Avaland: Theater Of Sorcery-2021.

Avaland:Symphonic Power Metal from France.

Discography:

Theater of SorceryFull-length2021

Members:

Camille SouffronBass
See also: Eyezery
Leo MouchonayDrums
See also: OrmagodenSangdragon, ex-Nightmare (live)
Lucas MartinezGuitars
Adrien G. GzaggVocals
See also: Eyezery, ex-Amon Sethis
Jeff KanjiVocals (2021-present)
See also: Seasons of Silence

Past Members:

Christophe FeutrierGuitars (?-2021)
See also: Eyezery

Line-Up:

Band members
Camille SouffronBass
Leo MouchonnayDrums
Lucas MartinezGuitars
Christophe FeutrierGuitars
Adrien G. GzaggVocals
Guest/Session
Zaher ZorgatiVocals (tracks 2, 3, 5, 10, 11)
Ralf ScheepersVocals (tracks 2, 11)
Zak StevensVocals (tracks 4, 11)
MadieVocals (tracks 7, 10, 11)
Fabrice EmmanuelsonVocals (tracks 1, 2, 8, 11)
Heli AndreaVocals (tracks 3, 9, 11)
Jeff KanjiVocals (tracks 3, 5, 6, 11)
Stéphan FortéGuitars (lead) (track 2)
Ricky MarxGuitars (lead) (track 1)
VirgileGuitars (lead) (track 8)
Ayman MokdadGuitars (lead) (track 7)
Miscellaneous staff
Kévin CodfertMastering
Caleb BinghamMixing
Stan-W DeckerArtwork
Adrien G. GzaggProducer

One thought on “Avaland: Theater Of Sorcery-2021.

  1. Larry6990, April 9th, 2021
    Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Rockshots Records

    Whoever is in charge of the ‘for fans of’ section for this band will be having some stern words from me. You already suckered me in with a great band name, splendid album artwork and fantastical concept – don’t then proceed to big them up unnecessarily by claiming they are for fans of bands that sound nothing like them! Yes, this is a metal opera. I therefore completely understand the comparisons to Avantasia – both musically and because both monikers start with ‘Ava-‘. However, if you go into this new record expecting it to sound like Beast In Black, Sonata Arctica or – most confusingly – Nightmare, as the recommendation reads…you will be sorely disappointed. It’s been a hell of a start to the year for symphonic power metal, with great releases from the likes of Winterage, Arcane Tales, Magic Opera, Elfsong, Ominous Glory and quite a few more. So composer Adrien G. Gzagg, at only 22 years old, has a hell of a mountain to climb with Avaland’s debut LP Theater Of Sorcery. It’s not a release that falls flat entirely, there are just some disappointing decisions here and there – not to mention I was coaxed into approaching this album with the wrong mindset.

    The foundations this record is built on are rock solid, and it’s incredible that a new face in the scene can get some genre icons like Zak from Savatage, Zaher from Myrath and Ralf from the mighty Primal Fear to join in on the action. I have to admit that their contributions are indeed impressive – but then again, when is Ralf Scheepers not impressive? Avaland does indeed bear resemblance to Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia, not only in the roster of guest stars, but also in its fantasy storytelling and overall album structure. As a whole package, Theater Of Sorcery plays out as a sort of diet version of The Metal Opera (part 2, in particular). There is a distinct lack of speed and flair, but a lot of effort has clearly gone into writing catchy hooks and having a nice overall sound. The mix might be considered too muddy for some of the more sound-engineery types out there, but I think it has a wistful, nostalgic aura. The story itself is told rather well through the lyrics and mood of each song so props to making the two, usually disparate, elements fuse nicely.

    The album gets off to a cracking start thanks to the strong duo of the opening title-track and the expansive “Gypsum Flower”. The former has a great main riff, lovely keyboard turns and an ultra-infectious chorus; whereas the latter ups the heaviness exponentially with some grinding riffs, cool synth sounds, another catchy refrain and some real characterful vocals. “Gypsum Flower” could easily be one of my favourite songs of 2021, and I hoped in vain that the rest of the album would follow suit. Gzagg is clearly capable of penning ambitious epics, so it’s a shame that potential gets kinda wasted on numbers like “Never Let Me Walk Alone” – which drags on just a tad too much – and “I’ll Be Ready For Your Love” – which nearly always sends me to sleep. When you’ve already displayed your penchant for writing exciting and dynamically interesting melody lines, just repeating the same tune 4 times for a chorus just isn’t gonna cut it. This is most noticeable on the lacklustre finale “Rise From The Ashes” which, despite its grandiose title and Léo Mouchonay’s driving drum performance, just doesn’t give us that ‘big finish’ that a self-described ‘metal opera’ should have.

    Gzagg can sure write some damn catchy hooks when he puts his mind to it. Both “Let The Wind Blow” and “Deja Vu” are swaggery, rockin’ numbers which wouldn’t sound out of place on a post-2010 Avantasia record. They both have choruses that simply refuse to leave my head. This kind of straightforward melodic hard rock/heavy metal style is all well and good, but where are the huge symphonic sections, choirs and up-tempo double-kick attacks this genre is known for? The closest we get is the speedy “Storyteller” or the celestial “Holy Kingdom Of Fools” which actually does capitalize on some early 2000s Euro-power metal glory. Overall, this might be just one track too long and spend a little too much time meandering in mid-tempo limbo. There’s a spark of real genius here and I’d love to see Gzagg make the most of his potential to be the next Tobias Sammet. After all, I’m 27 and I haven’t written a fuckin’ album! Kudos to you, my friend. Don’t write Avaland off just yet, but listen to Theater Of Sorcery with cautious patience. For actual fans of: modern Avantasia, The Ferrymen, post-Khan Kamelot.

    Like

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