2013 - The Mistery Of Time
Information Avantasia The Mystery Of Time
- Recorded at VOX Klangstudio in Bendestorf, Germany & Gatestudio, Wolfsburg, Germany.
- Produced by Sascha Paeth & Tobias Sammet.
- Mixed by Sascha Paeth at Gatestudio, Wolfsburg, Germany.
- Mastered by Miro Rodenberg & Sascha Paeth at Gatestudio.
- Additional recordings by Simon Oberender and additional engineering by Ole Reitmeier.
- Release date on 29th, March 2013 in Europe and 27th in Japan and 30th in USA.
- Running time 62 min.
Live DVD: Avantasia would film the exclusive and extra long show of Masters of Rock festival 2013 to release a live DVD!
Different editions of The Mystery Of Time
Edition 1. CD Digibook: 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks: 'The Cross And You' and 'Death Is Just A Feeling'.
Edition 2. CD Standard: 10 tracks.
Edition 3: 2CD EARBOOK 1 (Limited edition): 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks + 2nd CD.
Edition 4: 2CD EARBOOK 2 (Limited: 150 copies): 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks + 2nd CD and cover artwork printed on canvas 40x40.
Edition 5: CD Replacement Nuclear Blast: 10th track of the 2nd CD was damaged, the label replaced.
Edition 6: CD Japanese Standard: 10 tracks + 2 bonus in standard case (same than Argentinian)
Edition 7: 2CD Japanese SHM edition: 10 tracks + 2 bonus + 2nd CD, SHM high quality.
Edition 8: 2CD Korean edition: 10 tracks + 2 bonus + 2nd CD in standard 2CD case.
Edition 9. 2LP BLACK VINYL: 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks.
Edition 10: 2LP PICTURE VINYL: 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks.
Edition 11: 2LP CLEAR VINYL (Limited 250 copies): 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks.
Edition 12: 2LP GOLD VINYL (Limited 100 copies FirePower Records): 10 tracks + 2 bonus tracks, Gold vinyl in Gatefold + Poster.
Edition13: 2LP BLUE VINYL (Limited 250 copies): 10 tracks + 2 bonus in a Blue vinyl + poster.
Edition 14: 2LP BROWN VINYL (Limited 250 copies): 10 tracks + 2 bonus in Brown vinyl + poster. Edited April 20th.
Edition 15: Press promo (Nuclear Blast): 10 tracks.
- The first single is 'Sleepwalking', a ballad sung by Tobias with the German vocalist Cloudy Yang. It will be released digitally on March 22th, but in USA on 26th.
Tobias: "I chose 'Sleepwalking' as single because is the only track less than 4-minutes long (laughs). It would have not sense to choose a track of 10-minutes long. This song has a nice tempo, style and good length to be played at the radio. But nobody will play my music at the radio..."
The main band is formed by Tobias Sammet on vocals and bass, Michael Rodenberg on keyboards, Sascha Paeth and Oliver Hartmann on guitars and Russell Gilbrook on drums there is also the collaboration with The German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, which was directed by Günter Joseck. Tobias said about the collaboration with them:
"For the first time in the history of Avantasia, we're working with a real symphonic orchestra: The German Film Orchestra Babelsberg! You may remember it, they have worked with Rammstein, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, and also with Edguy on the Hellfire Club album. It's an enchanting fairytale we are working on, so we really have no choice but to finally have a real orchestra - after all it's an epic Rock-, or probably Metal Opera!"
Guests on vocals: Michael Kiske, Joe Lynn Turner (ex-RAINBOW, ex-DEEP PURPLE), Biff Byford (SAXON), Cloudy Yang, Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Eric Martin (MR. BIG) and Bob Catley (MAGNUM). On guitars: Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, VENGEANCE) and Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS). On keyboards/organ: Ferdy Doernberg (AXEL RUDI PELL).
Backing vocalist/Choir are Amanda Somerville, Sunny Yang, Thomas Rettke, Robert Hunecke and Oliver Hartmann.
