Avantasia: Ghostlights

Silliness on an epic scale.

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Overblown, pompous, utterly preposterous. Yes, the seventh album from Tobias Sammet’s ongoing rock opera project is all of these things. And better for it. Part Trans Siberian Orchestra, part Meat Loaf, part late 80s Helloween, it’s over-the-top fun all the way.

Guest vocalists like Geoff Tate (on the Queensrÿche-esque Seduction Of Decay), Sharon den Adel (on the brooding Isle Of Evermore) and Dee Snider (featured on the menacing plunge of The Haunting) give the album a wide variety of differing flavours.

But what links it all together is Sanmet’s vision, in the process creating an apocalyptic power metal symphony. The storyline carries on from previous album The Mystery Of Time, all about the search for the meaning of existence. Well, nothing less would do justice to the vast expanses of glorious arrogance created here.

One song, the more-Meat-Loaf-than-Meat-Loaf-himself Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose, has even been put forward for the Eurovision Song Contest, making this overloaded album even more enticing.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021