forever, and the cast of singers and musicians was incredible.
The second CD is now faced with the nigh-on impossible task of trying to surpass that first CD. All of the vocalists who made the first part so great are back with a vengeance. They are joined by Magnum's Bob Catley who lends his great voice to the skin of the mystical Tree Of Knowledge. All ten of the songs on this album sound wonderfully crafted. Director Tobias Sammet has a talent for writing catchy melodies, and combining them with Wagnarian bombast. I'm once again spellbound by the collection of epic songs that the little German guy has come up with.
Still, the music formula on this CD differs slightly from that of the first chapter. Because this CD sounds much more like what you'd expect from the term 'metal opera', than the first one did. This CD is literally stuffed with large choirs, and frequently display a Jim Steinman-esque megalomania. Do not expect every song on this album to be a sing-along, like it was the case with part one. Of course there ARE some sing-alongs on this album (The Looking Glass, The Final Sacrifice, Chalice Of Agony), but Avantasia II relies more on heavy orchestration than it does on memorable choruses.
This doesn't make the question whether this CD is better or not than part one any easier to answer. The two CDs are so different from each other that it's difficult to make a good comparison. This second CD takes a bit more time to get into, but it also delves deeper than its predecessor did. Personally I'm tempted to hail part one as the best CD, simply because at the time it completely blew me away. Still, this is one of the best CDs that you'll get to hear this year. This second CD has almost the same level of brilliance as the first part. It doesn't surpass part one, but it doesn't sound repetitive either.