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Hard rocking, but not that hard! - 60%

Lane, November 18th, 2011

With their last three albums, acknowledged German power metallers Edguy have been drifting further from their old style. They've been moving towards rock, and not always very hard one. To me, that didn't matter, because 2004 album 'Hellfire Club' was my first proper contact with the band. That album is pretty awesome, as is the 2006 one, 'Rocket Ride'.
Come year 2008 and 'Tinnitus Sanctus' was unleashed. Just like two previous albums, it also received more flak than praise. I got it only in April 2010, because I was not impressed with its video clip of rocker 'Ministry of Saints'. Anyways, now I think that this opener is easily one of the few highlights of the album. It is continuation to the band's style from previous two albums, even though at first it sounds like lighter version of Black Label Society, but soon it enters highly catchy territory similar to 'Rocket Ride's 'Catch of the Century' or something. But... Boring, overlong (but some bass patterns are still lovely, gotta admit that) 'Sex Fire Religion' sounds even more American. However,both of the songs feature familiar Edguy choruses. Have Edguy mutated into a rock band?!

Not totally, but would that be too bad when thinking what's up on their sleeves next? 'The Pride of Creation' is like happy-shabby Van Halen crap with a HIM moment in the middle before the only good part of the song where they decide to go heavy metal. A very, very annoying song, as it simply features too many different styles in one, period. And thus far, so seems the album, too. 'Nine Lives' is like ABBA gone to rock, with modern chugga-chugga riffing. 'Wake up Dreaming Black' is closer to two previous albums' stuff again, being a catchier song, but again, also much more American with its slide guitar stuff. At least no modern riffage...

'Dragonfly'; rock with big chorus, which is one of the few shining moments on the album. How close do Edguy and Avantasia get, hehe. 'Thorn without Rose'; another typical ballad-esque song with 80's pantyhose rock chorus which is just too sugary for me. '9-2-9' is an okay rocker. Then comes 'Speedhoven' and... Heck, it's power metal, Edguy style! At least the beginning and the solo part at the end, but boring slow part in the middle. Its chorus shows what they really can do, if they want to. That was the metal stuff then, as 'Dead or Rock' is a bluesy, partly AC/DC-esque rock song and 'Aren't You a Little Pervert too?' is a "humorous" country song!

There you have it: 'Tinnitus Sanctus' is a hard rock album with some metal parts and bits. Here we have another case of "change your style, then change your name too". I have to admit, that songs are mostly very catchy, but that's because they are so simple. There are no many of those "oh yes!" moments that I usually get when listening to Edguy's previous releases.

Instrumentation is, albeit competent, mainly basic and typical. Double kick drumming is getting rarer and rarer in Edguy's repertoire... Vocalist Tobias Sammet, who wrote all the music (Edguy and Avantasia are getting really badly tangled up in his head, if you ask me), does his job as expected: He is a fantastic and characteristic vocalist, with a vibrating, loud voice. He's also a good lyricist, apart from his horny lyrics which are just naïve. The production is punchy, and of course varies a bit depending on style of current song. There's much more happening than on average rock album. It is a lot more organic than some works by Sascha Paeth.

Easy listening stuff, this. Hard rock album from guys this time around, maybe a metal album next? Why? Because it would be much more interesting than this for sure.

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2010)

Not their best, but far from their worst - 70%

TrooperOfSteel, July 28th, 2011

The 2nd half of 2008 has certainly picked up in terms of popular metal releases, and this trend continues with those talented jokesters from Germany, Edguy, releasing their 8th full-length CD entitled ‘Tinnitus sanctus’.

It was almost 22 months ago when Edguy released the now infamous ‘Rocket ride’ CD, a release which literally divided the metal nation. While half loved the wacky hard rock-orientated new feel of the CD, the other half did not, condemning the CD and wishing Edguy would go back to their ‘Vain glory opera’ days. Just for the record I am one of those who thought ‘Rocket ride’ was superb and very entertaining.

With Edguy’s vocalist Tobias Sammet busy putting together his 3rd release under the Avantasia banner, ‘The scarecrow’ (released in January 2008) also proved to be similar in lines with the ‘Rocket ride’ CD, but still typically European power metal and received plenty of praise. Now after 10 months from ‘The scarecrow’, Tobias Sammet and co. are back with ‘Tinnitus sanctus’. Now, for that half who condemned 'Rocket ride', this new CD is not a "Rocket ride II", but it is a nice blend of Edguy’s last 3 releases: ‘Rocket ride’, ‘Hellfire club’ and ‘Mandrake’.

