Edguy was never one of my favourite bands. Mandrake was pretty cool, sure, but aside from that they've seemed more like a tier two power metal band than anything else. None of the albums I've heard from this German quintet were completely unlistenable, there were weak sections for sure, but the final package always turned out to be pretty satisfactory. Then they released Rocket Ride. If Kai Hansen was dead, he'd be turning in his grave. From the album artwork down to the songs to ***ing with Fire (Hair Force One), you really have to wonder what Toby and friends were thinking when putting together their 2006 release. Because, my friends, they've stooped to a brand low here. Despite reading several positive reviews around the press and the net regarding the band's latest offering, I can't see at all how Edguy creates something productive on Rocket Ride.
Musically is one of the areas where the band hits rock bottom, and the impact is quite hard. In what is likely an effort to switch up their sound, Edguy has mixed their power metal sound with the recognizable hair metal/80's hard rock sound. Now I have no problem with bands who try to change up their style, but it has to be done tastefully. Rocket Ride does not accomplish this. Instead, we're have here is an hour of cringe worthy, uninspired rock that fails to live up to its hype. Songs such as Save Me, Trinidad, and ***ing With Fire have been taken directly from the hair metal vault of riffs, a vault that, quite frankly, should never have seen the light of day ever again. The music in these songs can get pretty catchy at times, yet when considering that it sounds generic, it isn't a great trade off. But despite this obvious rock influence, there are still a few songs with power metal overtones. This is fairly evident in the likes of Out of the Vogue, Return to the Tribe, and the Asylum. Unfortunately, these particular songs suffer the same fate as their rock-ish counterparts. Often enough, the poor song writing renders any possible momentum built up be the ever so slightly interesting intros useless (see Catch of the Century), and the material becomes quite dull. Edguy makes no real effort to change up formula of each track, and as the album drags on, the songs begin to start sounding similar to each other. Yes, there really aren't any redeeming features when it comes to the music, unless of course, you like your music boring and tasteless.
Much like their countrymen in Helloween and Gamma Ray, Edguy likes to add a bit of silliness into their music. For the most part, they've been able to succeed in adding these humorous elements into their material without looking stupid. Well, almost. But unfortunately, they cannot keep the streak going. Rocket Ride dips into the realm of utter stupidity, and descends here more than once. Edguy makes several attempts at humour throughout the album, be it through the album cover, or songs like Superheroes and Trinidad. In fact, while listening I get the feeling that most of the second half is one big joke, and isn't to be taken seriously. But that isn't really acceptable after the debacle that was the first half of Rocket Ride, now is it? And not to ruin the party, but it also helps if the sections intended to be funny are actually, well, funny. There is one part of Rocket Ride which I did find myself laughing at, that being Toby's ballistic little speech at the end of Catch of the Century, but aside from that the well is pretty dry. Better luck next time.
If there was one saving grace of Rocket Ride, it would be vocalist Tobias Sammet. How's that for a surprise twist? I wasn't really impressed with Toby's past efforts, to be honest. Whether is just be because of the way the band layered his vocals, or is actual performance, or maybe even a mixture of both, I've always found him to be quote irritating. On Rocket Ride Toby does not really change his technique or the way he sings. But his efforts are undeniably better than in the past. Sammet's melodic singing is really the only thing that the band has going for them on Rocket Ride, as he provides solid performances in songs like Superheroes and Catch of the Century. Toby excels the most during the song's choruses, and his energetic vocal lines manage to retain some sense of listening value. Too bad there's more to music than vocals, otherwise we might have had something worthwhile.
Even though I don't really count myself as a fan of Edguy, their 2006 "effort" has been one of my biggest disappointments when listening to new music. Aside from the singing of Tobias Sammet and a few select humorous parts, Rocket Ride has nothing which makes it worth listening to. The album is quite unimaginative and dull, with few moments creating momentum, and fewer interesting passages. Fans of hard rock may find this tolerable, as may hardcore fans apparently, but I myself cannot buy into the hype and praise surrounding the album. Don't make Rocket Ride your next Edguy purchase, especially if it would be your first. Instead, opt for one of the band's older album such as Mandrake.