For fans of melodic and symphonic Metal, Tobias Sammet should need no introduction, as both the mastermind behind the Metal opera project Avantasia, and frontman of Edguy. While Sammet is no stranger to Australian shores after a number of Edguy tours, neither fans nor Sammet himself ever thought Avantasia would make its way Down Under until recently. But with two Australian shows coming in May thanks to Overdrive Touring, Sammet is keen to share his excitement.

“Honestly, I never thought that this would ever happen,” Sammet points out with a wry chuckle. “I’ve done it a couple of times with Edguy, but I never thought there would be a chance to bring this juggernaut over. I’m very excited!”

Thinking back, Sammet reflects on his last journey to Australian shores for New Year’s across 2009 and 2010 with Edguy. “We always loved Australia. I’ve been over there three or four times, and it was great every time because it’s a place that’s so far away, and not too many bands go there. You always want what you can never get,” Sammet remarks philosophically. “That’s why every European band wants to go to Australia!” he laughs, “because there’s no other place in the world that’s further away from us. Well, maybe New Zealand. One day I’m going to go to New Zealand, too.

“I didn’t expect anything,” Sammet continues, looking back on his first experience of Australia, “all I knew was that it was far away, and there’s like eight of the ten most lethal or venomous animals in Australia. That’s something I knew in advance!” It seems our reputation precedes us!

“I like the fans,” he adds, “because I have to say most of the people were really appreciative. I mean, they are everywhere; when you go somewhere with a band, usually people who  get a ticket love the band, so people appreciate it everywhere, and I love the different mentalities of fans – but you could really sense that people were not spoiled by an overkill of bands touring their country. So people really appreciate it as an event, and it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to see Edguy today because I could see Stratovarius tomorrow, and there’s Grave Digger next Tuesday, and then there’s Helloween, and Blind Guardian come in four days. That’s usually the case in every European city. In Australia it was like, ‘Oh, great! Four months ago we’ve seen Helloween, and it’s great to have another European Power Metal band back in Australia.’ That was the mentality!”

But before embarking on their Australian tour, Avantasia will be releasing their new album ‘Moonglow,’ so Sammet provides some foreshadowing of what fans can expect. “Topic-wise, or thematically, conceptually, it’s a new story, a new entity of its own – so it doesn’t continue story-wise , but musically people will get what they expect. They will immediately know it’s Avantasia. They will immediately know it’s that band or project that has done the ‘Ghostlights’ album when they listen to the new album, but also I have a feeling that I haven’t written these songs before. Of course there are trademarks, and some people say, ‘Oh, the first single sounds like something you’ve done before;’ yes, of course, it’s the same song writer, it’s in my DNA. I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Playing music for me is just letting out what I have in me, because I use it to get things off my chest, lyrically and also musically.

“It’s a very, very colourful album,” he goes on, “and it’s very embellished without being overproduced. I think it’s even more embellished than ‘Ghostlights’ was, and I think that’s because when I started to write the album, I didn’t know this would become a new Avantasia album. I just wanted to have a break. I came back from the ‘Ghostlights’ tour, which wasn’t really a huge tour, it was just 40 days or something like that, but I was a little bit battle worn and tired, and I thought, ‘If I don’t really take care now, I will become a slave to the expectations from outside.’ Everybody knew what I was going to do next, only I didn’t know. That was a weird situation, so I thought, ‘I’m going to have a break, I’m going to build myself a studio, as a hobby’ – like other men go into the basement to play with model trains, I build a studio, which I admit is not a very good idea if you want to get away from stress in the music business,” he adds with good humour. “And I started working on music, just letting things out. Long story short, here I am with a new album. And when I made that decision to have a break, and to have more time and not give in to any schedule forced upon me from outside, and there was no record contract, no deadline on the horizon, all of a sudden there was no pressure any more. No stress. And I had all the time in the world to embellish and paint and detail the material. That’s why I think the album’s more detailed.”

Avantasia’s ‘Moonglow’ will be released on February 15th, but you can get your tickets for their exclusive Sydney and Melbourne shows right now!