Unfortunately, for those ‘Vain glory opera’ and ‘Theatre of salvation’ Edguy fans, it seems that those speedy, epic and bombastic tracks from those above-mentioned releases have disappeared from Edguy’s recent discography. Obviously there have been a few thrown in here and there, but they have become rather few and far between.

‘Tinnitus sanctus’ is a natural progression from ‘Rocket ride’, although the tracks, this time, are not hard rock structured. All the tracks on the CD are of a mid-paced level, basically the same speeds of past songs such as “King of fools”, “Catch of the century”, “Fucking with fire”, “The piper never dies”, “All the clowns” and so on. As always, Tobias Sammet’s songwriting is catchy, refreshing and innovating as he and the rest of the band deliver another typical Edguy winning release, along with their traditional humorous nature; afterall they are the jesters of the power metal court.

‘Tinnitus sanctus’ is a lot more serious than ‘Rocket ride’, with Tobias’ vocals again filled with emotion and charisma, much like you would hear on any Edguy CD; but the band still has a relaxed feel. The tracks are all energetic, dramatic and quite different from one another. Leading the charge is “Ministry of saints”, which is a hard and heavy track with a driving force and easily one of the best tracks on the CD. With a kick-ass solo to boot, this is one of Edguy’s greatest tracks (in my opinion) since “Tears of a mandrake”.

“Sex fire religion” is a slower track, which gives off a dark and saucy appeal mainly due to the lyrics of the song. With an operatic and powerful chorus this song will also win over fans. “Nine lives” is another solid, yet typical Edguy track containing some humorous lyrics that only Tobias Sammet could think up.

“Dragonfly” is a great track, 2nd in line to only “Ministry of saints” in kick-ass appeal. With a galloping driving feel to the riffs, Edguy lets loose with a majestic and bombastic chorus that you’d love to hear over and over again. “Thorn without a rose” is the token ballad of the CD, and a good one too, something Tobias Sammet has been very good at constructing over the years (“Save me”, “Land of the miracle”, “Wash away the poison” a few good examples). The track is emotionally warm and quite heartfelt.

Other tracks worth mentioning include “9-2-9” and the CD closer, the hard rockin’ “Dead or rock”. There is a bonus track called “Aren’t you a little pervert too”, which is basically one of Edguy’s more lyrically silly tracks, much like “Trinidad”. Although it is a tad funny, the song as a whole really should have been left off the CD for possibly another bonus track of better quality. Also worth noting that in the digipak edition of ‘Tinnitus sanctus’, the bonus disk contains a 10-track live CD, recorded in L.A. during Edguy’s ‘Rocket ride’ world tour.

Overall, I would have to say that the metal world will be quite satisfied with yet another entertaining and solid effort from Edguy. Despite a few weak tracks in the CD, and the bonus track being quite unnecessary, I feel that ‘Tinnitus sanctus’ is a must-have for all Edguy fans, especially if you get the digipak version that contains those live tracks. It may not be their best release in their discography, but it is far from their worst.

Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com

Probably the band’s weakest record - 65%

kluseba, October 24th, 2010

While the band’s last studio album was rather a funny and entertaining hard rock album, the band chose to continue this direction, but headed for a more epic and darker hard rock album this time. That’s why most of the songs on this album a more serious and profound than the stuff on the previous record.

There are still some boring eighty’s style hard rock tracks like “9-2-9” or another Bon Jovi ballad “Thorn without a rose” on this albums, but thank God those songs are a few boring exceptions. Edguy are back with some epic power metal hymns that are much darker than before like the single “Ministry of saints” that takes some time to grow on you or the album’s best song “Dragonfly” with its epic chorals and hypnotically chorus. “Sex, fire, religion” is maybe the hardest and darkest song that the band has ever written and is one of the few songs that one could classify as metal songs.

The band also decided to go back to their roots on “The pride of creation”, an entertaining and funny energetic high-speed power metal song in the key of a classical “Helloween” song. And as always, the band presents us their typical humorous song in the end, this time it “Aren’t you a little pervert too”, a conservative American country rock song that has been transformed in a vulgar fun anthem, but I think that this song doesn’t fit at all with the rest of the album and is too childish, even for a band like Edguy.

