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Hooray! It's Not Shit! - 79%

Larry6990, November 6th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Nuclear Blast

Many of Tobias Sammet's die-hard fans have been worried in recent years. Not that his song-writing talent had decreased, but more that he'd lost his grip on the blazing symphonic power metal he was capable of producing in the late 90s/early 00s, and turned to a more AOR-esque style of hard rock. This would be fine if the excellent song-writing shined through. But the new style overshadowed and engulfed Sammet's music, bringing with it a hype of negativity from most audiences. Both "Tinnitus Sanctus" and "Age of the Joker" were...mediocre. Not bad. Not good. Just frustratingly average. The same can be said for his Avantasia project.

However, the time has come... The fanbase can begin to pick up their metaphorical pom-poms and cheer with encouragement. Edguy's newest offering, the humorously-titled "Space Police - Defenders of the Crown" isn't exactly brimming with euro-power brilliance, but it's certainly pushing things in the right direction. Whereas "Age of the Joker" only contained a select few tracks which hearkened back to glory days. This new outing sees that classic German power metal atmosphere sprinkled lightly and consistently across all 10 tracks. Let's not forget Tobias Sammet's unmistakable sense of humour, which is also spread out evenly among the contents of this album.

"Sabre & Torch" kicks things off in real style. Bursting in with a headbang-worthy riff straight out of "Hellfire Club" - this opener refuses to relinquish your attention from the memorable hooks and anthemic chorus. The next two tracks follow suit with well-written choruses and excellent keyboard-driven melodies: "Defenders of the Crown" definitely being the track to take the listener right back to the days of "Kingdom of Madness". The glam and hard rock influences are made more apparent on the next two tracks: "Love Tyger" and "The Realms of Baba Yaga". Though the texture is certainly diluted, these songs are bright, vibrant and brimming with a youthful energy that is unmistakably Edguy.

The closing epic "The Eternal Wayfarer", the broody groove of the amusing "Do Me Like A Caveman", and the balladic "Alone In Myself" all have their faults and charms - resulting in a slight dip in quality towards the album's close. But the absolute highlight of this new release has to be the cover of Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus". Could there possibly be a better choice of song for Sammet and co. to cover? The Austrian classic is done satisfiable justice, and then given a metallic edge to really add some gravitas - totally infectious!

The production isn't quite perfect; the guitars could certainly do with being beefed up slightly, preferably with a more audible bass sound - but at least Tobi's incomparable vocals shine through like the sun. The artwork is fantastic - continuing the cartoon-esque theme which started with 2006's "Rocket Ride" and was further established on 2011's "Age of the Joker". The liner notes are also hilarious, and give you a great insight into the work ethic of this unique bunch of Germans: "You should see him [Felix, drummer]. Soooooo cute!"

It's not a perfect package...not yet. But "Space Police" is a massive improvement on the previous two albums - and shows potential to not only relive the power metal days of yore, but to also engrave its own style upon the legacy of Edguy; leaving room for even more diverse music on future releases. Here's to one satisfied customer, and here's to the next Avantasia! Because things are looking up indeed.

We're riding out, pass by the moon.
Bird's eye view on the universe.
We're all about breaking the rules.
"Freeze!" goes the Space Police!