Sunday, April 20, 2014

Edguy – Space Police – Defenders of the Crown

With each new Edguy album over the past 8 or so years comes the claim from vocalist Tobias Sammet that this one is heavier, faster, and better than the last one, as well as a return to the band’s roots. Objectively speaking, he’s been wrong about those albums being heavier or faster. Whether or not they’re better is up for debate, but I, alongside many other Edguy fans, would say “Tinnitus Sanctus” and “Age of the Joker” were not the band’s best work, despite having some great songs. The good news is that “Space Police – Defenders of the Crown” is by far the band’s heaviest and faster album since at least “Rocket Ride”, and possibly even “Hellfire Club”. More importantly however, this album feels like Tobi put as much effort into it as he does into Avantasia. The Avantasia records from 2008 and onwards are not stylistically all that different from Edguy’s recent output; the band has interspersed small amounts of power metal alongside more straight forward traditional heavy metal and hard rock. For some reason though, these Avantasia records tend to be a lot more compelling than the Edguy ones from the same timeframe. Nevertheless, the band is back on track with this album, as the beginning shows.

Opening up with “Sabre & Torch”, the band unleashes a “Mysteria”-esque riff that eventually gets pretty heavy. This track is upbeat and makes for a great sing-along chorus. Tobi does sound a bit tired on this track, making me wonder if he’s overworked given the sheer number of releases and tours he does, but his vocals actually sound a lot better on the rest of the album. This is most noticeable in some of the more laid-back tracks, such as “Do Me Like A Caveman”, which has a chorus that sounds like it was written in the same sessions as “Angel of Babylon” and “The Wicked Symphony”. It’s quite simple, but catchy nonetheless. In fact, it is memorability that is a big factor in separating “Space Police – Defenders of the Crown” from the other recent Edguy albums. Both title tracks have infectiously catchy choruses. The buildups to the choruses are well done, and culminate in fantastic sing-along moments. In fact, the latter title track brings back the “whoa-oh” sections that so many power metal bands have abandoned in recent years. It is these moments that make this style of music so much fun, and it is great to see them return.

Of course, what would an Edguy album be without something weird? The first of these strange moments is the alien sound effects on “Space Police”. This is annoying at first, but ends up improving the strength of the choruses that bookend it. The next head-scratcher is the cover of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus”. This song has some hip-hop/rap influenced sections, but again, those are easily ignorable due to the grandeur of the chorus. It’s easy to see how this track would be a turn-off to most metal fans, but perhaps my love for Edguy is blinding me as I actually really enjoy the song now.

The single on this record is “Love Tyger”, and it is certainly one of the tracks that harkens back to the sound of the last couple of records. It has a large glam influence, as it strives to be a fun song with a lot of energy. In the context of the album, having one song like this is actually a nice change of pace. And to vary up the rhythm of the album even more, the very next track, “The Realms of Baba Yaga”, is the speediest most old-school sounding song on the album. Don’t let the strange title fool you; this is Edguy playing some serious metal, complete with double bass, soaring vocals, and a shredding guitar solo. "Shadow Eaters" is stylistically similar, and is also likely to be a fan favourite.

Despite how impressive this record is, it does lose a bit of steam near the end. “The Eternal Wayfarer” is much in the vein of the tracks on the first half of the record, but is not quite as inspired as those early songs. The lone ballad, “Alone In Myself”, is the only song that is not particularly enthralling, as it doesn’t bring back the memorability of “Forever” or “Scarlet Rose”. For this reason, I’d suggest buying the special edition of the album, as it features another highlight: “England”. This song is pure Iron Maiden worship, literally. This track is actually a pretty catchy slow number, but it is the hilarious lyrics that make it even better. 

Space Police – Defenders of the Crown” is Edguy’s best record is a decade. The problem with most power metal bands that slowed down was never the fact that they mostly stopped playing power metal; it was that the music just wasn’t as good anymore. On this album, Edguy prove that when you bring back the high quality songwriting, this style of metal is just as awesome as the old stuff!

Be sure to check out and like Edguy on Facebook!

"Space Police"
"Defenders Of The Crown"
"The Realms Of Baba Yaga"
"Do Me Like A Caveman"

Final Rating
4.75/5 or 95%. 

Written by Scott 

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