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Album Reviews : Edguy – Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown

By on May 28, 2014

edguy space policeI’ll admit I haven’t been too huge on Edguy of late. I use to really love these guys back in their heyday with songs like “Spooks in the Attic”, “Tears of a Mandrake”, and “Lavatory Love Machine”, but with the rather dismal ‘Age of the Joker’ back in 2011, the bands turn towards stadium rock as opposed to their power metal days of yore left something to be desired. While I have nothing against stadium rock as a genre – I quite enjoy listening to bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard – in terms of Edguy it felt uninspired and just didn’t resonate the same. The band isn’t as exciting as they used to be.

But hold the phone there, people. That was all before this came along!

Let me get this out of the way now. ‘Space Police – Defenders of the Crown’ is in the best sense a return to form for Edguy. And in many ways, this is their most exciting work in a long time. The choruses, melodies and hooks are catchy and uplifting, and Tobias Sammet gives one of his best vocal performances in quite a while also. Whereas with the recent Edguy and Avantasia material, his vocals have felt at times rather uninspired and strained, they feel refreshingly renewed here; as if that spark of inspiration has been alighted anew. It rubs off beautifully on the band, which is only further heightened by the amazing arrangements (the mid-point on “Shadow Eaters” is a perfect example of where this is prevalent).

This album is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end, and come on, that cover of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus”! I’ll admit, while it does chime in on the album at a rather strange moment, along with the parts sung in Sammet’s native German tongue, I will say this: I was having a bit of lousy day when I first saw this on the album tracklist, and after my curiosity led to me put it on, I soon found that as that familiar chorus that’s sung in choir kicked in I burst into laughter coupled by comments of ‘this is gold!’. It takes everything that’s great about the original and blends it with highly synthesized power metal. The result, you ask? Pure brilliance. It immediately put me in a better mood, and took me away from my soured headspace. So kudos for that one, Edguy!

‘Space Police – Defenders of the Crown’ feels like Edguy tapping into that familiar territory of their past, but at the same time, touches on areas previously unexplored and experiments with interesting and unusual time signatures – but with a greater emphasis on the epic and uplifting.

There are many aspects to love about this record. With an almost David Bowie flare to it at parts, it’s clear bands like Queen and Frank Zappa were influences here too. I mean even the late Freddie Mercury’s likeness was drawn into Dan Frazier’s cover art, but in the iteration of a futuristic cyber-cop. The likes of Jens Ludwig’s excellent solo on “The Realms of Baba Yaga” (a song which also sees Edguy tap into previously unexplored avenues of lyrical ideas; in this case, Slavic myth) expose a great side here to the band, as well. And there are those awesome, metallic power-ballads that Edguy do so well on this record also with tracks like “Alone in Myself”. From the first moment that distorted riff on “Sabre & Tooth” thunders in, and to the last with the decidedly 80s-esque keyboard work on final track “The Eternal Wayfarer” that feels remarkably at home with Edguy’s undeniable power metal/stadium rock style, this album is a real treat to the ear.

The first of two title tracks is also some of the bands strongest work to date. Everything about “Space Police” works perfectly. It has amazing hooks, expert arrangements, and that great uplifting atmosphere Edguy’s always done so well. That being said though, I’m still not sure what was up with that weird echoing effect Tobias does near the end of the song. I suppose it does fit the idea of the song and concept of the album, but it still comes across awkwardly. Its follow up “Defenders of the Crown” is equally incredible, but in a different way. It’s like taking two shards of the same glass but noticing how their shapes are different and how they reflect back differently also. They’re birthed from the same root but come across in marginally different ways musically. Where “Space Police” feels like an epic, stadium track, “Defenders of the Crown” by contrast feels like a song easily at home in the discography of fellow German band Majesty. But this works completely to the benefit of Edguy. Together they build a fascinating and engaging experience.

I stated it before and I’ll state it again, ‘Space Police – Defenders of the Crown’ is Edguy through-and-through. This is everything that’s spanned the entirety of their career funnelled through the recording stages to forge this one album. Thinking back on it now, this could very well be the quintessential Edguy record. It has everything that makes them who they are. You’ve got power ballads; epic, symphonic and orchestral arrangements; traditional power metal with subtle 1980s influences tied into the mix; incredibly melodic and engaging solos; tongue-in-cheek lyrics (check out “Do Me like a Caveman”); and one of Tobias Sammet’s best vocal performances to date.

Early on in the marketing for the album, Edguy commented on it saying that it would be one their “strongest and heaviest album[s] to date”. And honestly, there is complete validity to that claim. This album has thoroughly outdone my expectations, and whilst I’m not sure it’s quite at the tier of “Album of the Year” as such it’s certainly a strong contender to secure a spot quite close to that.

All of this is an incredible feat, however, when you consider this whole album was recorded by Edguy in a mere two months with producer Sascha Paeth.

All in all, this is the Edguy album I’ve been waiting for!

Band: Edguy
Album: Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown
Year: 2014
Genre: Power Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: Germany

www.edguy.net

Tracklisting:
1. Sabre & Torch
2. Space Police
3. Defenders Of The Crown
4. Love Tygre
5. The Realms Of Baba Yaga
6. Rock Me Amadeus
7. Do Me Like A Caveman
8. Shadow Eaters
9. Alone In Myself
10. The Eternal Wayfarer

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.