on 29 August 2011
Edguy had their work cut out producing a follow up to Tinnitus Sanctus, an album frontman Tobias Sammet proclaimed to be the finest of their career. Age of the Joker is certainly a worthy successor. Once again teaming up with producer Sascha Paeth, the band has put together another excellent set of songs that could justifiably escalate them into the company of metal's elite.
Tobias was very vocal about his distaste for the `loudness war' and this album does not fall foul to that unfortunate trend. Every instrument has room to breathe, with Tobias' soaring vocals giving more credence to his status as one of the finest singers in metal. The backing vocalists/choirs should also be acknowledged, as they do a terrific job and give a lot of power to the songs.
Things kick off with "Robin Hood", a song that gallops along like the titular hero on a trusty stead before a break that recalls Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". "Rock of Cashel" revisits the Celtic influenced sound seen in tracks such as 2001's "Jerusalem", as well as Avantasia classics "Farewell" and "The Scarecrow". It features a beautiful, melodic break that most metal bands could only dream of producing. Tobias Sammet, jack of no trades, master of all it seems.
One of Edguy's greatest qualities has been the ability to assimilate new sounds and influences into their music, whilst still remaining undeniably Edguy. This is no more evident than on "Pandora's Box", which fuses country-esque riffs across a sprawling, atmospheric backdrop. The result is staggering.
A one two combo of "Breathe" and "Two Out of Seven" provides the albums knockout punch. They are massive, synth heavy rockers that modern Edguy does so well. Undoubtedly two of the highlights of the album, along with "Fire on the Downline", which has the best chorus on the album (but let's be honest, they're all winners).
The riff heavy power metal workouts are delivered in the form of "Nobody's Hero" and the blistering "The Arcane Guild", sure to quench the thirst of those yearning for late 90s Edguy. "Faces in the Darkness" features a slow, crushing riff and a brooding vocal delivery from Sammet with a spectacular chorus rounding things off. This is probably the best example of the layered vocals working so well.
"Behind the Gates to Midnight World" is a slow burning mini epic, a journey to a tranquil city amongst the stars. The gorgeous lead break is truly special. Things conclude with "Every Night without You", a wonderful ballad that Tobi seems to be able to effortlessly produce.
Nine albums, nine winners from Germany's finest metal export (sorry Mille!) 2011 may be the Age of the Joker, but for the past 15 years in heavy metal, it has been the Age of Edguy. Here's hoping this is an age that will last for many more years to come.
on 13 September 2011
I liked Tinnitus Sanctus a lot more than some "fans" of the band, but I had one chief complaint: the guitar work was rather flat: despite the fact that I loved the vocal melodies and insanely catchy tunes heald within, the guitarwork was basic, only seeming to serve as a rather flat percussion: how Pleased I was to hear this latest one: the same variety, catchy, power meets hard rock sound of tinnitus, but with much more relevant, prominent guitarwork and bounce to it: it's obvious that the vocals and in some places the keyboards are the most important aspect to it all, but the guitarwork is good in places: to me it has a slightly mysteria like crunch in places, which to these ears sounds like a cool little callback to their earlier style on that album.
Further comparing to Tinnitus, this sounds SLIGHTLY staler in places, despite the heavier, bouncier sound: whilst each song on Tinnitus sounded different, and had a memorable quality or vocal, something recognisable to associate with it, Age of the Joker is in a sense, not quite as instantly memorable: it has a more unified sound and whilst good in a sense, some of the songs don't leave quite the same initial impression of classic Edguy, but seriously, let these songs bed in a wee bit: after a few more listens especially, they will start to reveal themselves properly: All that being said, this is still a great album, with a good deal of variety still in place, and a very catchy, bouncy overall sound, with Tobias's vocals as recognisable and effective as ever: so, if you are an edguy fan, obviously get this album, it has everything that has made the last couple of installments such succesfull melodic rock/metal opuses, and once the songs have bedded in, you may end up finding this to be the band's most consistent sounding one in a while. Unified, yes, but this album takes some very interestin twists and turns, sometimes in small segments, that also make it somewhat more interesting at the same time. AT times, like I said, it does feel a mite more typical than Tinnitus, despite the twists and turns it takes, maybe there ISNT as many stand out Edguy classics in the long run, but that never stops it from being a hugely enjoyable ride at any point. It could have been a classic if the songs had been more defined on occasion.
Robin Hood - 08/10 - Great epic opener - it does go on a bit longer than it should, and the melodies feel slightly like standard Edguy, but it IS undeniably a hugely enjoyable, bouncy way to start the album
Nobody's Hero - 09/10 - a very typical Edguy hard rockin mid-tempo stomper with an upbeat chorus, this is a cracker: a comfortable, familiar sound, that still manages to be massively enjoyable and catchy: punchy, dramatic chorus followed by a nice crunchy guitar.
