I picked this CD up about a week ago and it's been on almost constant rotation. German power metal band Edguy deliver a brand new sound on their sixth studio album which offers a more stripped-down approach than previous works. Even more impressive considering they're all only in their twenties. Tobias Sammet, founder and lead singer of the band is definately someone to watch out for in the future of music.
But on the content of the album itself.
Track 1- Mysteria: A powerful opener. The synth intro is accompanied by Sammet's crazed howl of "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Freak Show!" before launching into an aggressive onslaught from the rest of the band. The pure energy of this track sets the tone for the rest of the track, giving us a prelude to the power that has yet to come.
Track 2- The Piper Never Dies: At 10:07 seconds, this epic track fortunately avoids the one pitfall that longer songs tend to fall into: there really is no boring part of this whole song! The band shows off the extent of their musical and lyrical prowess beautifully, shifting from one mood from the next fluidly. The chorus is Maiden-esque and will have you singing along by the second time it comes around. It's very clear by now that Edguy wear their influences on their sleeves while still forming their own distinctive sound.
Track 3- We Don't Need a Hero: Keyboards aside, this one clearly shows influences of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Edguy's earlier operatic style. This also is the first of several songs that give Edguy a different outlook than other metal bands. Among the glut of modern metal that whines and laments about their sorrows and misfortunes, Edguy give us songs about fighting for life, your beliefs, and your independence. Listening to this album straight through can be very empowering.
Track 4- Down to the Devil: Similar to We Don't Need a Hero, this song is about the struggle of the individual. Specifically, Down to the Devil is about fighting to be your own person in a society that negatively reinforces ideals of perfection and conformity. It has a more spiritual bent to it than you would think. The topic might seem cliche, but Tobias Sammet's lyrics present it to us in a way that few if any have ever done. After all, if every story has already been told, then it's the telling that counts.
Track 5- King of Fools: The first radio single off of this album, King of Fools isn't one of the more outstanding tracks, but still very fun. This picks up where Down to the Devil left off. We Don't Need a Hero is the realization of striking out on one's own, Down to the Devil is about learning of the consequences of doing so and deciding to go ahead anyway, and King of Fools is the actual struggle.
Track 6- Forever: A life-affirming ballad that shows us just how versatile the band really is, and also gives us an empowering perspective. It's as if this brings closure to the trilogy above, letting us know that the struggle is all worth it in the end.
Track 7- Under the Moon: Shifting gears, Under the Moon is a dam
ning indictment of blind faith. We are given a story of people looking for their messiah, their prophet, and plan to crush everyone who gets in the way of their spreading his holy word. At times chilling, always intense.
Track 8- Lavatory Love Machine: Once more we shift gears into a homage to glam metal in Lavatory Love Machine, a song about a guy joining the Mile High Club with a stewardess to take his mind off his fear of flying. No, I'm not kidding. This is the second radio single off of the album, but I prefer this to King of Fools. It's just too **** fun!
Track 9- Rise of the Morning Glory: Another life-affirming song. This one is an energetic rocker instead of a ballad like Forever, but the message is the same. Not my favorite track, but I certainly wouldn't skip it. Once again, the chorus will have you singing along like your favorite songs from the 80's.
Track 10- Lucifer in Love: This is a short instrumental using the melody you'll recognize as the intro to Down to the Devil. The music is accompanied by the indistinct moans of an inhuman voice. Possibly the weirdest track on the entire album, but it provides a nice intro to the next song.
Track 11- Navigator: This is something of a cautionary tale. Once again, it tells a story, this one of a man who sets on a quest for heaven which ultimately destroys him. The message is that you can't go looking for Paradise, you have to live your life to achieve your own paradise. It's a very provocative song with some beautiful imagery and instrumentation.
Track 12- The Spirit Will Remain: Another ballad, this one shows traces of Edguy's older sound with a full orchestra and the symphonic elements done tastefully without being over-done. It's makes a very touching farewell song for the closing of the album.
Overall, there is not a bad song on this album. There is no filler, and every note, every line, every beat seems to accomplish something. Even those of you who generally don't like power metal may be pleasantly surprised by Hellfire Club.
Though several songs in particular stand out, such as The Piper Never Dies, everything meshes together so well and flows seemlessly. You could put this album in a loop on your CD player, and The Spirit Will Remain would still lead so effortlessly into Mysteria.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who appreciates classic metal such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Deep Purple, as well as melodic metal such as Dio and Helloween. Edguy is one of those bands you just have to try at least once.
Tobias Sammet- vocals, keyboards
Jens Ludwig- guitars
Dirk Sauer- guitars
Tobias "Eggi" Exxel- bass
Felix Bohnke- drums