Let me start by saying I’m a big fan of Tobias Sammet and I buy basically everything the dude puts out. Love Edguy, love Avantasia, and his last album Scarecrow, with the exception of one uber-lame track (“What Kind Of Love?” More like “What Kind Of Crap”) – is one HELL of a record that I really haven’t stopped listening to since I downloaded it on Amazon mp3 a year or so ago. I love the collaborations with the other vocalists and musicians. They all bring something unique to the table and the result is a musical experience that is rich and diverse, all the while following Tobi’s grand vision of creating symphonic, epic power rock. Scarecrow is big, melodic, rockin’, fun music to listen to, basically everything that makes Tobi’s projects killer. So when I stumbled upon this Lost In Space album, I downloaded it right away, assuming it would contain tracks that for whatever reason were left off of the Scarecrow record (Lost In Space is the name of one of the more “radio friendly” tracks from Scarecrow).
Truth is I don’t know if the songs on LIS are tracks from the Scarecrow sessions, or if it’s just stuff that Tobi’s had in his grab bag since God knows when; the guy never seems to stop working. In any case, I was a little underwhelmed by this collection of tunes. If they are in fact tracks were left off of Scarecrow, one can see why – the strongest track on this record is the bombastic “Another Angel Down” track that DID make the Scarecrow cut.
One of Tobi’s strengths is his ability to walk the fine line between power metal cheese and true rock awesomeness, and too often on these songs he falls off the fence into the garden of cheese. I’m not going to break the album down track by track, but I will say that the strongest new song on here is Lay All Your Love On Me. It’s cool to hear Tobi do a rockin’ love tune; it sounds like something Bon Jovi could have recorded back when he was still writing inspired arena rock. Good lyrics on this one too (lyrical content is a recurring gripe I have with some of Tobi’s material).
The 1-2-3 punch of the opening title track, LAYLOM and AAD rubbed me the right way right away, but sadly the album fizzled out after that. The rest of the tunes seem like throw-aways; “In My Defense” could be Tobi’s declaration of justification for releasing the record in the first place. At the album’s conclusion we’re subjected to not one but two alternate versions of Lost In Space, neither of which are as good as the original.
I don’t know, maybe I need to listen to this a few more times; I admit I’ve only gone through it once and usually it takes a few spins for an album to really grow on me. But there is clearly no new ground being broken here, no new grand vision for Tobi, just Scarecrowish tracks that don’t quite muster the kickassitude of that record. In a nutshell, these are songs that are for the die-hard Avantasia fan, not someone who is unfamiliar with Tobi’s work. The uninitiated would be wise to start with Scarecrow or Edguy’s Hellfire Club. Those records make this one taste like cheese that’s passed it’s expiration date.