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This is a modern European power metal album that has everything it needs to be a masterpiece. It is tight, melodic, epic and diversified. I would even say that this record is maybe the best power metal record of the decade and easily Edguy's greatest record ever.
The song starts with the tight and heavy "Mysteria" that has even some little thrash or speed metal influences. That's why Mille Petrozza from the German thrash metal legends "Kreator" sings this song in an alternative version on the limited edition of this album. "The piper never dies" goes then into a very epic direction and delivers a pure power metal song over ten minutes that doesn't have to hide behind classics such as Gamma Ray's "Rebellion in dreamland" or Helloween's "The keeper of the seven keys". The best two songs are right in the beginning of the record.
But the other stuff is also amazing. Classical fast power grenades like "We don't need a hero", orchestral and acoustic ballads such as "Forever", catchy keyboard orientated and modern stuff with catchy choruses such as "King of fools" and the band's typical humorous songs like the hard rock orientated "Lavatory love machine" (a hint towards the band’s future direction, but still way better than their recent stuff) can all be found on this diversified album. Even songs that I didn't like in the beginning like the darker "Under the moon" or the bombastic "The spirit will remain" with movie score influences grew on me with the time and today, I can't find any filler on this album.
Normally, fans are enthusiastic and praise everything new their favourite bands would release, but here, it is different as this album is like an old vine and seems to get better with every year, especially when I must compare this masterpiece to the band's last and less convincing releases.
This album shows us how modern power metal should sound and is far away from hectically and overloaded Blind Guardian kitsch or childish and melodic keyboard sounds like Sonata Arctica are used to play. This album is atmospheric and profoundly diversified and it simply kicks ass. Even those who hate Edguy because of their humour and silly artworks should listen to this record and may seriously be surprised by the intensity of this record. If this stuff will not convince them, nothing will ever convince them. Personally, this album is easily in my top 20 albums of all times
Edguy is a band that is pretty much important in power metal, not because of their fame or however you may want to call it, but actually because of how influential they are and much more because of how high they have set the bar of how good a power metal album should be with previous releases such as "Mandrake" or their epic "Vain Glory Opera". Of course, with time, a band is bound to change their sound based on which influences they eventually gather or even becoming more mature, speaking about their sound. A good example of this syndrome would be this album, "Hellfire Club"
Edguy is known much more for having a really melodic, catchy sound (at times even cheesy). Before, they used much more gallops on their songs for the riffs and standard rhythms. That is something that has changed in here. There are various interesting progressions here for the guitars, I would say "Mysteria" is a good example of this. The guitars sound much heavier than before, maybe because they have a better production or because of a heavier distortion, but not a noticeable change in the tuning or amount of strings. At times it would be easier to find barre power chords backing for Sammet's singing, as it blends in properly with the rest of the instruments. The harmonics using is not a common element, but it is used. I like those harmonics, though, since they are not too bright and add to that heaviness. We got a Tobias Exxel right here that backs up good in the bass and has it recognizably in a higher volume, making the sound even heavier. Now, don't think this is some type of Nile or something. It's much more like a Helloween but with a darker atmosphere. So, Felix Bonkhe here does a good job, he has some nice, original rhythms in the back and does some good fills and tempo changes, as well as he sets a good base for the songs and mixes in adecquatelly. There are many really good solos in the album. We have Jens Ludwig right here who seems to have been training a lot for this new playing. He sounds faster and adds a lot of emotion to the songs with his solos (see the ending of "The Piper Never Dies").
I must place Tobias Sammet's singing on a whole other category. His singing is incredible right here. Not only he has a versatile voice but he knows how to use it, too. I like the arrangements he did in the choruses, as well, since they got an epic sound that Edguy can be recognized for since before. His voice is incredible, as he can sound violent, just as in "Mysteria", much rocker like in "Lavatory Love Machine" or sentimental, perfect example would be "Forever". He makes the songs be even catchier, as his voice sounds strong and emotional, as said before, and it may be good for the listener since one may feel much more "in the mood" when listening to the songs. Lyrically, it is good, too. At times it may be senseless (when referring to the topic, not senseless ala Dragonforce), but there are various songs that inspire to feel recognized with what is happening, or some of them even express the way one feels. It is good, yeah.
