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A pop album disguised as a power metal one. - 45%

Nhorf, October 5th, 2008

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”.