Forming in the early 90s, vocalist Tobias Sammet and guitarists Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer were all just 14-years-old when they decided to materialise their love for music by initialising Edguy. As far as German power metal goes, Edguy are up there battling amongst the heavyweights of the genre. But let’s face it, in recent times their ascent (or descent) to hard rock sounds has shown them in a different light.
Hammerfall may have tried it recently and left our souls feeling a tad withered but, regardless, Edguy’s new shade of light is beaming with bright ideas, brimming confidence and bold execution. Age Of The Joker can even be appreciated by the most staunch traditionalists out there.
Pandora’s Box proves Edguy have developed that hard rock riffery. But while this is becoming more prevalent, there’s still a focus on that colossal, theatrical effect on chorus’ with an eye for the spectacular. The use of symphonic keys is less apparent, but they’re there – just lower in the mix and probably making more impact than you would first realise. Rock Of Cashel is a surprise in it’s mid-section with upbeat folky guitar lines proving their open mentality.
Breathe, however, is a different flavour from the off. Electronic keys bombard us in the intro and give way to some emotive verses before re-emerging astutely – only once after, assuring that the song doesn’t become overrun with melodrama. That’s what can be appreciated here – yes, the traditional power metalling edges make it epic, but their fusion of blues-tinged hard rock grounds it somewhat.
Faces In The Darkness is a mild disappointment for the almost Motley-esque harmonising effort on chorus, tipping the balance to sound a little cheap and definitely disposable in the memory bank.
Closing the album is the starry-eyed ballad Every Night Without You, which would probably attract the average Aerosmith nut, but definitely magnetise those who ask for double cheese with their power metal.
It seems an increasing number of power metal addicts are getting involved in a retro 80′s assault, and some are falling victim while others reap rewards. A good chunk of fans will find themselves disillusioned – audience alienation is inevitable and the a volume of haters will surface on release day.
But Edguy dabbled stylistically some time ago, and they’ve only sought to continue picking berries from a number of closely related genre trees – making an effective swoop over a Venn diagram of trad metal, power metal and hard rock. Kudos – they not only have the balls to do it, but it works for them on Age Of The Joker.