Rock of Cashel - 10/10 - Love this song - begins with a really neat bit of melodic guitarwork that picks up pace: and whilst the vocal becomes quite typical at first, the bridge and chorus are fantastic: again quite mid paced leading into punchy and dramatic, but instantly memorable and likeable - also dig the medieval feel to the guitarwork sometimes - gives it a slightly proggy sound I feel - something that is heightened when the song breaks into a brief little proggy, keyboardy sort of section. one of my fave edguy songs, probably: just very catchy, with a memorable old fashioned feel to it: like Theater of salvation crossed with rocket ride.
Pandora's Box - 08/10 - begins with a cool, subtle bit of guitarwork, before picking up pace and turning into another mid-tempo number: but it is prevented from sounding like a typical number of that style by introducing a more hard rock vocal, and reintroducing the guitar style from the "intro", from the start of the song: if the first three songs were more melodic metal, this is more straight forward hard rock, with the more stylised vocals - this one also has a really neat chorus: maybe not a classic vocal/chorus overall, but some neat guitarwork, and some more interesting twists and turns in the sound - Edguys first country rock section (you know what bit I mean!) - still make it another cracker.
Breathe - 09/10 - beginning with a bouncy section, very catchy guitar and keyboard going hand in hand: what follows feels like a typical quasi ballad vocal that soon picks up pace along with the instrumentation, but once again, the band trumps expectations: what could have just been a typical, unmemorable number becomes as enjoyable as the rest, mainly down to a stand out chorus: highly melodic and catchy: emotional and dramatic, soon followed by that memorable little keyboard/guitar section: so not a classic verse, maybe, but the instrumentation and chorus make sure that is never really that obvious or bothersome.
Two out of Seven - 07/10 - Very similar in structure and sound to Breathe, albeit not quite as memorable: both the verse and chorus are not the greatest: not exactly something you will skip when its time comes, just standard: still enjoyable mind, with another catchy bit of keyboard action going on occasionally.
Faces in the Darkness - 08/10 - Opening with a slightly melancholy sounding balladic moment, it soon develops into a heavy, grooving monster: very anthemic, mid tempo stuff with a catchy rytmn going on - when the vocals first come, it continues that slightly sinister, darker, perhaps slightly melancholy tone: neither the verse nor chorus is the most memorable vocal melody the band has ever came up with, but the overall quality of it, and the sheer enjoyability makes up for it: a crackin song, then, just not one that's destined to be a classic.
The Arcane Guild - 08/10 - a more upbeat, melodic kind of song, reminded me of mandrake era stuff a bit, and like some of the other songs, the "standard" edguy sound is there: the song is very catchy, very well done and enjoyable at all times, but it aint a classic - it's not defined enough or stand alone enough to be considered a band classic. Must mention the guitarwork here, though: once again, the interplay with the keyboards makes for a really neat sound.
Fire on the Downline - 06/10 - slightly boring ballad: despite good vocal, the verse is pretty bog standard metal/rock ballad, and even when it picks up with a nice bouncy keyboard/guitar bit, it's all distinctly meh: not really much to say about this one: whislt still OKAY, its only that: its quite unmemorable.
Behind the gates to the midnight world - 10/10 - an epic that is truly epic - unlike a lot of other songs on this album, it transcends being a very good edguy song and manages to be just a very good song overall: picking up pace in a typical fashion, all leads to a magical, epic chorus and some genuinely cool, crunchy guitarwork and atmospheric moments: goes through numerous tempos, executes all of them sucesfully: great song, this.
Every night without you - 08/10 - not as strong a finish as midnight world might have been - in esscence a fairly standard, tacked on ballad, but like so many of the songs on this, it transcends what is mostly fairly typical execution and a feeling that it isn't as memorable as it could have been, and actually manages to be enjoyable and foot-tapping against the odds
So, yeah, sorry for the length: was bored. Very enjoyable album, especially if you are a massive edguy fan, id imagine: has absolutely everything you love about the band, especially lately, but with a heavier, more dynamic sound than Tinnitus, alhough it does not particulaly have the consistently memorable songs of that record - in fact, it does sometime suffer the sense of fatigue and less defined songs that I feel plagues the latest two avantasia albums. But whatever - just after an enjoyable hard rock/melodic metal album? dont hesitate, buy this.
on 24 September 2011
"Age of the Joker" is the newest album of Edguy, the German metal band that has been gaining more and more success worldwide since its birth on 1992. This review will not tell you whether the new album is better than the previous ones, nor if Edguy has gone "back to its roots". To write this review, I will take "Age of the Joker" as what it is: music. I consider that one of the main objectives of music is to evoke emotions in the listener. Thus, I will voice my feelings and thoughts when I listen to this album.
