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Yep, this sure as hell is one piece of crap EP. Imagine everything that can possibly be done wrong in modern Power Metal, and then some more. Guitars occuring only occasionally with some decent riffing/shredding (the beginnings of "Spooks in the Attic" with its cool riff and "Judas at the Opera" with some kinda fun shredding come to my mind), while normally, the vocals are WAY overhighlighted, ultra-cheerful and flowery and fluffy and happy and what have you. If that weren't enough to kill the guitars off, lo and behold, for keyboards, kept somewhat low on the last album, are back with a ten-layer-flower-power vengeance! Man, this crap makes Sonata Arctica seem like fucking Dark Angel (and a hell of a lot more musically competent, too).
What's worst are those precious few moments when you think this album is going somewhere, ANYWHERE, metal. I mentioned a promising intro: "Spooks in the Attic" is total Gamma Ray worship - for like ten seconds, then keyboars start their first guitar-slaughtering assault. The verses are actually decent and and feature some kinda cool leads (again, pure Gamma Ray worship) - but then, the chorus is hideous five-vocal-lines-with-twenty-keyboard-layers poppy crap. And this is even one of the better songs on here!
A few comments on the other tracks, then. The opening title track is a bullshit poppy anthem. Blessing in Disguise is a bullshit poppy ballad. Judas in the Opera starts with some fun shredding that reminds me immensely of some other band (probably Gamma Ray again) - then the guitars are dropped entirely in the verses! The chorus is yet more poppy shit. We've got dull middle bits and pieces thrown together trying to make this an epic track - a lame slow piece frrom about 2:23 on, a lame fifty-second-ambient bit right in the middle of the song, then some slight return to the song (there's even a guitar to be heard, HURRAY!), a pointless noodling solo, more keyboards, more poppy vocals. Nope, the Piper Never Dies, this is not, nor even really epic at all.
The Spirit is quite possibly the least bad track, in that it is low on keyboards, the chorus isn't near as horrifyingly overdone as on the other tracks, and it's actually the most guitar-oriented song - then again, if an acoustic half-ballad is your most metal and guitar-driven song, that doesn't speak well for your release.
The "Epic Version" of "Superheroes" is actually more of an ultra-ballad version. And the worst thing, it's in fact less bad than the normal title track - I guess it's simply because it's not near as uber-cheerful or uber-dubbed, and there's just some simple piano and ambient keys rather than all that ten-layer-crap, and no five-line-pop-chorus either - Tobi actually tries to sing here, placed on his own. That said, it's still pretty fucking lame, just not godawfully terrible.
Oh yeah, appearantly Michael Kiske is somewhere on this album. You might find him in one of the 5+ simultaneous vocal lines. I didn't.
There are a few decent moments on this EP and one kinda okay song, but the bulk of it is pretty much trapped within piles of overproduced poppy crap. Overall, this is barely Metal at all, more like Pop Rock with a lot of keyboards, and after Hellfire Club, the band's heaviest and best album so far, it isn't just a disappointment, it's absolutely fucking horrible. Whether you like Edguy or not, stay away from it, and pretend it never existed. And be wary about the band's next album, too.