The cover artwork was done by the British fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, here is the press statement about the cover and his work.
Amongst Rodney's most famous artworks are not only album covers for Rock legends such as Magnum, Thin Lizzy, Asia or Nazareth. He has also designed the characters for the TV-series “Lavender Castle“ and created the covers for novels by British fantasy author Michael Moorcock and many more.Tobias: “It is a great honour for me to have Rodney create the artwork of ‘The Mystery Of Time‘. Since the new album is a conceptual album and its story has a magical and enchanting atmosphere, there was no other painter I could think of to create the artwork. I've had several creative conversations with Rodney during the process and I had the feeling that the concept was inspiring to him right from the start. I put a lot of energy into producing a very detailed and fascinating album, and Rodney had that same enthusiasm to create an artwork just as detailed and fascinating. This is a new chapter in AVANTASIA's history and I think it didn't deserve less than a magical painting by my favorite painter and childhood hero: The one and only Rodney Matthews!“
Booklet design & layout by Thomas Ewerhard, photos taken by Alex Kuehr and live photo by Friso Gentsch.
The photo session for this album was done by the German proffesional photographer Alex Kuehr with who worked previously in Avantasia and also with the band Edguy.
The video was shot in a magical forest in Germany on a snowy winter‘s night. Tobias comments: "We’re going to release “Sleepwalking”, because it’s a poppier song and it’s a shorter song. It was far below freezing. It was a very exciting atmosphere, we were shooting it in the forest, in a snow storm, there was a castle, it was very enchanting pictures. There we were, standing in the snow storm for hours, walking through a haunted forest. It felt a bit like Sleepy Hollow meets Brothers Grimm, but the pictures that came out were really great and compensated for the torture."
History behind The Mystery Of Time
After being done a double album and a successful tour in 2010 it was obvious that Avantasia will come back again. Avantasia tour in 2010 was very short and difficult to schedule because musicians have to work in their main bands, but now with more time and better planning in advance, it would be different.
What about Kiske collaboration? It's not need to be a genius to know it would be difficult to make an Avantasia album without Kiske (yes, you know is true). In the middle of the promotional campaign of Edguy's album Age Of The Joker, Tobias realized he wanted to reactivate the Avantasia project soon, so he decided at the end of 2011 and they had time to coordinate the schedules. During the promotional tour before Michael released the Unisonic album, he had to answer a lot of questions about how the band would work with Kai Hansen since he would stay in Gamma Ray and he always answered the same typical quote: "2012 is the Unisonic year and 2013 the Gamma Ray year meanwhile I will work in my next solo album and Avantasia." So Kiske never hided that he would work again with Avantasia since the end of 2011.
Tobias started to writting the album concept on February-March 2012, he felt the need to come back to the magic spirit of the Metal Opera, that's why he created a conceptual album, a timeless fairytale inspired by happenings of our modern age and society. Tobias commented about the history: "The main character of the story is a young scientist who is agnostic, and he realizes that everyone around him waste their time and each day less and less time to do things. It's like the wheel of time suddenly move much faster. And the scientist thinks that happens for a reason and a purpose, which is to steal the time to the people to avoid they could focus on what really matters. At the point actually starts a little detective story. The main character realizes that something is going on here and starts to investigate at full time, all that happens. He finds contradictions between his professional convictions as scientist and his spiritual being. Then he starts a journey to explain the coherence between natural science, spirituality, time, the wheel of time." So here is the summary of the history we can read in the booklet. About the album title, the first idea was "A Brief Mystery of Time" refering to "A Brief History of Time", the book of the physicist Stephen Hawkins.
When the music and the history were ready Tobias started thinking which vocalist has to take each character. Michael and Bob Catley were easy because he already wrote songs having their voice in mind; Jorn Lande was not available so he got Biff Byford and Ronnie Atkins to take his place, then an old option he tried years before like Eric Martin. Tobias tried for a second time with the German vocalist Yvonne Catterfeld but her management didn't like the song 'Sleepwalking' and they requested changes, Tobias didn't want to change anything so he got Cloudy Yang and the last one was Joe Lynn Turner as Tobias said: "it's always needed a few new faces."