The title and the cover of the album make clear that it possesses the Edguy spirit. This can be proved while listening to the first song: "Robin Hood". Full of energy, "Robin Hood", suits perfectly its role as an opener track. The bridge adds more emotion to the song; however, the "added sounds" distract the attention from the music. I believe music should be enough to transport the listener to Robin Hood's world. The following track, "Nobody's Hero", is a metal song with a lot of strength. It has an enthralling pre-chorus followed by a very powerful chorus.
In my opinion, one of the most striking songs of this album is "Rock of Cashel", which presents itself as a song replete with beautiful melodies, especially in the bridge. At first, you sense how the music surrounds you, and immediately after you feel like dancing joyfully. Unlike "Nobody's Hero", where the chorus suddenly comes back after the solo, in "Rock of Cashel" the music flows softly back to the refrain. "Pandora's Box", the fourth track, is very unique. The playing of the dobro, in addition to its fantastic chorus, make this song stand out in the album. If I were to have one complaint about this song, it would be regarding the lyrics.
Next, "Breathe", a song with a nice pre-chorus leading to a fast chorus that moves you to sing along. There is a short slow part that adds a special touch to the song. Sixth in the album, "Two Out Of Seven" is both catchy and humorous; therefore it is a typical Edguy song. It would be paradoxical if I were to rate this song since it is a critique to album reviews and it expresses the band's opinion about them. In the seventh track, "Faces in the Darkness", Tobias Sammet will enchant you with his voice. Then, the spell is broken with the potent sound of the electric guitars.
The following track is "The Arcane Guild", a fast song that is like a burst of energy going through your ears into your entire body. There is something about its chorus that liven you up. In contrast to the preceding track stands "Fire On The Downline"; beginning with slow verses and simple notes played on guitar, this song tells a sad story.
"Behind The Gates to Midnight World" is, to my mind, one of the masterpieces in "Age of the Joker". Its intro starts with a slightly sinister melody. I would like to highlight Tobias Sammet's work in this song. Not only can you hear once more the potential of his voice but you can also feel his emotion, especially in the chorus. Equally wonderful is the bridge, which is totally absorbing. All this, along with the really interesting lyrics, make of "Behind The Gates To Midnight World" an incredible song that creates a very special atmosphere.
All good things come to an end, and "Age Of The Joker" says farewell with "Every Night Without You". It is a well-known fact that the vast majority of Tobias Sammet's ballads are hauntingly beautiful, and this is not an exception. Emotive and intimate, this ballad makes you feel blessed if you have someone that loves you, closing the album with a beam.
All in all, "Age Of The Joker" is a truly remarkable album that is required listening. No one listening to this album can fail to notice the huge effort put into it. The band manages to successfully combine different styles and a myriad of melodies to make this one of the most diverse Edguy albums. It is their attitude and sense of humour, their work and talent that set Edguy apart from the rest of the bands. After listening to "Age Of The Joker" you will have experienced a lot of emotions that you will want to repeat.
on 29 August 2011
Many diehard fans of Edguy have become polarized in recent years due to changes in the overall sound of the band: some prefer the original power metal era of the band, like Theater of Salvation and Mandrake , while other prefer their newer albums with more of a hard rock/modern metal with some power influences, as evinced on Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus.
Age Of The Joker bridges all of those gaps with an extremely well-rounded 11 track outing that effectively combines those two eras (much like the transitional Hellfire Club album) and also incorporates influences from the 70s and 80s as well.
Songs like Nobody's Hero, Fire On The Downline, and Two Out Of Seven will appeal especially to the newer era of Edguy's fanbase, while classic power tracks like Robin Hood, Rock of Cashel, The Arcane Guild, and the album's epic track, Behind The Gates To Midnight World, will appeal to the more power oriented listener. Pandora's Box, Breathe, Faces In The Darkness, and Every Night Without You show the band's increasing versatility, incorporating late 70s and early 80s hard rock influences (Faces In The Darkness evokes hints of a classic Dio song, and Every Night Without You is a classic 80's Def Leppard style ballad). Pandora's Box is especially innovative with its use of a country/bluesy guitar sound during the start of the song and during the middle parts of the song.
