Avaland – Theater Of Sorcery
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 62:53
Review by Beth Jones
France is not necessarily the first country I think of when it comes to exciting European metal. But recently there seems to be a heck of a lot of good music coming out from bands based there. And Avaland is certainly no exception to this rule. The brainchild of Adrien G. Gzagg, Avaland is an Epic/Symphonic Heavy Metal Opera project, and their first album, “Theater Of Sorcery,” has just landed. Now, this genre, I know, can be pretty chalk and cheese. Some people love it, some just think it’s pretentious. Personally, I can’t get enough of it! It is lavish joyfulness, created by melding together musical artforms, in a way that would make the ancient apothecaries fawn! So, what does this latest offering from the guilty pleasure gods bring? Well let’s find out!
“Theatre Of Sorcery” is a tale of adventure; the story of a young sorcerer, Adam Wilstorm, on a quest to bring back the light to the kingdom of Avaland. But, to succeed, he must learn to harness the storm within his powers. It’s a huge production, and a pretty astonishing composition, as Adrien is only 22! And it features some well-healed guest stars, too; Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Zak Stevens (Savatage/TSO), Zaher Zorgati (Myrath), Emmanuelson (Rising Steel), Stéphan Forté (Adagio), and Madie (Nightmare) to name but a few.
The album begins with the title track, which sets the scene for this grand production. It’s theatrical and I can imagine it looking spectacular on a stage. Musically, it’s good solid Heavy Metal, with a twist of Power, and Symphonic. In places, it almost reminds me of Jeff Wayne’s “War Of The Worlds,” but with a heavier, metal twist.
Good solid Metal anthems pepper this album, but they’re embellished with classical orchestration, choral harmonies, and traditional folk instruments, that sit in the mix, making for a very exuberant and indulgent feast of musical joy. But alongside that are crunching riffs and rhythms that you just have to bang your head to. And what Epic theatrical metal opera masterpiece would be complete without some face-melting guitar solos? Well, certainly not this one, as they’re also there by the bucket load, courtesy of some big-name guitarists.
I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Deja-Vu’. It starts with a solitary melancholy piano, but quickly launches into a powerful rhythmic track, with melodic verses, and peaks and troughs that make it punchy and exciting. It also has one of those delicious guitar solos that I alluded to earlier. I’m going to skirt over the fact that this track fades out at the end. As you’ll know, this is one of my pet hates, so there was a touch of inner turmoil for me with this, because I really like it!! I will also add that it’s not the only song to succumb to the dreaded fade out.
Production wise, no corners have been cut either. Placing of instruments, panning, and effects are all used to their full potential, to explore the depth and expansiveness of recorded music, making this a much more mature album than you’d expect from a debut penned by someone of such a tender young age. (I am almost green with envy right now! At 22 I could barely write a second-rate pop song, let alone an entire metal opera!) There’s nothing new or groundbreaking about this album, but if the likes of Avantasia do it for you, then you’ll love this album.
‘Theater Of Sorcery’ (Official Video)
01. Theater Of Sorcery (feat. Emmanuelson)
02. Gypsum Flower (feat. Scheepers/Emmanuelson/Zorgati)
03. Let the Wind Blow (feat. Zorgati/Heli/Kanji)
04. Storyteller (feat. Zak Stevens)
05. Escape To Paradise (feat. Zorgati/Kanji)
06. Holy Kingdom Of Fools (feat. Jeff Kanji)
07. Never Let Me Walk Alone (feat. Madie)
08. Deja-Vu (feat. Emmanuelson)
09. I’ll Be Ready For Your Love (feat. Heli Andrea)
10. War Of Minds (feat. Zorgati/Madie)
11. Rise From The Ashes (feat. Zorgati/ Madie/ Stevens/ Heli/ Kanji/ Emmanuelson/ Scheepers)
Adrien G. Gzagg – Composer, Writer, Lead Singer, Keyboards and Orchestrations
Christophe Feutrier – Guitars
Lucas Martinez – Guitars
Camille Souffron – Bass, Double-Bass
Léo Mouchonay – Drums
Guests / Characters:
Adrien G. Gzagg – Adam Wilstorm
Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) – Adam’s Inner Voice
Jeff Kanji – Jacob Reiser, Adam’s Best Friend
Heli Andrea (Mobius/Olane) – Solveig Elweiss, Adam’s Beloved
Emmanuelson (Rising Steel/Ellipsis) – The Master Of Sorcery
Zak Stevens (Ex-Savatage/TSO/Archon Angel) – The Storyteller, appearing form the past
Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear/ex-Gamma Ray) – Aloïsius Jestens, King Of Avaland
Madie (Nightmare/Faith In Agony) – The Guardian Angel
Ricky Marx (Ex-Pretty Maids/Now Or Never) on ‘Theater Of Sorcery’
Stéphan Forté (Adagio) on ‘Gypsum Flower’
Ayman Mokdad (Venus Syndrome/Alien Encounters) on ‘Never Let Me Walk Alone’
Virgile (ex-Rising Steel/Schräpnel) on ‘Deja-Vu’
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.