The Wicked Symphony follows a similar path to its predecessors. It's epic symphonic power metal that's very melodic and features all kinds of guest musicians. The title track kicks things off, a 9 minute saga featuring Sammet on vocals along with Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and Russell Allen (Symphony X). Michael Kiske (ex-Halloween) joins the party for the accessible “Wastelands.” Things intensify with “Scales Of Justice,” a song that's heavy, but still has plenty of hooks and the powerful vocals of Tim “Ripper” Owens.
Kiske, Bob Catley (Magnum) and Lande have appeared on many previous Avantasia albums, but The Wicked Symphony marks the first appearance by Allen and Owens. Klaus Meine of the Scorpions also makes his Avantasia debut on “Dying For An Angel,” a mid-tempo song with more of a rock vibe.
“Runaway Train” is an 8 plus minute long ballad that provides plenty of room to showcase the vocal talents of Sammet, Catley, Lande and Kiske. “Crestfallen” is one of the more unique tracks, with some frantic high pitched vocals and ominous lower pitched melodies and even some industrial influences. “Black Wings” is another highlight, with heavy, almost doomy riffs contrasted by an arena friendly chorus.
W ith epic concept albums like this, it's pretty much a given that there will be filler and a throwaway track or two. That is not the case here. The Wicked Symphony isn't as heavy as Avantasia's last release, but in terms of songwriting quality and the plethora of hooks, it stands with the best work they have done.
(released May 4, 2010 on Nuclear Blast Records)