After the release of the album, Avantasia will be back on tour making some festivals and as a headliner indoor tour where they will play a 3-hours set. The confirmed line-up until now including Tobias is: the main team is formed by Sascha Paeth's team (Miro on keys, an unknown on bass, Sascha and Oliver on guitars), Felix Bohnke as drummer and the following vocalists: Michael Kiske, Eric Martin, Amanda Somerville, Thomas Rettke and Bob Catley.
Kiske about Tobias Sammet's Avantasia
Kiske about the album: "This album contains sort of classical hymn. It is very melodic, energetic and positive, and full of what it makes Avantasia. I enjoyed the recording very much.
Kiske about The Mystery Of Time Hystory: "I really like the story that Tobi developed in this album. I think it is important to bring such story into Heavy Metal. Our society in our age is so ill. People feel empty and sick, and they run away to alcohol and drugs, turning away from questions of life. At outside of our soul, there are too much stuff going on at fast pace, while soul suffers from emptiness even more. That's a part of the story Tobi tells in this Avantasia album. I am glad that he deals with such theme because I think it is very important issue. He had been working on a story a long before he started to write songs, and he had sent me a loooong email before."
Kiske about 'Where Clock Hands Freeze': "Tobi always wants me to sing that type of song (laughs) It was great feeling singing as well. Because I still really like what I used to do! Tobi, who composes a song with my voice in his mind, his songs always carry "Helloween" type of emotions."
Kiske about ''Savior In The Clockwork': "I think I was the first to record the vocal. I did my part, listening to Tobi's guide vocal. Actually I haven't listen to the finished song, so I don't know how it turned out. Sure it is fun if other singer's recording were there, but unless all of us record at a studio at the same time, someone has to do it first. So, there is no problem. I just do what I've got to do. I think of melodies and sing for a few times. Sometimes, it comes along right away, other times it takes longer. But I keep singing till it feels right. I do what I do and it doesn't matter who sings before or after me. So there is no impacts. Just... it's more fun if other singer's parts are already there."
Kiske about 'Dweller In A Dream': "It's not that fast...but I guess up-tempo... It has a little bit of driving feel. I wonder if speed metal still exists? There were some super-fast speed metal songs in the 80's but this song is not that fast. Songs from Rainbow or Deep Purple were fast but not as fast as those, right? This song is the same. It is an up-tempo song. Well, maybe a bit speedy... I enjoyed singing this track. I don't really care what types of song it is. It is good to me as long as it has a good melody. A song that I enjoy singing is the one with good spirits. It doesn't matter if it is an acoustic song, a piano song, or an electric guitar song."
Song by song by Tobias
01. 'Spectres' (Joe Lynn Turner/Tobias Sammet) (6:20)
"It didn't enter my mind. I wrote 'Spectres' and I just knew it should be the opening track; I never said 'Now I'm going to write the opening track.' I just thought 'This is the way an album should start."
02. 'Watchmaker's Dream' (Joe Lynn Turner/Tobias Sammet) (4:17)
"It's a song I really like. I love the start with the keyboards sounding, later the Hammond. It's like the bastard son of epic metal more classic and the atmosphere of progressive rock bands of '70. It has a global diversity and you can hear my influences as musician. Perhaps my favourite track of the album."
03. 'Black Orchid' (Tobias Sammet/Biff Byford) (6:55)
"When I wrote 'Black Orchid' - I think it was the third or fourth song to be done - and the songwriting was actually finished, I decided that it needed a real orchestra. I know it's hard to tell the difference between a real orchestra and a programmed orchestra these days, especially if Miro (Michael Rodenberg) does the keyboards, but it was really important to me. All of a sudden the album sounded completely different to me when the orchestra was added. I think it gave an added dimension to the sound. Sascha (Paeth/guitarist, producer) said that we didn't have to use one because nobody would be able to tell the difference, but after it was recorded he agreed that the orchestra gave the album a really different sound. What they play is exactly what Miro had programmed. It's just that, truly, only the sound picture changed. The attack is different compared to the programmed orchestra, the resonance of the instruments is very different. You can't program that sort of thing and get the same results."
