Avantasia is the solo project of Tobias Sammet, the front man and principal songwriter for Edguy. Then again, it may not be quite right to call it a solo project--Tobias recruited a small army of guest musicians and vocalists to take part. 2001 saw the release of Avantasia: The Metal Opera, followed by a second installment a year later. The Avantasia saga was an ambitious work, but generally well-recieved among Power Metal enthusiasts. Six years later, Sammet has recruited yet another horde of guest musicians for another Avantasia outing. Far from being a third episode in the Avantasia saga, The Scarecrow is instead more of an all-star jam session.
Whereas I was extremely pleased with parts one and two of The Metal Opera, my feelings about The Scarecrow are somewhat mixed. What sets the latest Avantasia outing apart from its predecessors is that the new material is more along the lines of conventional Rock music than Power Metal. Most of the songs here are of the radio-friendly, mid-tempo rocker variety, and thus lack the intensity of Sammet's earlier Avantasia material. For a metalhead like me, this has the unfortunate effect of making The Scarecrow less engaging than The Metal Opera. On the other hand, there are a few truly solid songs here; "Shelter From the Rain," "Devil in the Belfry" are fast and properly Metal, and the more rock-oriented "Lost in Space" is also a quality song.
Yet there is one thing that every song does possess in abundance, and that is passion. Even if I don't always like the final product, Tobias Sammet always injects a healthy dose of enthusiasm into his music. His lyrics and music are always passionate, and I have to give him a lot of respect for that. Even if it fails to live up to its predecessors, The Scarecrow is not without its highlights. Those who are more interested in conventional Rock music might find The Scarecrow to be a satisfying listen, and hopefully it will inspire them to look into the diptych of The Metal Opera. I recommend giving The Scarecrow a listen, and enjoying it for what it is.
Bonus youtube magic: