Avalon - Eurasia


Year of Release: 2000
Label: Sensory
Catalog Number: SR3010
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:43:00

This is an alternative version of the October 2000 review Larry wrote.

Avalon has always been on the verge of writing that one disc that puts every progressive metal band on the map. Their "mystical" approach to music since the release of Mystical Places has always enthralled listeners, but there was an ingredient missing that would put them on the map. With the addition of Chity Somapala on Vision Eden, it was clear that the band had the lineup, but still needed the special ingredient(s) that everyone craves so much these days in progressive metal music. Avalon proceeded to write the disc that would propel them into the hearts of prog metal fans, and then throw in a superb production by the great Sascha Paeth, who is showing up everywhere on great discs. It's no surprise that great sound goes hand in hand with great music, at least in the progressive metal world, and the combination of sound, writing, and great vocals make Avalon's Eurasia a great disc from start to finish.

You may remember Angra's Holy Land from years back ? a disc that certainly went hand in hand in defining what great prog metal was all about. It's certainly no secret that Eurasia makes more than one reference to the "Holy Land", although musically the discs have nothing in common except for great playing from both bands, and great vocal performances from the singers who make both discs memorable from start to finish.

Musically, Eurasia is a mixture of signature Avalon melodic metal tinged with tons of progressive elements. The heavy, melodic metal sound combines with mystical undertones and acoustic ballads and create a combination of sounds that are not easy to forget and you may find yourself humming any of the tunes at any time depending on your mood. While Vision Eden was more melodically driven and straight forward, Eurasia is certainly a change for the band in the writing dept. One can still hear the Avalon metal sound being driven in the background, while the progressive / foreign elements lead the way. The quiet, acoustic, simplistic ballads tell a story rather then try to impress, and it's easy to imagine one sitting around on a desert in Asia contemplating life. Each song is written differently than the previous, and tells a story of a land filled with emotional spirit rather than try to dazzle the ear with guitar solos and progressive hooks that might otherwise detract from the music. Just the right amount of both is injected into the music to not only be musically interesting, but getting lost in the story is part of the intrigue to the disc as a whole.

The addition of Chitral "Chity" Somapala was a wise and prosperous decision for the band. It's no secret that I've often compared Chity's voice to that of Klaus Meine (Scorpions); a singer who I've felt could not only belt out the tunes effortlessly and rock with the best, but also who could capture an emotional moment quite easily and with conviction, and on Eurasia, Chity gets to really diversify his voice and show what he can do with it. From rocking, ballsy tunes like "Black Hole Wisdom" (what I consider strong Avalon past), to quiet acoustic passages like "Save The Holy Land", Chity plows through the songs with ease. With his Meine-like tone, he ranges from normal mid-range warmth, to higher levels, and down to mellow croonings all with conviction that allows the listener to believe that he believes in what he is singing.

The production is higher than average quality thanks to the sound of Sascha Paeth, who is making his way to every great prog metal disc from East to West these days. Listen to the the bongos being struck in the background of "Save The Holy Land" and then listen to the power behind the guitars in "Black Hole Wisdom" while all the time being able to hear Chity's words through it all. It's not necessary to describe a production when it comes with Paeth's name on it - it's assumed and accepted that everything he has a hand in will sound good, and "Eurasia" is just another example of how important it is to have great sound behind a great disc.

It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Avalon. The hard part for bands in general in the progressive metal world is getting placed on the map, considering the small but growing acceptance of the genre. The hardest part will be to either top the quality that put them on the map in the first place, or at least maintain the same level of quality that put them there in the first place. With Avalon, considering their rise to the map with quality music in the past, it's safe to bet that their next disc will be a crowd pleaser as well.


Tracklisting:
Aurora (2:11) / Burning Souls (4:31) / Temujin (4:52) / Black Hole Wisdom (4:27) / Eternal Flame (7:23) / Save The Holy Land (4:29) / The Last Call (5:19) / Eurasia (3:07) / The Stranger (4:59) / The Painting (4:09) Kyrie (3:29) / Semaruma (2:47)

Musicians:
Chitral Somapala - vocals
Sebastian Eder - guitars
Petra Delorian - bass
Jens Kuckelkorn - keyboards
Jacques Voutay - drums

Discography:
Why Now (1995)
Mystic Places (1998)
Vision Eden (1998)
Eurasia (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: June 5th 2001
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.omegarecords.de/avalon
Hits: 671
Language: english

  

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