All in all, I like the darker style of this album hard rock album, but there are still several fillers on it and there is no real album highlight like “Sacrifice” has been on the last record. This is definitely one of the band’s weakest albums so I can only recommend this stuff to the true Edguy fans out there. The bonus disc is a nice gimmick that could be worth buying this album, but I would also rather choose the live package “Fucking with fire”.

Edguy channels 80s hard rock fail - 40%

autothrall, October 29th, 2009

I'm going to come clean and say that I'm not a big fan of this classic, dirty hard rock phase of Edguy's career. It's always been present in their sound to some extent, but I'm much more a fan of their earliest few albums when they were doing the power metal thing. In fact the last album I enjoyed was Mandrake.

Well, at its very best, Tinnitus Sanctus recalls moments of UK heavy metal bands from the 80s, like Saxon, hard rock Black Sabbath, or even early Wolfsbane. There are a few tracks like "Nine Lives" or "Dead or Rock" which are actually fairly catchy. But there's just too much of that rah rah hard rocker vibe, and combined with the album's simple sounding riffs and pretty fucking awful lyrics, we end up with what might be the worst Edguy album yet. Seriously...go listen again to Vain Glory Opera or "Arrows Fly" from Theater of Salvation. Or even the re-recording of Savage Poetry. Then listen to this. What the hell happened?

On the other hand, if you still wear your acid wash ripped jeans and think Whitesnake and Great White were the best bands on Earth, this may be the first Edguy album that you actually LIKE. For myself, most of the songs here were average at best, and I'd hope for the band's sake they get over this and go back to their roots. For all I know, this could be a smashing success for the band, re-uniting the fire young girls once had for bands like Nelson and Steelheart. But probably not.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

It's not funny now, nor was it ever. - 30%

Evangelion2014, October 15th, 2009

Edguy is a quirky example in the world of power metal, going from 80's style power metal with the standard lyrics of fantasy, destiny, glory and whatnot. They also spoke of an individualistic disdain of society and it's "fools". They then moved to a more brash modern style of heavy/power metal that was in your face about individuality in a direct way rather than in a metaphorical way. Then with their EP "Rocket Ride" they (supposedly) ridiculed the fools they had spoke of by imitating them while they moved to a more hard rock sound.

Still, I had high hopes for this album and I had expected they would return to the style that they had sported on "Mandrake" and "Hellfire Club". But as the saying goes: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Edguy have turned their mocking of modern, groove influenced rock into a full blown heap of modern rock dogshit with only a few token flashes of their old style and energy.

The first thing that you will notice is that the keyboards are almost completely gone, now they only show up to accent the guitar like an orchestra hit or in the throwback to Edguy's old style “Speedhoven”. This would actually be a good thing if Edguy had beefed up the guitars and threw down some cool power/speed riffs, but this isn't the case.

In fact, the only time the guitar shows up and leads the band is in the beginning of a song like In "Sex Fire Religion” or “Ministry of Saints” where they give you at least a passable modern heavy metal/hard rock riff, or when you get a solo, which manages to seem out of place with the rest of the music. Why? The solos are actually imbued with energy in a traditional heavy metal style. This contrasts with the guitars in the rest of the album, which are sludgy and distorted in almost a mallcore way. They either plod along slowly in a “dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun" pattern or throw out a few random power chords that often don't even try to fit in with the vocal melody.

Speaking of the vocals, Tobias has obnoxiously taken up a habit of trying to inject 'attitude' by attempting to make his voice gruff, which falls on its feet miserably. All the songs revolve around the chorus, and it's always a race to get there and to let all the other instruments get the fuck out of the way. This includes the drums, which usually just use a standard rock offbeat. Actually, a race would be a poor term to describe the music. It's more like a wounded turtle jacked up on barbiturates that happens to find the ugly brick wall of the chorus.

The purpose of that analogy was this: the music excruciatingly chugs to the chorus with no speed or fury and when it gets there the choruses are complete crap. Structuring a song around a chorus is fine; Edguy did this throughout "Vain Glory Opera" and it worked fine, but there's a catch to doing it this way: THE CHORUSES HAVE TO BE GOOD! Are they here? FUCK NO! First of all, they all are backed by a little choir, which seems really out of place in an album of groove rock, almost like they decided to throw them in to be "epic" when the rest of the music doesn't warrant that kind of mood.