The Limited Edition is a must-purchase - in addition to the single versions of Robin Hood and Two Out Of Seven, you also get a faithful cover of Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize" and three original bonus songs: God Fallen Silent, Aleister Crowley Memorial Boogie, and Standing In The Rain - these three bonus songs are of such high quality that they could have easily been tracks on the main album, instead of being throwaway songs that you often get on bonus discs.
If you can find it, I definitely would recommend the Age Of The Joker fan edition, with the 2CD Limited Edition digipak, purple vinyl double LP of the album, a picture disc LP of the bonus disc, a poster, and some very nice photo quality postcards of the band (suitable for framing).
For me, Theater of Salvation will always be my classic #1 Edguy album and one of my favorite albums of all time, but Age Of The Joker is right behind it, and with repeated listens, it may eventually overtake the top spot in my collection.
Age Of The Joker is an 11 out of 10.
on 29 August 2011
After dividing fans and critics with their previous album Tinnitus Sanctus (which WAS my personal favourite; the important word there being `was', just ahead of Rocket Ride) Edguy have returned three long years later with `Age of the Joker'. As with Edguy and Avantasia albums you know it's not going to be a bad record; but will it be a great record? Lets find out!
The album starts on seemingly familiar ground, familiar but not rehashed. `Robin Hood' is the opener and will not disappoint any fans, whether it be fans of the `new sound' or the `old sound'. The opener is an eight-minute-epic, which fans of songs such as `The Piper Never Dies' and `Tears of a Mandrake' will relish. And keen listeners will notice a hilarious final line in the song.
Now this is what I call Heavy Metal! `Nobody's Hero' is the next song on the album and hits you with an opening riff which will quite literally rip your face off! Jens and Dirk definitely come into their own on this track. Taking the best from `Mysteria' and `Scales of Justice' and adding something new Edguy have nailed the `catchy chorus' on this song, arguably the catchiest chorus on the album.
The next two tracks are where this album gets really interesting, `Rock of Cashel' and `Pandora's Box'. Both of these tracks explore new ground for Edguy; `Rock of Cashel' has a real Celtic sound to it and `Pandora's Box' has quite a southern rock/country sound with the help of some nice steel string/ slide guitar work. At this point `Pandora's Box' was probably my favourate Edguy song to date! Its mix of classic rock and epic metal chorus work brilliantly, however it only spent the one second between songs as my favourite...
And this song is the reason for that! `Breathe' is the reason I love Edguy; fast-paced, heavy but light hearted. This song starts with a catchy-as-hell intro riff from the two guitarists and a synth and progresses into an instant Edguy classic, with all the cheese and fun that we've grown to love. I imagine this track will be a blast live, and only hope they perform it. Age of the Jokers answer to`9-2-9'!
While the next two are very good songs they struggle to amaze in the same way the previous four do. `Two out of Seven' is the second single on the album, and yes it's a good one but my problem with this song is the fact that the verses and pre-choruses are far superior to the chorus so I find myself waiting for the choruses to finish just to hear them again; but like I said a very good track, with another funny couple of lines at the end. `Faces in the Darkness' feels like a `Tinnitus Sanctus' track to me and while that is no bad thing it feels a little out of place on this album.
`The Arcane Guild' is another one of those catchy, power-metalish songs Edguy do really well, not much to say other than if you love the `Mandrake era' you'll love this.
If I had to pick a top three from this album, I would choose `Pandora's Box', `Breathe' and this... `FIRE ON THE DOWNLINE!'. Those words have to be shouted out loud! This song starts very well, slow and melodic, the clean guitars chiming away. Then... get ready for the heaviest, most amazing chorus line ever. `FIRE ON THE DOWNLINE'. Yep, got another favourite!
Now this is interesting, Edguy doing a prog sound? `Behind the Gates to Midnight World' is yet another new approach for Edguy and like all the other experiments on the album, they have succeeded. This is like other Edguy epics but with a new twist to it. The highlight on this track is a beautiful solo from Jens halfway through the song.
Cleverly the ballad on this album has been left for last. And it would of been a case of `saving best `til last' had it not been for songs like `Breathe' and of course `FIRE ON THE DOWNLINE!'. In the same vein as `Save Me' and `Land of the Miracle', `Every Night Without You' is a beautifully soft power-ballad with a classic 80s' sounding chorus. This song will not disappoint.
The bonus disc for this album contains four new tracks, one of them a brilliant cover of Slade's `Cum on Feel the Noize' similar to the Quiet Riot version but just as good. The other three originals are `God Fallen Silent', `Standing in the Rain' and `Aleister Crowley Memorial Boogie', the latter being the weakest of all the tracks on Age of the Joker. The autographed card was a nice addition to the pack, showing Edguy still have time for their fans.