Edguy has changed their sound. It is something that, as a fan, one must accept, but this is a good album if you are not some type of diehard Euro-Power fan. There are still some songs that resemble perfectly the old Edguy, like "Down to the Devil" or "Rise of the Morning Glory", but the whole album won't be like this. I do recommend it to people who are used to listening to Edguy, but it may not be good for first listeners as you may get used to this sound and won't like the other Edguy's sound.
Highlights: "Mysteria", "The Piper Never Dies", "Down to the Devil", "Forever", "Rise of the Morning Glory", "The Spirit Will Remain".
Well, Edguy is one of those power metal bands everyone loves to bash and label as 'gay', but I always felt a big curiosity about them: after all, they were one of the very first metal bands I've ever heard someone talk about. Led by singer Tobias Sammet, they've released this little (oh the irony) album during 2004, and it enjoyed a fairly decent sucess among the metalheads...
...and while I kind of understand why (after all, this record is catchy as hell and somewhat fun to listen), I also can't help but think that Hellfire Club is one of the most generic metal pieces I've ever came across. Really. The song structures are incredibly formulaic - the tunes always follow the same verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure – and the songwriting isn't impressive at all. The choruses are all excellent though, I'm pretty damn sure you'll remember every chorus of this album after listening to it just two times. The vocal lines are also catchy as fuck: Tobias Sammet, while not being the best songwriter out there, is a very nice vocalist, sounding like a mixture of Bruce Dickinson (the very first time I've heard “The King of Fools” I thought that Dickinson was the singer, no kidding!) with Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate. A pretty competent singer, all in all.
Ahh, but we can't say the same thing about the guitar work. Unlike the other 'controversial' power metal bands, the majority of the tracks here are extremely guitar-driven, with the keyboards being on the background (thankfully!). On other hand, the guitar riffs are the most generic ones I've heard in a long time; they're generally very groovy (which is a bad thing, in my books) and just... uncreative, unoriginal. Forgettable and pedestrian.
As about the particular songs, there is a clear highlight here: the second tune, “The Piper Never Dies”, an epic clocking in at around ten minutes. Incredibly, the main riff of this song is very good and so is the wonderful chorus, one of the catchiest choruses I've ever listened, indeed. The instrumental sections, complemented by the operatic vocal approach of an inspired Sammet, are awesome and very well constructed. The best song of Hellfire Club, no doubts about it. “Mysteria” is decently fast and heavy, being a fine opener, and the cheesy ballad “Forever” is also quite good (you can kill me now, but I like that song). All the other ones are very similar, with strong emphasis on the choruses and all of them are dominated by the vocals. This record lacks instrumental parts, it really lacks them, I tell you. One last note to “Lavatory Love Machine”, by far the worst song here, awful chorus and riffs... Geeez.
So, I don't recommend this album to anyone, but you might like it if you enjoy pop-ish power metal and, well, pop music in general. Otherwise, don't spend your time with this thing, better, download “The Piper Never Dies” and you're done. Hellfire Club is very, very far from a worth getting album. Another of its most annoying problems is its duration: my God, this record is pretty damn long turning the whole listening experience into a snooze-fest. Bah.
Best Moments of the CD:
-the chorus of “The Piper Never Dies”.
Edguy are one of my long-time favorite bands, a fact which I will never deny, and when it comes to their discography, this is the album I find myself going back to again and again. Hellfire Club was the band's 6th effort, and it marked the band's change of direction; Tobias choosing to stray from his strictly Power Metal sound to a mixture of slightly darker, riff-heavy Traditional Metal with noticeable dashes of 70s/80s Hard Rock on the side.