Second, they are repeated over and over again until it makes you sick, and all the other instruments duck out of the way to make room for the almighty chorus. Third, they, along with the wannabe tough guy 'in your face' rocker vocal dressing restrict and trample Tobias into not having the opportunity for his vocals to soar because he needs to repeat the chorus. He's a good vocalist, but the music and his own annoying "attitude" end up preventing him from really showing what he is capable of.

Fourth, the lyrics are complete crap. They manage to sing about standard rock and roll topics: sex, heartbreak, women, and whatnot. However, at the same time they are also trying to be pretentious about it, and it just ends up sounding stupid. I don't mind a band being pretentious with lyrics, but at least sing about pretentious topics and have the music to back it up in terms of complexity and content.

Here are a few poetic gems the album has to offer:”Sex fire religion visionary position Angel in your temple of pleasure, Sex fire religion I been granted admission, Angel to your temple of love”, “All my supplications gone unheard, Your head in my crotch has turned to a boot, But you won't hear a word”. None of it makes any sense, except you get the vague idea they're talking about sex and how much it hurts to be alone or something.

So, what are the standout tracks on this? Well, there’s "Dead or Rock", an enjoyable little hard rock number that actually lets the guitar shine some, it's not brilliant, but its at least decent and possesses some brevity and energy. "Thorn Without a Rose" I can remember only because its the terrible ballad that still doesn't let Tobias flex his vocal muscles. "Aren't You a Little Pervert Too" is a country sounding joke song that makes fun of Americans by using a redneck stereotype, but it manages to be just irritating rather than funny or profound.

As for the good tracks, "The Pride of Creation" is an odd religiously tinged song sounding a bit like a modernized version of older Edguy that while being incredibly cheesy, actually manages to be the second best song on the album. Then there's the best track on the album, "Speedhoven" which thankfully clocks in at 7:42, and sounds like it's off of "Vain Glory Opera" or "Savage Poetry", but unfortunately is broken up by modernized soft acoustic breaks that have a few annoying lines like:"You'll never get I'll never be the one that you want me to be " but for the most part its solid old-school Edguy.

Is the album worth buying? Well considering that there 3 songs that are any good out of 10, the final score of the album ends up being 30%; it’s not worth your money. Listen to the singles, then buy them if you like them, but the whole album isn’t worth it. If I really wanted to hear this stuff other than for the track "Speedhoven", I could just turn on any old modern rock radio station, and I would get the same thing without the pretentiousness or without knowing that the band is capable of so much more. It's official: Edguy have sold out. Excuse me while I listen to some Blind Guardian to wash my ears out.

Modern rock valium and spontaneous ear bleeds. - 42%

hells_unicorn, May 12th, 2009

For the better part of 5 years Tobias Sammet and his 2 projects have kept me guessing, and that is not meant in a way to suggest that the changes occurring have been positive, quite the contrary. Somewhere between “The Metal Opera - Part 2” and “Hellfire Club” this trend started to creep into the music of both Edguy and later Avantasia that placed really weak toned and fuzzy distorted guitars punching out hypnotic grooves and dumb down Ritchie Blackmore riffs ahead of a fast, furious, and full of energy rush of melodically tinged speed metal ala late 80s Helloween and Blind Guardian. This wasn’t unique to Tobias’ projects, but was embraced by a lot of bands in the German scene who came out within the past 15 years, with varying levels of groove and modernist practices mixed in with the older, more metallic style.

In addition to finding itself now coasting in the plodding world of mid-tempo fluff rock, “Tinnitus Sanctus” all but completely underscores a good deal of what is wrong with power metal today, albeit maintaining some of the past practices of better days. There are very few majestic riff sections to speak of, what little speed and fury comes out of the mix is presented in a dryly produced and sloppily preformed fashion, and the lead vocals overcompensate on the attitude factor to replace the lack of polish in the sound. The only thing that really separates this from the garbage that made up early Symphorce is the tinny sounding guitars and the Queen inspired backup choruses.

