Avantasia The Metal Opera

Right at this very moment, in a German record shop, there are two guys - one sporting a cut-off jean jacket emblazoned with a Fates Warning patch, the other wearing a three-quarter length sleeve Running Wild T-shirt and white hi-tops - beating the living shit out of each other over the store's last copy of this album. Nowhere but Germany could this originate or survive. Take the guitar player from Edguy (Tobias Sammet), stroking his operatic, power metal fantasies with the help of the vocalists from Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Virgin Steele, Blind Guardian, etc. and you've concocted a power metal fans' wet dream come true. However, the appeal of this will be limited in scope and range because of its utter devotion to the European power metal musical style and imagery template (the album is called The Metal Opera, for fuck's sake!). Sure, it's written and played by a talented lot who could probably confuse Al DiMeola with endless shop talk, but there's nothing here that hasn't been played a million times over since 1985. (Century Media)