Avantasia (AFM) 2000
Limited edition CD prerelease single for Avantasia and includes the bonus track "The final sacrifice" which is sung by David de Feis (Virgin Steele) Michael Kiske of Helloween fame is listed as only "Ernie" in the writing credits.
Avantasia - Avantasia: The Metal Opera (AFM) 2001
Avantasia is the brainchild of Tobias Sammet of Edguy fame. Tobias manages to get some of the finest power metal and progressive metal artists to combine their efforts here to tell a story, that frankly is less interesting to me than the music itself. Avantasia combine the Euro-metal sounds of bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian and Edguy to create a stunning progressive heavy metal disc. Each song is sung by a variety of awesome talents, including ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske, ex-Angra vocalist Andre Matos, Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), David Deferis (Virgin Steele), Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius) and extraordinary vocalist Rob Rock. Likewise, the musicians are an equally impressive list of talents. At times the music is fast speed metal, almost like early Helloween. At other times the music is purely symphonic . The Metal Opera (Part 1) is a masterwork of symphonic heavy metal. I can't imagine any fan of Euro-metal not loving this disc. I really liked Defeis' work on "Serpents of Paradise", one of the albums stand-out tracks. Of course anything Rob Rock sings over will sound great, and "The Glory of Rome" is no exception.
Avantasia - Avantasia: The Metal Opera - Part II (AFM) 2002
The Metal Opera Part II features more of the same Euro-symphonic metal, but as far as I am concerned this disc is the winner of the two. Since I got both discs on the same day, I didn't have any expectations of what Part II would sound like. The diversity is still a big part of this disc, but somehow the songs seem a little more appealing. At times I am reminded of more recent Savatage, especially during a few of the piano parts. The epic opening track can only be described as majestic. I was also quite fond of the aggressive "The Final Sacrifice" which once again features the blistering vocals of David Defeis. (Think I might have to check out some more Virgin Steele after hearing his performance on these discs.)