From beginning to end, this album has a very clear format to it that is occasionally deviated from, and that is an overemphasis of the chorus. This is an accusation that gets thrown at the entire genre of power metal by some, but here everything is formatted all but completely within the parameters of rock radio. Hooks are everywhere, but twists and changeups are sparsely placed and often anticlimactic. A single listen to cliché progressions with little variance such as those heard on “Nine Lives” and “Ministry Of Saints” induce an instant sense of boredom and monotony, while would be throwbacks to 70s rock brilliance ala Deep Purple in “Sex Fire Religion” and “Dragonfly” get bogged down in excessive repetition and modern guitar and bass effects and don’t really go anywhere musically.

Digging through this for good moments is a bit of a to do, as most of the positive elements are found within otherwise mediocre songs, but there are a few gems in this pile of dirt. If you’re either able to survive the utter snore fest of the first two songs, “The Pride Of Creation” actually kicks things up a notch, though more in the way that “Judas In The Opera House” did rather than anything from the band’s glory days in the late 90s. The guitar tone and drum character clashes a bit with the style of the song, but the riffs are busy and interesting, and there are plenty of amazing vocal moments. “Wake Up Dreaming Black” is pretty solid as well, although the song is driven more by the beat and the vocal work and suffers from some half-groove/half-hard rock moments here and there. The highlight is “Speedhoven”, which aside from having a really ridiculous name, is something of a slightly inferior but still fun visit back to the fast melodic and epic days of “Theater Of Salvation”.

The bleeding ears of Jesus on the album art is an accurate warning label for this album, but not in the way that I think Tobias would have you believe. The blood is less a result of a grand assault on the eardrums in the metal sense and more of a product of blood vessels in that region of the head bursting due to intense frustration at waiting for this damn album to get going. Unless you can stomach a whole lot of really dull half-ideas being thrown at you in a similar fashion as what you get from mainstream hard rock, this is what will end up happening. It’s dreadfully mediocre and unfortunately also accompanied with some goofy tomfoolery at the end as well, and I’m not talking about a good song with buffoonish lyrics like “Save Us Now” either. Three decent songs equals a net worth of $3 for this, no more, no less.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on May 12, 2009.

A welcome case of earache - 85%

DarthVenom, November 29th, 2008

First impressions can mean a lot. For instance, I took one look at the bleeding-eared Jesus on the cover and thought, “That’s it, Sammet’s ego has finally gone nuclear”. But having been an Edguy fan for a longer time than not since I’ve been into metal, this album lived up to my expectations and perhaps a little more.

While I somewhat panned Sammet’s singing on The Scarecrow for not being quite as adventurous as that album’s numerous guest vocalists and for occasional misplaced dynamics, he more than holds his own here – Tinnitus Sanctus might be the album defining his career as a vocalist to this point. Taking a cue from acquaintance Roy Khan, Tobias takes the lyrics, then twists and bends them in numerous influxes that display steady growth as a vocalist – there are times when he matches Dickinson’s infamous snarl. Commendable performance.

The other band members put on a less-remarkable job, content with hovering around the level of “solid”. They’re pleasant to listen to as a unit. The melodious, energetic solos are enjoyable – not something that will stick in your head for hours after ejecting the disc, but once again, solid. The rhythm section remains undeterred by the record’s boisterous frontal members, instead preferring to provide a grounding point that keeps the whole experience tethered and focused.

The album flows solidly from front to back, but each and every song works in its own way as well. Long-time fans of the band will know what to expect on a base level: you’ve got the stomping, blazing riffs courtesy of Ludwig and Sauer, paving the path for Sammet’s exceptional, attitude-filled singing and your love-them-or-hate-them multitracked choruses. If you liked Paeth’s production job on The Scarecrow (I did), you’ll be pleased to know Tinnitus Sanctus retains much of that album’s balanced dynamic and organic feel.

The Pride Of Creation, as of now my favourite from the album, shows these classic Edguy elements put to work in a way where the synthesis of their sound’s elements all just comes together and clicks. I cherish those moments in a band’s catalogue, in this band’s case their Theater Of Salvations and their Piper Never Dies and such – and now this hyper-catchy, pounding and somewhat varied tongue-in-cheek religious critique. Guaranteed that if you’re a fan of positive bombast in your music, this number will get you moving.

