November 17, 2022
Photo: Kevin Nixon

Time to rejoice as the renowned German musician, singer, songwriter and producer Tobias Sammet has presented the world with another star studded epic hard rock/power metal extravaganza under the Avantasia banner with the most gloriously titled A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society. As usual, Sammet is never undersold and has released yet another gargantuan and totally over the top metal album with the aid of a team of truly stellar musicians which makes this very much a supergroup.

As we all know – or should know- Sammet is the lead singer with the amazing power metal band Edguy and founded Avantasia to be his vehicle for his delicious fusion of rock opera and power/symphonic metal. Originally planned as a two-off project in 1999 Avantasia has since developed a life of its own with A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society now being album number nine with each record being an essential and indispensable metal delight. Sammet provides lead vocals, keyboards and a little bass with regulars including Sascha Paeth on lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass, Michael Rodenberg on keyboards with Felix Bohnke on drums. Sammet has always enjoyed the company of other musicians and has a core of ‘go to’ vocalists to add real depth and gravitas to the core Avantasia sound with the likes of Jorn Lande, Bob Catley, Eric Martin (Mr Big), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Michael Kiske (Helloween) and Geoff Tate also having featured on 2019’s Moonglow. Then add in Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Oliver Hartmann (At Vance), the much-travelled Herbie Langhans and hard-working Ina Morgan and you have a quite magnificent team with Sammet pulling all the strings to ensure a smooth, well balanced and cohesive mix. Having so many quality and quite different voices could have made the project quite disjointed but credit must go to Sammet and his team to ensuring continuity throughout and you can marvel at all the wonderful duets with Sammet and cohorts sounding so with it and offering up truly delightful harmonies with Sammet being the master conductor of the entire spectacle.

Sascha Paeth again shows his skills as a master guitarist as he offers up an array of killer solos which all remain very much within the operatic/symphonic template with his work being truly thrilling throughout. It may be a fantasy themed album but those expecting dragons and mythological heroes will be little disappointed as Sammet is an exquisite songwriter and deals with the mystical in a most abstract manner which makes the pictures he paints and worlds he imagines just that touch more engaging and magical. The albums roars and soars from beginning to end and is a most engaging adventure with the 10-minute album closing track, Arabesque, being a spectacular epic which reminds of Rainbow at the band’s peak.

A Paranormal Evening with The Moonflower Society

  1. Welcome To The Shadows (5:05)
  2. The Wicked Rule The Night (feat Ralf Scheepers) (4:25)
  3. Kill The Pain Away (feat Floor Jansen) (3:43)
  4. The Inmost Light (feat Michael Kiske) (3:26)
  5. Misplaced Among The Angels (feat Floor Jansen) (5:16)
  6. I Tame The Storm (feat Jorn) (3:52)
  7. Paper Plane (feat Ronnie Atkins) (3:53)
  8. The Moonflower Society (feat Bob Catley) (5:14)
  9. Rhyme And Reason (feat Eric Martin) (4:41)
  10. Scars (feat Geoff Tate) (4:13)
  11. Arabesque (feat Jorn & Michael Kiske) (10:10)

Musicians:

Tobias Sammet – lead and backing vocals, keyboards, additional bass.

Ronnie Atkins – vocals on Paper Plane.

Bob Catley – vocals on The Moonflower Society.

Floor Jansen – vocals on Kill the Pain Away and Misplaced among the Angels.

Michael Kiske – vocals on The Inmost Light & Arabesque.

Jorn Lande – vocals on I Tame the Storm & Arabesque.

Eric Martin – vocals on Rhyme and Reason.

Ralf Scheepers – vocals on The Wicked Rule the Night.

Geoff Tate – vocals on Scars.

Sascha Paeth – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass.

Felix Bohnke – drums

Oliver Hartmann – additional lead guitar on track 4 & backing vocals on tracks 1, 3, 6 & 7.

Michael Rodenberg – keyboards on track 5 and 11.

Herbie Langhans – backing vocals on tracks 1, 3, 6 & 7.

Ina Morgan – backing vocals on tracks 1, 3, 6 & 7.