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Edguy: Age of the Joker

Could it be that German power-metallers Edguy have been listening to me these last few years? Having been a big admirer of their early work, I'll admit to being pretty critical of the band's last few releases, as they have seemingly gone from being a potent power metal act to more of a 'happy go lucky joke metal band' over their last few releases. When I saw the title of their new CD Age of the Joker I figured we were in for more of the same, but Tobias Sammet & Co. are doing their best to prove me wrong, as this one contains more of their classic power metal elements and less of the sub-par material from recent memory.

Opener "Robin Hood" is a catchy but heavy tune that starts things off in a positive direction. Edguy have always been heavily influenced by Helloween, and this one is no different, so I'm glad to see them embracing their roots once again. "Nobody's Hero" is easily the heaviest track they've recorded in years, filled with crushing riffs and blazing leads, plus Tobias' powerful vocal performance. "Rock of Cashel" is less successful but still a decent melodic metal song with some nice hooks. On "Pandora's Box" the band introduces some blues guitar licks before titanic metal guitar riffs come into play, and "Breathe" brings to mind the more symphonic work of Tobias' other band Avantasia. However, on "Two Out of Seven", the band inject some pop and industrial elements that just don't work, and " Faces In The Darkness", despite being really, really heavy, is more in the modern metal vein than power metal. Thankfully they dive right back into majestic power/prog metal on the exciting "The Arcane Guild", and the powerful ballad " Fire On The Downline" pulls all the right strings in every way. As if they are saving some of the best songs for late in the CD, Edguy rip into the snarling demon that is "Behind The Gates To Midnight World", a dark descent into grand power metal, rich with soaring vocals, Symphony X styled guitar riffs, choirs, and majestic keyboards. After all the bombast, Age of the Joker goes out with somewhat of a whimper on the tearjerker ballad "Every Night Without You".

Other than a couple of minor bumps, Age of the Joker is very strong, and easily Edguy's best album in years. Rather than rely on their silly 'everyone's favorite goofy power metal band from next door' gimmick of the last 5 years, Age of the Joker shows a serious metal band still able to crank out some really strong & exciting material. They've managed to make me stand up and take notice, and I'm the first to admit I'd already given up hope that they had anything left in them.

Track Listing
01. Robin Hood
02. Nobody's Hero
03. Rock Of Cashel
04. Pandora's Box
05. Breathe
06. Two Out Of Seven
07. Faces In The Darkness
08. The Arcane Guild
09. Fire On The Downline
10. Behind The Gates To Midnight World
11. Every Night Without You

Added: August 28th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2522
Language: english

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