The album has many standout moments: the memorable stomp of Ministry Of Saints, the whole of the adventurous and forward-thrusting Speedhoven reminding somewhat of older track Judas At The Opera, the odd quasi-chanted chorus of Dragonfly – but this is a record that seems determined to entertain you by going at its own thing, and doing it well. Sure, it’s not that technical, and it doesn’t push many boundaries. But damn if it isn’t one of the most –fun- albums I’ve been introduced to this month, and given the choice between mindless technicality and a tried-and-true method with heart and soul, I’ll take the latter most days.

Aren’t You A Little Pervert Too?! Deserves special mention as perhaps the band’s most unique humour-based song. While Edguy is running on a track record of one of these joke songs nearly once per album, this is the first one to simultaneously display a legitimate if silly message, while not even being comparable to the rest of the album musically. Exactly what do you do with a two-minute song about how many ways there are to get your rocks off, with equally-silly country overtones? With a grain of salt, that’s what. Musically there's not a whole lot going on, but the lyrics had me rolling, for what it's worth. Interesting idea, though.

Now, this album isn’t power metal, excerpt for perhaps The Pride Of Creation. For purposes other than explicit categorization, I find it sometimes detrimental to paint bands in such broad genre strokes – just imagine how brilliant, experimental albums like Virgin Steele’s Visions Of Eden or Sigh’s Imaginary Sonicscape could have seemed disappointing if one were to view them through the strict, respective genre-toned glasses that lead some listeners to dismiss something because they had different expectations for an album on a fundamental level. I don’t wish to compare this more straightforward effort to those albums – but it just goes to show that while subgenre labeling is extremely useful for recommendations of similar bands and other things, I prefer to cast aside all labels when I spin a CD and see what I make of the music and nothing else.

No, this can most easily be described as forward-driving hard rock with a shot of that distinctive Edguy bombast. Many had their doubts as to this band’s future after the silly aesthetic of the occasionally stagnant Rocket Ride, and after Avantasia’s more radio-friendly approach with portions of The Scarecrow. I remain a fan of the latter and a curious observer of the former (If nothing else, Rocket Ride was a thoroughly catchy endeavor and still had that genuine energy of a band enjoying themselves). But Tinnitus Sanctus shows the band still thrusting forward with the spark still burning, this time in a way far more confident than Rocket Ride ever was. There are moments, as with any post-Hellfire Club Sammet project, that I’m sure will turn off some strict metalheads – 929 could very well pass for a Bon Jovi song with its simple but driving structure and pleasing, anthemic chorus. But songs like that are unpretentious and straightforward enough for me to enjoy them for what they are.

Lyrically speaking, this album knows its aims and hammers them in effectively – sex, relationships and religion. I do think Dragonfly is the band’s first drug-related number, if my interpretation of those cryptic lyrics serves well. Well, going back to my very first impression – that probably explains what a bloody-eared Jesus is doing on the album cover. Insert snarky emoticon here.

The bonus CD, Live In Los Angeles, is a sure treat for those of you who missed out on the live DVD from the same tour of questionable legality, Live In Beijing. There isn’t too much to say about the bonus disc except for it possessing the same energy and enthusiasm, perhaps more, than Edguy puts forth on their studio efforts. Sammet’s crowd interaction is as entertaining as ever, and of particular note is his introduction of a certain synth-driven crowd favourite as, “Vain! Glory! Countdown!”…if you don’t get it, there’s a Europe song you should probably hear. Well, at least I thought it was funny.

In total: Edguy fans should not be disappointed. This is, all in all, an album that strives for honest fun above all else, and it gave me just that. Highly recommended; eighty-five percent edges into an A-rank.

One last note – I like how TS’s booklet follows an identical layout to that of The Scarecrow, as far as lyrics, band pics, etc. are concerned. It’s not a huge thing, but it puts yet another line of continuity between the two projects.

Of ringing ears and dragonflies. - 93%

Empyreal, November 17th, 2008

Picture Edguy's Tinnitus Sanctus as a piece of visual art. Where the band's previous effort Rocket Ride was a caricature of the band, with a big nose, floppy ears and drooping eyelids (Hell, just see the cover of the Superheroes EP to know what I'm talking about), and where Tobias's The Scarecrow was more along the lines of a sophisticated and invigorated painting of beauty and classy refinement, this new album is more like a gritty, real-life depiction of the state of the band at this point - and it's not a shabby affair at all, if I do say so myself.