This album seems to have the fans divided, with most of them citing Theater of Salvation and Mandrake as the best Edguy album to their ears, but I say this is their best, boasting a much more consistent songwriting base and several songs that are instant Edguy classics even after one listen - ironically also being their longest album ever at about 70 minutes. "Mysteria" blows open the gates with a 5 minute tour de force of Heavy Metal acrobatics, with a heavy, gritty guitar tone and a considerably darker vocal performance from Tobias. On most other Edguy albums, a song like this would've been the highlight of the album, but not here. "The Piper Never Dies" comes next, galloping on for 10 minutes with a commanding main riff and one of Tobias's most diverse and recognizable vocal performances yet, along with a rock organ (!) in the background that serves to remind of Deep Purple and other such bands of that era. It goes through several time shifts and refrains, finally ending in a virtual thunderstorm of heaviness and crushing dynamics. "We Don't Need a Hero" is a Happy Helloween-esque tune, but it's done so fucking well that you barely even notice, as it speeds by in a furious speed blast with rattling guitars and ultra-melodic solos, along with great lyrics and a catchy chorus. "Under the Moon" is an amazing song, and likely my favorite here, with a screaming, harmonized chorus that is quite dark for a band like Edguy, and a set of stomping riffs to boot, alongside a few celestial touches of slower melody in the middle. "Navigator" and "Children of Steel" are great as well, with more heavy riff attacks and Power Metal virtuosity, and even the radio friendly "King of Fools" is charming in its own way.
There is one aspect of Hellfire Club that will no doubt be a sticking point for some people, and it is the fact that Tobias and company drop out in the middle of the album for 3 silly songs in the form of "Lavatory Love Machine," "Rise of the Morning Glory" and "Lucifer In Love." "Lavatory Love Machine" has gotten the most attention for its blatant 80s rock referencing, but it's not a bad song at all, being catchy and fun, just unfitting of such an otherwise dark and mature piece of Metal. "Rise of the Morning Glory" is a better song, musically, being a speedy, uplifting Power Metal jaunt in the Helloween/Gamma Ray style, and with great vocal melodies to boot, but the lyrics are pretty retarded when you get past all the metaphors. "Lucifer in Love" is the only throwaway here, a useless 30 second instrumental of sexual moaning over the piano line from "Down to the Devil."
When you get down to brass tacks, this is the best album Edguy have written thus far, with strong, cohesive melodies, nimble, adept instrumental mastery, and a vocal performance that never fails to please. Go get it.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
I'm not normally one to make comparisons between Edguy and Helloween, mostly because I tend to go against conventional wisdom as a matter of principle, but in this particular case the analogy fits. After having a hand full of brilliant albums, Edguy has given us something sub-par. Only in their particular case, the principle songwriter leaving the band can't be used as an excuse.
There are 2 primary problems with this album that have, for the most part, not been an issue on previously releases. The first is that it has an absolute abysmal production. The guitars have no crunch to them at all, the drums sound flat and small, and the vocal tracks are way too rough. The second problem is that Edguy has pushed their satiricle tendencies way too far and have invited slapstick into their lyrics and sound. Pink Bubbles Go Ape suffered these exact same flaws in Helloween's case, hense the analogy.
One additional problem that is not quite as prevalent is that the ballads are a bit weak. "Forever" has a fairly strong chorus, but unfortunately a lack of development and poor production weaken it a bit. "The Spirit Will Remain" meanders like crazy, and is instantly forgettable. When listening to this album, I always eject it before it gets to the last track.
The rest of the songs on this release fall into 3 categories.
The Standouts: "The Piper Never Dies" is the greatest track on here, combining some rather nice Deep Purple inspired riffs with Tobias' operatic tendencies from the Avantasia albums and previous Edguy projects. It is a rather strange coincidence that Edguy is usually at their best the longer the song is. "We Don't Need a Hero" is fast and furious, and features probably the best solo vocal performance by Tobias. "Down to the Devil" is a nice mid-tempo rocker with another great chorus. "Under the Moon" is a bit similar to the previously mentioned track, but also has some excellent leads in it.
