Edguy on the Upline!,
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This review is from: Age of the Joker (2 CD, Digipack, Limited Edition) (Audio CD)
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!