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A return to form - 83%

kluseba, May 10th, 2014

Edguy was one of those bands that introduced me to metal music one decade ago and I consider myself a big fan of the band who has purchased not only all their regular studio albums but also all live records and numerous EPs. I must though admit that I didn’t like the last two studio records that sounded more like a mixture of old fashioned radio hard rock tracks and exchangeable Avantasia leftovers. Avantasia seemed to become Tobias Sammet’s main concern and Edguy really suffered from this. I was hoping that he would take a creative break and put the Avantasia project aside but Tobias Sammet simply can’t stop writing, recording and releasing music. To my surprise, both Avantasia and Edguy are back from the edge and released two convincing records with “The Mystery Of Time” for the former and “Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown” for the latter. Edguy’s new record goes back to the style of “Rocket Ride” and is pretty much as good as that album or even slightly better.

The band did a wise decision to open the record with “Sabre & Torch” and to present this song as first track from the record instead of a half-hearted ballad, a seventies’ hard rock track or a weird song with even weirder humour. “Sabre & Torch” conquered me by storm and it’s my favourite song from the new album. It’s Edguy’s best song since the epic “Sacrifice” eight years earlier. The song features sharp and speedy riffs, a few cool keyboard passages and aggressive high pitched vocals crowned by a simplistic but effective chorus that will conquer the masses by storm. If Edguy come back to North America anytime soon, I already know that I will go absolutely insane to this song in concert. This track reunites everything that represents a great European power metal song for me. Okay, the vocals sound a little bit forced at some point but that’s the only negative thing to say about this killer anthem. This is a precious candidate for my favourite song of the year. Why couldn’t they release an entire record with songs like this one?

The rest of the record is obviously not as great as the opener but it’s still quite good. “Space Police” is a lot slower and more melodic, the lyrics, the humorous bridge and the funny sound effects are a little bit goofy but the chorus is incredibly catchy and the diversified track can be called a true fun anthem. “Defenders Of The Crown” goes back to the power metal style of the past. Tobias Sammet does a diversified vocal performance on here and the simplistic but epic chorus will surely find its place in the set lists for the future live concerts. It’s a true pleasure to hear Edguy go back to its roots even though this song sounds a little bit too much like HammerFall. The following single “Love Tyger” is a funny glam rock track. I’m not a big fan of that genre but as a little change, this track works very well and sounds quite fresh. “The Realms Of Baba Yaga” is a cool mixture of hard rock and power metal and takes the better elements from both genres to fusion them to a powerful epic of six minutes.

Then comes a song that is quite hard to judge for me. It kicks off the second half of the record that isn’t as good as the first one in my opinion but still okay. Edguy offer us a cover version. The original song is extremely well known and was originally performed by legendary Austrian singer Falco who mixed pop and rock elements with his unique rap passages. How would Sammet manage to perform the original rap flow with strong Austrian accent and German lyrics? It’s in fact the first time Edguy performs a song in German since the very cool demo song “Das Reh”. I must admit that I didn’t quite like this cover song at first because it is too close to the original to stand out and the vocal parts are not very well mixed and hard to understand. The more I listen to the song, I realize that Edguy simply had tons of fun while recording this track and even though this song is far from perfection, the band’s good humour is somehow contagious. In the end, I don’t adore this song but I don’t hate it either. It’s in fact better than what I expected which is a good sign.

“Do Me Like A Caveman” took me a little bit by surprise. I was expecting a humorous hard rock track with nasty lyrics but the final result sounds a little bit like a HIM track with higher vocals. Once again, it’s not as bad as I expected when I first saw the title. It’s not a strong track but it works well as a cheesy and more commercial track in the album context. “Shadow Eaters” is another vivid power metal driven track with great melancholic vocals. It’s not a standout song but the most promising grower on the album. “Alone In Myself” is the predictable ballad that Edguy needs to include on each record. To my surprise, the ballad has a certain atmosphere with a strong eighties rock feeling, decent organ sounds and enchanting vocals and is much better than the last few songs of that kind offered by the band. It’s still one of the weaker tracks on this album and reminds me of Bon Jovi but once again, it sounds much better than I expected. The closing nine-minute epic “The Eternal Wayfarer” sounds like a mixture of Avantasia’s “Sign Of The Cross” and Edguy’s “The Piper Never Dies” with a few oriental sound samples. No, this is not original at all. As I enjoy both songs I also enjoy this track even though it’s maybe a few minutes too long for its own good. It’s a good closer of an overall very good album.

Let me tell you that the limited version is really not worth your attention or money. “England” is a boring piano ballad with pseudo-funny lyrics. “Aychim In Hysteria” sounds like The Police meets Wham!. This is definitely not my cup of tea. The alternative versions and instrumental tracks are completely useless as well. It’s even hard to convince a collector like me to purchase this edition. At least, the cover artwork is not that much of an abomination as the original one and we get to see a few more photos. I know these are rather weak reasons but I’m trying to convince myself right now.

In the end, “Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown” is a welcome return to form for Edguy. The new record doesn’t really surprise us or introduces us to something new but it goes back to the strengths that made Edguy so popular with records such as “Hellfire Club” and “Rocket Ride”. Edguy neither sounds like an Avantasia side project nor like an old-fashioned hard rock band anymore. This is a power metal record with a couple of truly amazing songs. Above all, “Sabre & Torch” is the best Edguy track in eight years and the album offers more amazing tracks like “Defenders Of The Crown” or “Shadow Eaters”. Even the weaker tracks on here like “Do Me Like A Caveman” or “Alone In Myself” still sound rather good to me. I’m really glad Edguy are back.