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A Megalith of a Compilation - 90%

HeavyMetalMeltdownReviews, September 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, 2CD + DVD, Nuclear Blast

25 years ago, who would have thought that a bunch of German teenagers would set out to make their mark on the heavy metal world? Led by the enigmatic ball of kinetic energy Tobias Sammet, a fresh faced, happy go-lucky group of 15 year olds obsessed with the likes of Helloween, Magnum, Queen and Queensrÿche set forth from Fulda in Germany calling themselves Edguy, from here, they forged their own empire forever entering the annals of heavy metal. To help celebrate a quarter of a century as a band, Edguy released ‘Monuments’ on July 14th.

As far as ‘greatest hits’ goes, ‘Monuments’ is a megalith of a release, with songs spanning their entire career from their debut of ‘Savage Poetry’ back in 1995, to their most recent album, 2014’s ‘Space Police - Defenders of the Crown’. However, ‘Monuments’ is far from a retrospective collection of singles, fan and band favourites, ‘Monuments’ shows how Edguy have evolved as a band and how they are still evolving, ever growing as musicians, friends and idols.

Tobias Sammet has never been one to sit still for a moment, splitting his time between Edguy, writing catchy tongue in cheek heavy metal and his metal opera project Avantasia. Having recently been touring Avantasia in support of their latest album ‘Ghostlights’. Now, if this had been anyone else, you would be expecting a greatest hits with maybe one new song or a couple of demo/live/unreleased tracks that have been floating around in the vault for years and undoubtedly already surfaced online, although ‘Monuments’ does include the unreleased song ‘Reborn in the Waste’ from the ‘Savage Poetry’ era. However, this is Tobi Sammet and with ‘Monuments’, Edguy have brought you not one, but five new songs. But wait, there’s more! Each song seems to have been lovingly crafted and written to represent a different era of Edguy, this goes as far to show not just how far the band has come, but what a highly talented bunch of musicians Edguy are, with the band only exchanging drummers once in the late 90’s, it goes to show how each band member is as valued as the next and undeniably, Sammet has one of the best voices of the past 25 years.

‘Monuments’ kicks off with a bang, beginning with the fantastic ‘Ravenblack’. ‘Ravenblack’ is very much in the more recent vein of Edguy, it would be out of place on any of Edguy’s releases from ‘Tinnitus Sanctus’ onwards. As well as ‘Ravenblack’, along similar lines is once more the coming of age in a band song ‘Open Sesame’, both these songs captures Edguy in a snapshot of present time with their hugely catchy chorus’ and memorable riffs courtesy of Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer. Sandwiched in between ‘Ravenblack’ and ‘Open Sesame’ is a song of typical Edguy standards, the tongue in cheek humour of ‘Wrestle the Devil’ with its cheesy 80’s hair metal stylings, it would fit perfectly on the likes of ‘Rocket Ride’ and ‘Hellfire Club’ with a song delivered in a way that only Tobi Sammet can. There is also a glimpse of a previous time in Edguy with ‘The Mountaineer’. Beginning with a riff that is straight out of Helloween’s ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part 1-2’ songbook and recalls memories of listening to ‘Mandrake’, Theater of Salvation’ or ‘The Savage Poetry’ for the very first time and would certainly appeal to any fans of that era.

For the retrospective tracks, ‘Monuments’ covers it all, two discs of prime cuts of Edguy, from the cheesy ‘The Final Countdown’ style intro to ‘Vain Glory Opera’, the Thin Lizzy-esque musings of ‘Rock of Cashel’, the pure filth of ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ and the epic ‘The Piper Never Dies’, to the confusing points of Edguy where you can easily confuse them with Edguy due to guest vocalists such as ‘Judas at the Opera’ which features Michael Kiske and and ‘Out of Control’ which also features Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch. Alongside two epic standing stones of greatest hits and new songs, ‘Monuments’ also comes equipped with a live DVD of Edguy playing in Brazil as well as every music video that Edguy have released.