04. 'Where Clock Hands Freeze' (Michael Kiske/Tobias Sammet) (4:35)
"I remember, 'When Clock Hands Freeze' that I wrote under the shower, and Michael Kiske was there with me… (Laugh) In my head! (Laugh), not in the shower actually… But when that melody came to my mind, Michael Kiske was already singing the melody in my mind, the first moment I had the song idea."
05. 'Sleepwalking' (Tobias Sammet/Cloudy Yang) (3:45)
"I wanted to have a female singer who accepted to participate, but the management said the song sucks. It was about 'Sleepwalking'. I should change things here and there, but for that I was not ready. It is after all my music. And just so then someone else agreed to do it ....No, that's not cool to tell who it was... But she does not come from the metal genre.
Sleepwalking is the oldest track....Originally this was a metal ballad, and then I doubled the rhythm pace and this ballad turned into a pop song…when I started experimenting with the vocal lines, a kind of A-HA or U2 touch appeared in this song. I really had to think about it to include it. But Avantasia is much more than a typical band, it has no limits, no styles and that’s what gives it diversity to the project."
06. 'Savior In The Clockwork' (Tobias Sammet/Biff Byford/Joe Lynn Turner/Michael Kiske) (10:41)
"This song has everything that you can request to an Avantasia track. It's a long track, epic and inside you can find the typical references of progressive rock of '70ties. As this band will be broadcasted in the radio, there is not problem with the time (laughs). It has everything on it, powerful parts and its not boring."
09. 'Dweller In A Dream' (Tobias Sammet/Michael Kiske) (4:50)
"That song is possible one of the heaviest tracks in the album, with Michael Kiske showing the best of his abilities."
10. 'The Great Mystery' (Joe Lynn Turner/Biff Byford/Bob Catley/Tobias Sammet) (10:05)
"It's a funny thing because Amanda (Somerville/vocals) and everybody were doing the choirs and we sing 'End of chapter one..! One!' at the end of the song. It was so Monty Python that we laughed ourselves to death. We had this Meat Loaf-ish song ('The Great Mystery'), and I had the chance to tap the lead guitar player on the Bat Out Of Hell tour; Bruce Kulick. I knew that this song would be epic with the big choirs and the orchestra – but Bob really crowned this song."
About Kiske collaboration
Tobias: "I just talked to Michi Kiske and he said that the stuff reminds him a lot of the old classic Avantasia material in the good old Keeper style. As a fan, now that sounds even exciting to me, so the circle shuts. Michael Kiske is on board again! I bet you expected this, you can hear him loud and clear, and he is still the number one vocalist in that range - unbelievable!"
The Mystery Of Time Press ratings
Curiosities about The Mystery Of Time
- Will it be a second part of The Mystery Of Time like previous releases?
It seems so. Tobias said this: "There will be a sequel for this! I do not know when, but I have a couple of song ideas....In the fall we will start working on new EDGUY album, with a probably summer of 2014 release. And then, someday, I will sit on the new AVANTASIA record. But that will not be in the next two years. Let's talk about three or four years..."
- Which was the single 'Invoke The Machine' or 'Sleepwalking'?
At the end the single was 'Sleepwalking'. But they released an audio promo with the song 'Invoke The Machine' first, no idea why they did this but probably it was just for accident since a radio broadcasted the song and it was spreaded by fans everywhere so they ended releasing a video with the lyrics. Tobias commented to Rockconcert.com: "I chose 'Sleepwalking' as single because is the only track less than 4-minutes long (laughs). It would have not sense to choose a track of 10-minutes long. This song has a nice tempo, style and good length to be played at the radio. But nobody will play my music at the radio..."