The Mediocre: "King of Fools" is melodic and catchy enough, but way too damn slow and under-developed. "Rise of the Morning Glory" is fast and catchy, but lyrically is a bit goofy and has a rather ridiculous vocal character to it. "Navigator" is another forgettable track with some equally uninspired riffs, I hit the skip button on this one. "Mysteria" would be a decent song if it wasn't for the overly dirty vocals, they are so piercing that it pretty much floods the entire arrangement .
The Ridiculous: "Lucifer in Love" is some odd sounding moans over top of the keyboard intro to "Down to the Devil", this is definately a jump the shark moment for this album, 30 seconds of slapstick with no punchline at all. "Lavatory Love Machine" has some of the goofiest lyrics I've ever heard out of a band. The only way I can make sense of it is by assuming it to be a bad attempt to recreate the satiricle wit of "Rise and Fall" by Helloween.
This is bargain bin material, buy it at $7 or less. Every band falls a bit after peaking, as this band did on Mandrake, but I think this is a little too far to fall for a band as capable as they are. I am optimistic that the next release will be stronger, as was the case with Pink Bubbles Go Ape.
That's the current band photo for Edguy. I think it pretty much sums up the band and the album and accurately depicts the message these guys send, which is: don't take us seriously, asshole.
Edguy is not about sending a message and it is not about expanding frontiers. It is about catchy, silly, over-the-top Euro-Power. By Hellfire Club Edguy has finally settled on their very own sound and in this album they really make it their own, exploring the boundaries of their style and trying out different ideas. It's also worth noting that as we progress into the new millenium we start hearing more and more bands copying this style of Power Metal (Double Dealer comes to mind).
For those of you who don't know Edguy, this is a pretty good album to use for getting familiar with them. It has their trademark guitar wankery and simple, upbeat melodies with peppy drumming work. The keyboards are never overused, but rather inserted in key locations in songs for atmospheric purposes. The lyrics are flighty and fun, and the music has an overall upbeat feel to it.
Edguy also has Tobias Sammet, and the fact that they are such a good group despite this major handicap is a testament to their musical skill and songwriting ability, because Tobias Sammet is the single most annoying vocalist in all of Power Metal. Imagine Timo Kotipelto (lead singer of Stratovarius). Now imagine that Timo goes to last year's Ozzfest (the one that had Judas Priest, Slayer, and Slipknot) and decides that he wants to sound like the vocalists for those three bands.
Keep imagining with me; we're not done yet.
So, with this thought in mind, imagine Timo goes to a bar where he meets, of all people, Michael Kiske, who imparts upon young Timo the time-tested secret Kiske used in Keeper of the Seven Keys: you don't have to be in tune, nor do you need a pure vocal tone, to be a successful Metal vocalist. Timo, touched my meeting this legendary vocalist and also slightly sloshed from drinking three pints of motor oil straight from a funnel, decides to go to the studio (listening to the vocals from A Night at the Opera on the way there) and record his vocals for his band.
The result of all this is Tobias Sammet. It's like someone with a great voice decides that in order to be original he needs to both "roughen" his voice to make it sound tougher and sing about 35 inflections for every note that comes out of his mouth. Take Mysteria, for example, where Tobias, in a feat previously unaccomplished by human beings, succeeds in giving the word "made" approximately 35 syllables. It takes a special kind of talent to do that.
Nevertheless, this album is classic Edguy and is a fantastic example of how amazing guitar solos and unbelievably catchy melodies can make a band one of the premier Power Metal bands in the world. Pick it up if you have any interest in Euro-Power.
