Germany's Edguy — a band named after, of all things, a school teacher — has always resided in the upper echelon of European power metal, with its rousing anthems and infectious hooks borrowing equally from classic Eighties hair metal and modern power metal. Singer, keyboard player and chief songwriter Tobias Sammet sounds in prime form – better than ever, actually – and he seems eager to leave behind, at least temporarily, the epic songs and fantasy lyrics of his two-part Avantasia metal opera project.
The five-song King of Fools EP, which precedes the band's sixth full-length studio album Hellfire Club, continues Edguy's streak of strong material. The stomping title track (a radio-edit version) is typical Edguy, but it can't be more worthy of the single treatment than some of the other songs on Hellfire Club. Of the four bonus tracks, "Holy Water" is stronger and more dramatic than "The Savage Union," while the acoustic and witty "Life and Times of a Bonus Track" pokes fun at the international metal scene: "I'm a bonus track on my way to Japan/And I'm gonna be spread on the Internet/I'm a bonus track, to Brazil and back/Enjoying worldwide fame."
Then "Life and Times of a Bonus Track," like "The Savage Union" and "New Age Messiah" (the EP's best track) springs upon listeners a surprising slew of profanity, particularly when it comes to derivations of the word "fuck." That alone wouldn't be so noteworthy, especially in the concept song "New Age Messiah," if it a) wasn't so atypical of Edguy and b) didn't have references to Jesus Christ in the same sentence. King of Fools earns an extra half-star for only including one song (the title track) that appears on Hellfire Club. But it loses a half-star for the EP's crass and potentially offensive lyrical content. That said – and personal beliefs aside — based on the material here, Hellfire Club could be Edguy's best album. Holy fuck!
1) King of Fools (3:35)
2) New Age Messiah (6:00)
3) The Savage Union (4:15)
4) Holy Water (4:17)
5) Life and Times of a Bonus Track (3:23)
Total Time: 21:30