I recently spoke to Tobias Sammet of Avantasia. He was fantastic to speak to. We spoke about the 'Ghostlights' album and tour, and then about the new album, 'Moonglow', and the upcoming tour of Australia. He chats about who is coming on the tour, some big names indeed.
Check the interview, massive press release, and lyric video clip for Raven Child below.
AVANTASIA, the all-star rock opera spaceship piloted by EDGUY singer, songwriter and producer Tobias Sammet, release their eighth full-length album, 'Moonglow', via Nuclear Blast Records on February 15th 2019. Since its beginning in 1999, past AVANTASIA releases have featured such galactic heavyweights as Alice Cooper, Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker (SCORPIONS), Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer (KISS), Eric Martin (MR BIG), SAXON’s Biff Byford, ex-TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider and many more.
This new 11-song record sees Sammet, among the most talented and popular names in German hard rock and metal, reunited with some familiar faces from previous AVANTASIA albums. These include original QUEENSRYCHE lead singer Geoff Tate, PRETTY MAIDS frontman Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske of HELLOWEEN, Jørn Lande (ex-MASTERPLAN), Eric Martin (MR BIG) and MAGNUM’s Bob Catley. 'Moonglow' also introduces new collaborators Hansi Kürsch of BLIND GUARDIAN, KREATOR’s Mille Petrozza and BLACKMORE’S NIGHT frontwoman Candice Night in truly spectacular fashion.
Sammet began work on 'Moonglow' two years ago, following the completion of the previous AVANTASIA tour. A constant collector of musical ideas, Tobias used the time offered by a blank schedule to expand upon those existing kernels of songs and build upon them, allowing the music to really percolate.
“For the foreseeable future none of my bands were scheduled to do anything but an anniversary celebration of Edguy,” he recalls. “For the first time I had no deadline or contract… nothing. I was completely free. The plan was to take a break, but the freedom I found presented me with more and more ideas. The material had time to grow. It was a very relaxed way of working, especially because with the help of Sascha Paeth [co-producer and long-time AVANTASIA cohort] I had built my own studio which helped me to work at my own pace whenever I came home from creative breaks in England, which I found to be extremely inspiring.”
Just like its predecessor 'Ghostlights', which took the listener on a journey that asked questions about their very existence, 'Moonglow' also is dark, spine-chilling and eminently fascinating. “In a way, its lyrical topics are quite dreamy,” theorizes Sammet. “There’s no end of the world touch; I see these songs as having a Tim Burton-esque eeriness.”
Another commonality with 'Ghostlights' is that 'Moonglow' is conceptually based. “Yeah, the songs are interlinked,” Sammet confirms. “Each song is a chapter based upon a creature that is thrown into the world but fails to find its place. It cannot connect with that environment and turns instead to the dark in the hope of finding shelter there.
The lyrics are very personal but wrapped up in a fantastic surrounding inspired by writers of dark romanticism, especially gothic novels of the Victorian era by the likes of Arthur Machen or Algernon Blackwood. Yes, it’s a concept album but don’t expect elves walking through the forest,” laughs Tobi.
Once again Sammet wrote all of the album’s material with the exception of its cover track, a rocked-up re-make of Michael Sembello’s 'Maniac', a hit from the smash 1981 movie 'Flashdance'. Along with the aforementioned Sascha Paeth, Tobias also acted as the record’s producer.
The first single, the 11 minute epic 'The Raven Child' starring guest vocalists Hansi Kürsch and Jorn Lande will be released in December. The second single 'Moonglow' with the partner of DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Candice Night as a guest vocalist will be released in January.
The limited edition of the album also features a special bonus track called 'Heart' which features only on the album’s first shipment. The song concerned is a heart-felt tribute to the Steve Perry-fronted era of AOR legends JOURNEY. The record’s spectacular cover artwork was created by Alexander Jansson. Its art book edition includes paintings by the Victorian-era artist John Atkinson Grimshaw whose work adorns the walls of Tobias’ study. “To me those drawings are very special and they reflect the mood of the album,” he explains.
The Moonglow World Tour kicks off in Slovakia at the end of March, taking in many of the biggest cities in Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia and North, Central and South America. “It’s so difficult to co-ordinate the schedules of everybody who’d like to appear, which is what makes Avantasia tours so precious,” Sammet states. “With the configurations featured on each record, these events are unlikely to happen again.”
The Moonglow World Tour is certain to be among the premiere hard rock attractions of 2019. Miss them at your peril.
Metalhead who hates bad parking.