Previous Edguy albums were great because they conveyed a certain sound brilliantly; `Age of the Joker' is great because there are so many different sounds on here from Celtic Metal to Southern Rock! Needless to say `Age of the Joker' is without a doubt the best album to date and never before has Edguy released such a complete album!
on 30 August 2011
Edguy... I take my hat off to you guys! I was unsure about this album, as nothing can beat Rocket Ride for me personally. But I have to say, you have blown that album out of the water!
Tobias's lyrics are so fantastic and the guitars, base and drums are as outstanding as they have always been.
I got the 2 disk version, because you can never miss a chance to get some Edguy bonus tracks. I love the Slade cover, really made me giggle and have a bit of a dance. I've been playing this album since it arrived by post this morning, and even my mum was rocking along with me.
I really love the fact that even though Heavy Metal is usually a serious genre, these guys just come along and shake it up, giving us all a smile and brightening many peoples days. I'm just glad they are a band that goes along with the sound they enjoy writing and playing.
I recommend this album and band to pretty much everyone I know. If you're thinking about buying it but aren't sure... just do it! I promise you won't regret it!
on 24 June 2014
Firstly I thought Id mention the two Edguy albums between age of a joker for a comparison. I believe most people will own all Edguy albums. But they maybe some Edguy fans whom like the comparison to Later Edguy albums and may have bought much of the classic Edguy albums and wanna know whats best past 2008 - 2014. I have done 3 reviews on Edguy, one on Tinnitus Sanctus, Age Of The Joker And Space Police.
Firstly I recommend buying the two disc you get more studio album and its deffo worth it! But the overall album is rather weak in my opinion. There are some cool songs like Two Out Of Seven (Ladies im probably a 2/7, aka 3/10 its tragic!) I do like that song and it feels like its one that stands out as a comedy and cool song! Robin hood would have also been awesome if it didnt feel like it dragged. I feel the first 5 tracks drag unfortunately. And so much to after Two Out Of Seven you don't really bother listening much and so it doesn't feel too memorable. Cum On Feel The Noize Is a great cover too!
In a short summery this album is worth getting for a really few tracks, if not only for one. If its between any other album and age of the joker get the other album!!
on 30 August 2011
When it comes to Edguy, I have high expectations I am not gonna lie. I have been listening to their music for a long time, and
it is always cool to wait for what they are going to come up with next. Why? Because they are not frozen, not stuck in time. They
developed their sound naturally, without sticking to any winning formula. This is the case for the Age of the Joker. From Robin Hood to
Every Night Without You, the medieval menu is full of tasty riffs, amazingly laid vocals and a sound that echos bigger than it's time.
The highlight in my opinion is the completeness of a song like Rock of Cashel: amazing guitar melodies, great and powerful screams, and
a absolutely unexpected change in the middle of the song. This album is not predictable at all, it is rather bold, showing the way to
today's power metal. This is how it can be done, always keeping the class of a Joker!
on 31 August 2011
I guess it is because I have heard such good stuff from Edguy in the past that I had real high hopes for this album.
If they were a new band airing their first album it would possibly be 4 stars from me and a band I would be looking out for in future.
If you are looking to buy your first Edguy album go for Rocket Ride, I could'nt put that CD down for weeks.
If you are already an Edguy fan, dont let my review put you off, its a good album, just not one of their best.
27th September 2012 - Having owned this album for a year now it has really grown on me, I have listened to it several times in the last few weeks and cant leave it alone, hence increased rating from 3 to 5 stars, funny how some CD's are instantly enjoyable and others take time to grow on me.
on 31 August 2011
If you're looking for a typical Power Metal album, you'll probably be disappointed. But if you're looking for a catchy, epic and wide ranging album, then you'll be happy. Edguy never seem to disappoint, and Age Of The Joker is no exception. This album covers all bases of music you'd expect from Tobias Sammet's writing, and is a highlight of new releases in metal this year.
Opening track `Robin Hood' is about the very Robin Hood that immediately comes to mind, and is a great opening track, made even better if you're watching the accompanying video. Just watch it. It's awesome. Nobody's Fool follows and lives up to all expectation, exceeding them in some's eyes, as does most of the tracks.
In my opinion, the 4 best tracks come consecutively, from Breathe to The Arcane Guild. Two Out Of Seven has been described as vulgar, but the two lines that are being referred to are simply fun, Edguy showing their humour, and they actually fit in context perfectly well.
There's honestly nothing bad to be said about Age Of The Joker, it even surpasses Tinnitus Sanctus, which is quite an achievement. I'd recommend it to anyone, whether they're a fan of Edguy or not. Just do yourselves a favour and buy what can only be described as a musical masterpiece.