I was a bit skeptical about getting Edguy's new album. Of course I was going to get it no matter what, and what I have heard about the album was all good news. But some one told me that they left the opera sound out and focused more on being heavy metal. Edguy has carved them into a genre where most bands sound the same, yet Edguy stand out. This is because of this unique style of power metal and symphonic sound. After spinning this album a few times, I saw that this was not true at all. In fact Edguy's use of symphonic and keyboards is elevated up a bit.
What we have on Hellfire Club is the symphonic work from Mandrake mixed with the Power Metal structure of all "most" previous Edguy albums. The music is very good on this album. The songs have structure, something Edguy has been doing for awhile now. The riffs and solos are typical Edguy style. The way the drum beat, mixes with the drumming is supreme on this album. Like I mentioned keyboards has played a key in Edguy songs from day one, and so it shows how strong it is on this album. This is easily seen on songs like King Of Fools and the small intro Lucifer in Love. Also especially on the song We Don't Need A Hero.
Tobias Sammet, in my honest opinion has gotten better from Mandrake. To me his voice was to squeaky on Mandrake, but now he is back to Vain Glory Opera which makes the music sound better. One of the most powerful singer in Power Metal right now is this guy, and this album shows why he is one of the best. His vocal range may not be as high as...oh say Halford, but it sure is damn good. Hell this can be seen on the opening song Mysteria, right in the beginning.
Edguy has taken a step up on this album, making Hellfire Club even better than Mandrake, something I, and most metal heads did not expect would happen. The riffs and solos are better, Tobias's singing is good, drumming clashes with the guitars making the music flow...the list of good things with this album can go on and on. This album is powerful and could be the best release of 2004. Good songs to check out are all the ones From the King of Fools EP, and add Navigator, Mysteria, and the neat beat that Lavatory Love Machine (Sounds like it would be a Twisted Sister song)offers. Recommended to all Edguy fans and metal fans everywhere. I wonder if they can outmatch Hellfire Club on the next album!
Edguy set a high standard when they released Mandrake. The band were on the uprigt way, but the peak has been reached and is time to go down. Any way, the album is an allright Edguy album, which means good music.
The album is more rock oriented and less straight power metal than the previous albums, but with the use of a very out-of-place orchestra.
The albums open with Mysteria with a catchy chorus, ok song, nothing special. The piper never dies is the long song, which can't even reach the ankles of The Pharaoh, but has its good moments, although the chorus is somewhat boring. Again the best part of the song is the middle section. The next song, We don't need a hero has a better chorus, the same with Down to the Devil.
King of Fools is the hit, a pretty standard one, but good anyway. Forever is a nice ballad with over used lyrics ("Sitting by the window Staring out into the night" come on this are the less original lines ever). Under the moon is another nice catchy song. Lavatory Love Machine is the typical edguy joke song, but is real good.
Rise of the morning glory is by far the best song on the album, the chorus is not catchy, is just beautiful. My only complaint is the small part were Tobias talks, it sort of ruins the song by trying to put it with the joke-songs, which this is not, even though it talks about, guess what, sex! as most of Edguy songs. Lucifer in love is useless, as it is almost nothing, you can't even consider it a short interlude. Navigator is the worst, most boring song probably in all Edguy albums.
The album closes with the worst ballad by Edguy. Im usually a fan of good ballads, and I often like ballads that are hated by most, but this just sucks. I even think they included it to justify the orchestra, which leads me to my next point.
Whats the point in having a full orchestra if you are going to hide it behind the standard Edguy sound? The orchestra is almost non-existant throughout the album except in the ballads, specially the last shitty one. The score is credited to Miro Rodenberg, althought he is a recognized musician and producer, his work here sucks. The orchestration does not add anything more than what the keyboards usually did. Totally pointless.
The albums also lack the typical edguy choirs, which used to be something that differentiated Edguy before. In matters of riffage and instrumentals, it all sounds repeated. I don't consider any musician in Edguy to have any qualities beyond any power metal bands, they are OK musicians, except Tobias who is a exceptional singer.
This is probably Edguy´s most different album, especially in sound, it has some nice moments, but this is no Mandrake.