Tinnitus Sanctus may have been a bit rushed after the calculated, pompous The Scarecrow back in January, but for those expecting an Astral Doors-esque flop will be delighted, as this is a great album on nearly every front. This is more down to Earth than Avantasia's latest outing, more serious than Rocket Ride and more compact than Hellfire Club, sitting right in the middle of all three of those albums with a defiant middle finger in the air, aimed right at conventional songwriting. Edguy have never been the strongest instrumentalists (being a sort of "sum is greater than the parts" situation), nor have they ever made a perfect album, but their strength lies, here more than ever, in creating unique, bombastic compositions and cramming them into this album to create quite the joyous listening experience for those looking for some variety in their Power Metal. Never strictly sticking to one genre, Tobias knows what he likes and continues to push the genre's boundaries with new innovations in every album he puts out, whether it be for Edguy or Avantasia. Tobias's vocals are excellent, getting better with every release as he adds bucket loads of charisma and nuance to his more coarse hard rock voice, and the instrumental section is improved, too; the guitars are more present here, with more solos, and even Eggi's bass has found its way to the front in "Sex Fire Religion" and "929."

Really, everything on here is good to some degree, and it will take several listens to digest fully. There are too many musical nuances on display here to focus on anything on the first listen, after all. I can't describe everything here in a few sentences, so here goes a track by track: "Ministry of Saints" is a hard n' heavy rocker with a driving chorus and a gravelly riff that will have your fist in the air by the first chorus, but then comes "Sex Fire Religion," with it's pounding industrial rhythms that still shock me with their heaviness, with Tobias yammering in an 80s hard rock fashion before the operatic chorus kicks in. The song has quite a palpable atmosphere, evoking images of dark, seductive, underground chambers, brimming with fire and clad in cold, hard stone - quite an original song; they've never done anything like it. There's even a tambourine in the background. "The Pride of Creation" is a more traditional Edguy song, although done up here with touches of zany hard rock, making for a bouncy, energized affair with choirs and screaming guitars to spare.

"Nine Lives," "Wake Up Dreaming Black" and "Dragonfly" are straight up ass-kicking hard rock, with the former two drilling themselves into your head with fierce conviction and loud, bombastic choruses, and the latter being a more mellow number with a huge, anthemic chorus and quite a strange tone and set of lyrics for this band. "Thorn Without a Rose" is the token ballad, and I like this one a lot; it's nice and very heartfelt, with some excellent lyrics here and there. I never known that dying embers could hurt more/Than the blazing fire we lit.... Fuck yeah. Then you get the charismatic, warmly emotional "929," in which Tobias pours his heart out into a bouncy, sticky love tune that might actually be one of the best on here, with its huge, mesmerizing chorus and dreamy bass lines. Not everything in rock has to be guitar-heavy to be good, and Tobias's more commercial songs - with this one as no exception - have always been excellently written.

"Speedhoven" is a surprise, with its plethora of Hammond keys and choirs, much like a more mature version of the band's EP-relegated "Judas at the Opera" from 2005, and it's quite a good song, one of the darker ones on here, with an excellent slow part in the middle. It also contains one of Tobias's best performances ever, up there with "Theater of Salvation," "The Piper Never Dies" and "The Scarecrow" for pure dramatic excellence. "Dead Or Rock" is a very straightforward and aggressive rock song, taking its cues from Saxon and Judas Priest, alongside a traditional barn-burning Edguy chorus to top it off, and then we get the goofy "Aren't You a Little Pervert Too?!" which is fun and definitely pretty witty in a way, but not particularly necessary. Still probably their best comedy song, I think; more of a message to this one than "Trinidad" for example.

This isn't perfect, as this was pretty rushed after the last Avantasia, as I mentioned. Sometimes you get a chorus that doesn't segue in properly from the bridge, and sometimes you get a song like "The Pride of Creation" which doesn't really even have a climax, but that's not why I listen to Edguy, and those flaws even make this album sound a little more down to Earth and comfortable. I like these guys because they play with a lot of pride and heart, and they play exactly what they like, be it metal or rock or pop or whatever. It is this that makes them such a stand-out band in our current Power Metal drought, and it's a damned shame not many others realize this. Nobody else sounds like Edguy, and Tinnitus Sanctus is an honest album from a band that has truly gotten better over the years, and I've never been prouder to be a fan. Get this one if you want your ears to be ringing this Christmas.