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These German guys have lately moved towards more hard rocking stuff. However, the band is still easily recognized. Okay, Edguy haven't gone as far as Helloween did with their fifth studio album 'Chameleon' (1993), but heck, have the band drifted far or even further from their roots during all these years?! The cover art and the title of the album blurts out, that it's time for wackier stuff than last time on 'Hellfire Club' (2004). This has nothing to do with hell, just partying, minus one bland balladish song (or two, as it's the limited digibook edition which is the one reviewed here).
My first Edguy album was 'Hellfire Club'. Kick me. The problem before that was, generally, joyful power metal stuff I really wasn't into some years ago. Another point was singer Tobias Sammet's extravagant use of vibration. In his voice, that is. Vibration, you know? So 'Hellfire Club' felt a good place to start. On this album, Edguy lifted influences from three previous decades to the front. Hell, there's hard rock, heavy metal, hair rock, calypso plus of course some power metal. I was a teenager in the 1980s and I gotta admit I have some musical traumas from that era, but also a couple of good memories, so I'm not so easily startled. 'Sacrifice' provides a safe start, but how! Being one of the darker pieces here including a truly killer chorus (plus the song's other parts are such too, hehe) and well done synthesized orchestration, this kicks ass so much that it's hard to be topped. The song goes from a piano part to more or less heavy rocking antics.
So how is the rest of the record? After the perfect opener it is time, perhaps to some younger in age fans' horror I guess, for some hard-cum-hair rock (no, not spermy perm you perverts!). The title song is like road trip to deeper space and time, and this will shock many power metal Edguy fans. Killer choruses, these guys handle 'em. There's also a cool oldish "progressive rock" part written in the song, and some Deep Purple-ish "Hammond" work. 'Wasted Time' surely ain't 'Wasted Years' (Iron Maiden), but a good song with a Ritchie Blackmore style main riff and electric-meets-acoustic parts and, again, a killer chorus. Electro-pop infused German heavy metal piece 'Matrix' surely raises different opinions. In my opinion it is a fucking good song, very stylish, indeed. And guess what? Its chorus does slay. There's some heavy guitars in the song, but no "nu-metal" style.
'Return to the Tribe' is more common Edguy with its double kick drum beats plus other certain power metal stuff. And what a guitar solo! No, wait, it's Tobias' voice! Fuck, this is funny, guy's doing a distorted vocal solo!!! Thumbs up, even though it needed a few spins to get into it. 'The Asylum' brings back the opener's darker touch, calm beginning, a bit like Scorpions, and heavy hitting remainder with epic leanings. 'Save Me'... Really, don't. Nothing can save this awful slow song, thanks to its all kinds of cute hair rock symptoms: Too familiar, too cuddly. 'Catch of the Century' heals loads of wounds the last song caused. It's another 1980s style rocker made in 2005, but it ain't a ballad and the song actually rocks! 'Out of Vogue' throws in some too usual 1980s heavy metal stuff, but with a double kick drum chorus it has a good drive in it. The single shot 'Superheroes' is a song where 'King of Fools' meet 'Mission: Impossible' (Lalo Schifrin) and that should say it all: definitely not one of the stronger songs of the album. 'Trinidad' is a good-time song. Its "la-la-la"choruses and calypso stuff will make total metal motherfuckers hate this album. For me, it's no another 'Lavatory Love Machine', sadly. These guys need some medication... Cock-rock spectacle 'Fucking with Fire (Hair Force One)' is a hard rock song with a hair rock chorus, of which Desmond Child would be proud of. Generally speaking, Edguy aren't similar to Helloween, but both bands found more rocking style after power metal. All of the songs were written by Sammet, except 'Out of Vogue', which was written with guitarist Jens Ludwig.
Mr. Sammet's voice has strengthened and he's able to control it better than before, not letting the vibration control it all. It's matured so much, that at a few points I can hear some similarities with Bruce Dickinson actually. Trademark Edguy choirs are still alive, but having a quite small role. The rest of the band does it well, too, as expected. The Sascha Paeth production is good and punchy, just what the music of this style needs. Not surprisingly, as this was recorded with an analog equipment. Varying synthesizer work was professionally created by Michael "Miro" Rodenberg.
Limited edition's bonus song 'Land of he Miracle' does nothing to me, to tell the truth. Another lame power metal ballad... But digibook cover rules, or then not! It includes lyrics and biography (in English and German), but: pocket can scratch the disc, so store the disc separately!
It's impossible for me to say, how many fans of the old Edguy will like this. Maybe the band will get loads of bullshit from 'em, just like Helloween did back in 1993 from their fans. The album has its highs, but also downs and it left me a bit baffled after a couple of first listenings. However, this is a grower, just give it more than 3 spins, oguy?!
(originally reviewed for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2006)