AVANTASIA, the project led by EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet, will embark on a four-week tour in December 2010. In addition, AVANTASIA has been confirmed for next year's edition of the Wacken Open Air festival, which takes place annually in the small town of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany.
"It's gonna be a once-in-a-lifetime affair!" said Sammet when the all-star project first set off on a world tour a few years ago. And although it seemed impossible to bring the project onto the stage after an extensive preparatory time, AVANTASIA headlined some of the biggest summer festivals in 2008. To this day, many fans recall the AVANTASIA live shows as magical, once-in-a-lifetime concert experiences.
Commented Sammet: "There has always been the desire to do it again, but, of course, there is always a risk. It requires a huge amount of time and energy; there are no figures based on experience, because I don't know anybody who has taken an all-star metal opera on the road to play indoor venues. The stage production is abnormally expensive and you must not forget the many people who are involved and who come from different parts of the world. It requires a good timing.
"At some point we sat together and checked if and how we could possibly do it once again and we soon found out that December 2010 would be the right period to do a real tour.
"I admit that four weeks [is] not really a long time frame, but it's better to do a short tour than no tour at all. And if we hadn't taken that chance, it would have never happened because we will come with a lot of musicians and vocalists and it's a nightmare to mind all our individual schedules with our main bands."
Unlike AVANTASIA's festival tour of 2008, the band's upcoming dates will be full-fledged headlining performances, with the group performing longer sets than has been the case in the past.
"It was great to play Wacken and Sweden Rock Festival, but playing a festival you only have so much time," explained Sammet. "You play ten songs and people have a party and everybody's got fun. But doing our own tour, we can really create an atmosphere, we can play a lot longer and take people on a journey through the history of AVANTASIA. We can actually take people to the world of AVANTASIA itself.
"Fans can expect a bombastic concert experience.
"Many so-called 'metal operas' have been released on albums recently, but AVANTASIA will bring it on stage and take fans around the globe with them.
"You can't compare a normal band to what we are going to do. If all your favourite singers appear on one stage at the same night to take you on a musical journey, then this isn't just great, it's über-great!"
AVANTASIA released its new epic masterpiece on April 3 as regular CDs ("The Wicked Symphony" and "Angel Of Babylon"), two separate double picture vinyls, and as a beautiful collector's edition with an AVANTASIA picture book. The deluxe box set features two CDs in two digibooks with impressive booklets, codes for online content (like bonus tracks, etc.) and the AVANTASIA book "The Wicked Trilogy", including many never-before-seen photos from the tour and from photo sessions, etc. An exclusive interview, liner notes, and a biography is also included. All the album versions were released simultaneously on April 3, so no one ise forced to buy everything piece by piece; instead everyone is able to choose a version of his/her choice right from the release date.
"The Wicked Symphony" / "Angel Of Babylon" first-week chart positions:
Czech Republic: #6
"Dying For An Angel", the new video from AVANTASIA, can be viewed below. The clip was shot in late January at the ancient town hall in Hannover, Germany and features a special guest appearance by SCORPIONS singer Klaus Meine.
"The Wicked Symphony" and "Angel Of Babylon" are the continuation of the trilogy that began with the 2008 album "The Scarecrow".
The cover artwork for the two CDs (see below) was created by Thomas Ewerhard, who also worked on EDGUY's "Hellfire Club" and AVANTASIA's "The Scarecrow" albums.
"The Wicked Symphony" track listing:
01. The Wicked Symphony
03. Scales Of Justice
04. Dying For An Angel
05. Blizzard On A Broken Mirror
06. Runaway Train
08. Forever Is A Long Time
09. Black Wings
10. States Of Matter
11. The Edge
"Angel Of Babylon" track listing:
01. Angel Of Babylon
03. Your Love Is Evil
04. Death Is Just A Feeling
05. Rat Race
06. Down In The Dark
07. Blowing Out The Flame
08. Symphony Of Life
09. Alone I Remember
10. Promised Land 2
11. Journey To Arcadia
The following guest musicians appear on the new AVANTASIA opus:
* Klaus Meine (SCORPIONS)
* Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ICED EARTH)
* Eric Singer (KISS, ALICE COOPER)
* Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN)
* Jorn Lande (MASTERPLAN, ARK, MILLENIUM)
* Bob Catley (MAGNUM)
* Sascha Paeth
* Felix Bohnke (EDGUY)
* Alex Holzwarth (RHAPSODY, SIEGES EVEN)
* Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X)
* Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS, DIO, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN)
* André Matos (ANGRA, SHAAMAN, VIPER)
* Bruce Kulick (KISS, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD)
* Cloudy Yang
* Oliver Hartmann (AT VANCE, HARTMANN)
* Jon Oliva (JON OLIVA'S PAIN, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, SAVATAGE)
Regarding his decision to release the new AVANTASIA chapter in two separate CDs, Tobias said, "I have always given my very best, but this new chapter in AVANTASIA's history is too much and too ambitious to be just a regular album. I have worked on it for years now, and it has become even more than two albums!
"I knew that story would be spread out over two albums back then when we started working on it in 2006, 'cause we had written a real rock opera of over 20 songs even back then. But since then, we kept composing, and out came even bigger and better material.
"Looking at the music industry today with all the CD burning and downloading, I guess in the near future many of us traditional rock and metal bands won't be able to spend such a production budget. I am afraid I won't be able to afford so many guests and such a big production with orchestration and a choir and all that. That's why this production takes so much time; it may be the last big epic I will be able to afford, and I want it to be the biggest piece I have worked on so far."
Kiske has appeared on every AVANTASIA album so far, including the first two full-length releases, "The Metal Opera" (2001) and "The Metal Opera Pt. II" (2002).
On the topic of the new AVANTASIA album's musical direction, Sammet stated, "We've got quite many songs, and it ranges from epic ballads to metal opera. From pop to hard rock to folk to speed metal. My best friend, who co-wrote the story of 'The Metal Opera' back then, just listened to some of the tracks and he said that it will blow people away and enchant AVANTASIA fans and it will surely piss people off . . . It's just enchanting music. And these days honest and good music is kind of offending to some, that's pretty sick, isn't it? But as long as I get goose bumps hearing majestic music, I do not really care if I am fashionable or not."