AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen (also ex-BODINE, VENGEANCE) has been confirmed as one of the guest musicians who will appear on "The Mystery Of Time", the new album from EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet's AVANTASIA project. Also scheduled to make appearances on the CD are Michael Kiske (UNISONIC, HELLOWEEN), SAXON frontman Biff Byford, former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Russell Gilbrook of URIAH HEEP.
Commented Sammet: "To me, he used to be what John D. Rockerduck is to Scrooge McDuck: an adamant longtime rival; in our case, when it comes to producing rock operas. Well, if you can't beat your enemy, make him your ally! And so I opened the door and literally invited pestilence into my world, ha!
"Seriously, the truth is that the 'pestilence' I'm talking about is really one of the nicest, coolest and loveliest plagues I've ever come to know, an ambitious artist through and through and a real great guitar player. So, having just come back from a shopping tour in 2912 — where apparently he found himself a brand new pair of bad-ass pants and boots — he went into the studio to record some additional lead guitar for the forthcoming AVANTASIA album, 'The Mystery Of Time': AYREON mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen!"
A YouTube clip containing footage of the orchestra recordings as well as a rough-mix sample of a song featuring Kiske is available below.
Bruce previously appeared on AVANTASIA's "The Wicked Symphony" and "Angel Of Babylon" CDs and Tobias contributed guest vocals to Bruce's last solo release, "BK3".
The new AVANTASIA CD is being recorded in part at VOX Klangstudio in Bendestorf, Germany with producer Sascha Paeth (KAMELOT, EDGUY, EPICA, RHAPSODY).
Immediately after the release of "The Mystery Of Time", a metal opera based on a story written by Sammet, the band will embark on a full-fledged indoor tour, during which the band and special guests will bring the epic undertaking to the stage.
Since the performances will embrace all the different eras and history of AVANTASIA, these shows will feature an extended playing time and the entire evening will be dedicated to AVANTASIA with no support acts.
Tobias originally wanted to put AVANTASIA to rest after the release of the "The Flying Opera - Around The World In 20 Days" concert DVD in April 2011, but he has since had a change of heart. He explains, "Even though I love to record and tour with EDGUY, I didn't foresee how much I need AVANTASIA when I decided to finish this chapter of my life in 2011. I didn't know if there would be another AVANTASIA album one day, but I didn‘t feel like doing it. After the worldwide success of the latest studio releases, an arena world tour that was sold out pretty much everywhere, collaborations with childhood heroes like Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Eric Singer of KISS, etc. 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!"
Pictured below: Arjen Lucassen