Many progressive/power metal bands take many years to work up to a point where musically and lyrically they really find their niche. Germany's Edguy have been around now for about seven years, and with the release of Hellfire Club the band seems to have moved out of the shadow of Helloween and Iron Maiden to produce one of the most mature recordings of their career. Sure, there's still the strong dual lead guitar lines from Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer, certainly paying homage to Maiden & Helloween, and the unmistakable vocals of Tobias Sammet, who more than a bit resembles Michael Kiske or Bruce Dickenson, but the band as a whole has seemed to move away from the stereotypical power metal plug of "speedy metal riffs-meet-double bass drum" scenario of some of their earlier albums to deliver a metal platter of prime significance.
A song like "The Piper Never Dies" is quite frankly the best song that Edguy has ever written. Over ten minutes in length, this epic is much more symphonic prog metal than anything else, with Sammet's emotional vocals leading the charge over some serious progressive music from the rest of the band. And yes, they slow things down a notch here, allowing the guitars, keys, and rhythm section to all intermingle together, twisting, turning, and boiling together to make for one of the best prog-metal tunes I have heard so far this year. "Down to the Devil" is classic Edguy, with chugging guitars and soaring vocals, while the driving "King of Fools" has a classic sing-along chorus and heavy guitar riffs. There's plenty of symphonic keyboards and emotional vocals on the mostly acoustic "Forever", one of the best ballads the band has ever done, while "Under the Moon" simply scorches the earth with its metal intensity. I hear a hint of the Scorpions circa-1982 on both "Lavatory Love Machine" and "Rise of the Morning Glory", where the band hits home with cocky metal anthems that seem to have a commercial hard rock appeal. A similar tone is felt on "Navigator", a crunchy mid-paced rocker with heavy rhythm guitars & tasty leads, which segues into the emotional closer "The Spirit Will Remain", a number than ends the CD in grand classical fashion.
I for one am glad that Edguy has chosen to move away slightly from the standard power metal format with Hellfire Club. Here, the band has embraced its 80's influences and added some contemporary metal styles, while still retaining its progressive roots to create a metal album that will certainly please old and new fans alike.
1) Mysteria (5:45)
2) The Piper Never Dies (10:07)
3) We Don't Need a Hero (5:29)
4) Down to the Devil (5:28)
5) King of Fools (4:17)
6) Forever (5:41)
7) Under the Moon (5:05)
8) Lavatory Love Machine (4:24)
9) Rise of the Morning Glory (4:39)
10) Lucifer in Love (0:32)
11) Navigator (5:20)
12) The Spirit Will Remain (4:12)