Imagine if Fellini went metal – review of Avantasia’s “A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society”

Author Silvia Tortiglione - 22.11.2022

Although released on 21 October 2022, “A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society” is an album that goes beyond time and invites us not to stop dreaming. In other words, imagine a fusion between Tim Burton and the darkest Federico Fellini: here we have the cream of the crop, the ultimate realization of Avantasia metal opera.

Tobias Sammet’s show opens with “Welcome To The Shadow”, whose first notes vibrate on a calm beginning, that slowly brings back winter vibes of restless sleep. A moment later, the scene explodes, and the vocal skills of Tobias evoke the natural appeal of the moon in everyone’s consciousness. Follows “The Wicked Rule The Night“, with the gritty collaboration of Ralf Scheepers (ex-Gamma Ray, Primal Fear), a run into the thunder that anticipates a sort of woman’s touch. Interestingly, the presence of Floor Jansen is introduced by the choir’s crescendo, which gradually reveals the well-known potential of the Nightwish singer. A true waltz in the meadow of energy. After Floor’s stunning performance, “The Inmost Light” featuring Michael Kiske (Halloween) breaks the curtain and depicts what could be called the ancient anthem of Avantasia: an interval of authentic power metal, interpreted by one of the best vocalists in the genre.

Fairytale moment, alias ballad moment: “Misplaced Among The Angels”, which again offers the co-presence of a brilliant Floor, plays on the alternation of light and shadow almost in the manner of Beethoven; a real sound journey from the abyss to heaven.“I Tame the Storm” returns to the catchy sound of a power metal quest, with an incredible performance by Avantasia’s favorite guest Jørn Lande; and “Paper Plane”, which we could almost rename Peter Pan Song, in nice assonance, opens to dreamy and poetic atmospheres, with a sweetness that seems to paraphrase the color and nuances of the cover artwork. A small flying theater, a moment of compositional and sentimental intensity, where Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) stands out.

It’s time for the title track. “The Moonflower Society” (feat. Bob Catley), is probably one of the highlights of the entire album. Bob Catley, now more than seventy, manages to make the nocturnal and well-paced rhythm of the song flourish. The piece pushes toward children’s emotions, a real state of amazement. It is one of those songs that make you want to say: “beyond everything, it still makes me feel good.” The closure is near. “Rhyme And Reason” with the collaboration of Eric Martin and “Scars” featuring Geoff Tate, thanks to their strong melodic structure, and their glorious riffs, prepare the folkish finale. “Arabesque” – an adventurous duet by Tobias and Kiske – recalls the ancient art of storytelling, with warm modulations.

To tell, and do this in every possible way. This is the greatest potential of “A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society”. This album is a crystal dream: the light generates many variations, and the substance remains solid in the form of the Avantasia project. Without a doubt, a sound moment of pure escapism.