Bursting from deep within the shadow of the French Alps is a band invoking tales of sorcerous fantasy. Turn the page and travel to the realm of AVALAND. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. For the Metal Opera: Theater of Sorcery, is about to begin.
Like any grand opener for an opera, the title track sets the scene of the mystical sights we will encounter. This is the story of Adam Wilstorm. A sorcerer, whose destiny is sealed to the world of AVALAND. Full of bombast, catchy melodies, and intricate compositions, this is brilliant.
Gypsum Flower contains the additional vocals of the legendary Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR & Ex-GAMMA RAY) and MYRATH’s Zaher Zorgati, this track has incredible depth and might. Conjuring great visual imagery through the lyrics “Darkness is gathering in my kingdom” and “Can you feel the power of this mystic stone.” Continuing the adventure that AVALAND are taking us on.
Let The Wind Blow invokes the power of the storm that Adam needs to channel and harness to master his powers. There are some haunting keyboard pieces encompassed with powerful vocals and features spellbinding guitar solos too.
Storyteller features Zak Stevens (Ex- SAVATAGE & TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA) on guest vocals in the role of The Storyteller narrating visions of the past “I see the future and all the surprises it reveals”. This track has an early AVANTASIA feel, it ingrains itself in your head and makes you want to sing along and bang your head.
Escape To Paradise is reminiscent of POWER QUEST striking strong visual imagery through the lyrics “And I believe, in the land of forgiveness, and where the sun can shine again. Escape from a land of misery, I’m going to paradise.” This is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser performed live.
Holy Kingdom Of Fools would not be out of place on some of the earlier EDGUY albums (reminds me of Tears Of A Mandrake/Vain Glory Opera in structure and style) The chorus is instantly memorable “this holy kingdom of fools!” There’s some fantastic guitar work on offer here courtesy of Lucas Martinez and Christophe Feutrier, respectively. They are both masters of their craft and ones to watch because of such prowess.
Never Let Me Walk Alone details how the character of Adam judges himself, struggling with the weight of AVALAND’s fate on his shoulders: “using my power, failing all my spells, I’m just a freak, please never let me walk alone”. Featuring guest vocals from Madie (NIGHTMARE & FAITH IN AGONY) as Adam’s Guardian Angel, identifying that he is never alone and acting as a voice of reason: “Your journey is long, but I’ll never let you walk alone.”
Deja Vu highlights how much of a genius Adrien G. Gzagg is. Other than showcasing his vocal prowess it also shows how skilled he is with the keyboard on. From the piano led intro, wonderfully intertwined with true symphonic might.
I’ll Be Ready For Your Love is a ballad that really pulls on the heartstrings. It is a self-reflective account of when you are blinded by power that you can push those closest to you away. There is some beautiful harmonising between Adrien G. Gzagg and Heli Andrea (MOBIUS) included here too.
War Of Minds details the turmoil within Adam, struggling to maintain the balance and conflicting views of his Inner Voice (Zaher Zorgati) “I’m the black beast inside your head, the chaos in your mind” and his Guardian Angel (Madie) “don’t let it consume your being” Anaphorically referencing the events of the album so far.
Rise From The Ashes features all the guest artists previously utilised throughout, and is a triumphant swansong for this album to come to a close. There is a beautiful and harmonious dual guitar solo which makes one feel empowered.
This album is spellbinding! This debut shows such musical prowess and strength, further bolstered by an extremely strong selection of guest artists AVALAND are surely destined for greatness.
The metal opera genre never ceases to amaze me with the creative narratives bands develop, to conjure new worlds of fantasy to discover. This masterpiece deserves recognition alongside its other metal opera counterparts. The realm of AVALAND certainly has more stories left to tell.
Words: Martin White
Theater Of Sorcery is out now.
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