‘Monuments’ is a great career spanning compilation, it would suit anybody who has a passing interest in Edguy and wishes to pursue this further, whilst at the same time, ‘Monuments’ would easily appeal to lifelong fans of the band who are eager to condense their favourite songs onto two discs alongside hearing new songs and the tantalising prospect of an unreleased track. The only downside to ‘Monuments’ is that the new songs available on the album would make the foundations of another great Edguy album and it can be debated as to whether they should have been held over for a totally new Edguy release? Regardless of this, ‘Monuments’ is a fantastic way to mark 25 years, thank you for the memories Edguy and here’s to another 25 years.

Value for money for old and new fans - 80%

kluseba, July 25th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, 2CD + DVD, Nuclear Blast

One can always discuss the necessity to release a compilation but Edguy's first and last greatest hits collection was released thirteen years prior to this release and the band has released five studio albums that hadn't been included on Hall of Flames. In this case, I would say it's acceptable to come around with such a release to celebrate the band's twenty-fifth anniversary.

Monuments offers twenty-two songs covering twenty-five years. Obviously, the band had to make certain choices regarding the songs that might disappoint some fans. I was surprised this record didn't include the powerful first single from the last record "Sabre & Torch", the band's best epic in form of the Savatage-inspired symphonic power metal anthem "Sacrifice" or the band's overlooked first epic "The Kingdom" with a narrative part involving Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl. On the other side, the compilation covers power metal tracks from the band's early years such as "Key to My Fate", hard rock and heavy metal fun anthems of the middle years such as "Lavatory Love Machine" and more epic recent material like the folk-inspired "Rock of Cashel". Despite a few essential tracks missing and the Kingdom of Madness album being completely ignored, the overall mixture of old and new material, short and epic tracks, power metal anthems and hard rock party tunes is balanced and represents the spirit of the band very well.

To make things more interesting for faithful fans of old date, this compilation even includes a respectable six unreleased tracks. Five are completely new songs with lyrics inspired by the band history. These songs also represent the band sound very well as they vary between up-tempo European power metal in "Ravenblack" to slightly slower and more grooving and rocking hard rock anthems such as "Wrestle the Devil". These five songs aren't particularly great but solid and typical material for the band. Ironically, the most interesting unreleased tune is a song recorded during the Savage Poetry recording sessions twenty-two years ago when the band members were still unknown teenagers and not famous rock Icons. "Reborn in the Waste" is a little bit darker and more rhythmic than the usual Edguy sound and Tobias Sammet's grounded vocals sound surprisingly variable. This song shows what stunning potential the band already had back then and this outtake sounds much better than many regular songs on this compilation despite its demo sound.

In addition to the two CDs, this release also includes a DVD that might be the most interesting part for old fans. Edguy had recorded a live show in Brazil back in 2004 but due to some technical problems, the live show had never been fully released. The first three songs of the show had been included on the Superheroes DVD. The audio version of the ballad "Land of the Miracle" was included as a bonus song on the limited edition of the Rocket Ride album but all other songs haven't been released so far. Instead, the band decided to record another show in Sao Paulo two years later which was released as "Fucking with Fire". The Sao Paulo show from the Hellfire Club tour in now available in its full length. The band performance is energizing, the crowd is enthusiastic and the set list includes a few great rarities such as André Matos' guest appearance during the Avantasia song "Chalice of Agony". The image quality of the show is slightly below average, the camera work is a little bit blurry and shaky at times and there is a weird cut with some missing sounds in the opening "Mysteria" but otherwise the concert is of very good quality. The DVD also includes all eight official Edguy video clips including the unreleased "Two Out of Seven" video clip which isn't very original though.

To keep it short, Monuments is a very good introduction to the band for new or occasional fans. It's also an above average release for faithful fans thanks to the six unreleased tunes and the bonus DVD. The booklet with numerous pictures is also quite entertaining to go through. Don't hesitate to purchase this collection at a reasonable price.