Edguy- Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown (2014)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Edguy is one of the bands that introduced me to metal about a decade ago. Though I consider myself a big fan, I must admit that I didn’t like the last two studio albums, with their mixture of old-fashioned radio hard rock tracks and exchangeable Avantasia leftovers. Avantasia seemed to become Tobias Sammet’s main concern while Edguy really suffered from this. I was hoping that he would take a creative break and put the Avantasia project aside, but Tobias Sammet simply can’t stop writing, recording, and releasing. To my surprise, both Avantasia and Edguy are back from the edge and each released convincing records with The Mystery Of Time and Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown,respectively. Edguy’s new record goes back to the style of Rocket Ride, and is pretty much as good as that album.
The band made a wise decision in opening the record with “Sabre & Torch” instead of a half-hearted ballad, a seventies’ hard rock track, or a weird song with even weirder humor. “Sabre & Torch” conquered me quickly, and it’s my favorite song from the album; probably even Edguy’s best song since the epic “Sacrifice” eight years earlier. The song features sharp and speedy riffs, a few cool keyboard passages, and aggressive high-pitched vocals crowned by a simplistic but effective chorus that will take the masses by storm. If Edguy comes back to North America anytime soon, I already know that I will go absolutely insane to this song in concert. “Sabre And Torch” represents everything a great European power metal song means to me. Okay, the vocals sound a little bit forced at some point, but that’s the only negative thing to say about this killer anthem. This is a precious candidate for my favorite song of the year. Why couldn’t they release an entire record with songs like this one?
The rest of the record is not as great as the opener, but it’s still quite good. “Space Police” is a lot slower and more melodic. Its lyrics, humorous bridge, and funny sound effects are a little bit goofy, but the chorus is incredibly catchy. “Defenders Of The Crown” goes back to the power metal style of the past. Tobias Sammet manages a diverse vocal performance here, and the simplistic but epic chorus will surely find its place in future set lists. It’s a true pleasure to hear Edguy go back to its roots. The following single, “Love Tyger”, is a funny glam rock track. I’m not a big fan of that genre, but as a little change, this track works very well and sounds quite fresh. “The Realms Of Baba Yaga” is a cool mixture of hard rock and power metal that takes the better elements from each and fuses them in a powerful six minute song.
Then comes Edguy’s cover of “Rock Me Amadeus”, a song that is quite hard for me to judge. It kicks off the second half of the record (which isn’t as good as the first in my opinion). The original song is extremely well known, and was originally performed by legendary Austrian singer Falco, who mixed pop and rock elements with his unique rap passages. How would Sammet manage to perform the original rap flow with strong Austrian accent and German lyrics? It is, in fact, the first time that Edguy has performed a song in German since the very cool demo song “Das Reh”. I must admit that I didn’t really enjoy this cover at first because it’s too close to the original to stand out, and the vocal parts are not very well mixed and hard to understand. The more I listen to the song however, I realize that Edguy must have had tons of fun while recording this track. Even though this song is far from perfection, the band’s good humor is somehow contagious. In the end, I don’t adore this song, but I don’t hate it either. It’s better than what I expected, and that’s about all I can say.
“Do Me Like A Caveman” took me a little bit by surprise. I was expecting a humorous hard rock track with raunchy lyrics, but the final result sounds a little bit like HIM with higher vocals. Once again, it’s not as bad as I expected when I first saw the title. Another mediocre track, but it works well as a cheesy and more commercial song in the album context. “Shadow Eaters” is another vivid power metal-driven track with great melancholic vocals. It’s not a standout song, but is probably the most promising grower on the album. “Alone In Myself” is the predictable ballad that Edguy needs to include on each record. To my surprise, the ballad has a certain atmosphere with a strong eighties rock feeling, decent organ sounds, and enchanting vocals. Ultimately, it is much better than the last few songs of its kind offered by the band. It’s still one of the weaker tracks on the album, and reminds me of Bon Jovi. The closing nine-minute epic “The Eternal Wayfarer” sounds like a mixture of Avantasia’s “Sign Of The Cross” and Edguy’s “The Piper Never Dies”, with a few oriental sound samples added in. No, this is not original at all. But, as I enjoy both songs, I also enjoy this track, even if it’s maybe a few minutes too long for its own good. It’s a good closer to what is overall a very good album.
Let me tell you however, that the limited version is really not worth your attention or money. “England” is a boring piano ballad with pseudo-funny lyrics. “Aychim In Hysteria” sounds like The Police meets Wham!. This is definitely not my cup of tea. The alternate versions and instrumental tracks are completely useless as well. It’s even hard to convince a collector like me to purchase this edition. At least the cover artwork is not that much of an abomination, and one gets to see a few more photos. I know these are rather weak reasons, but I’m trying to convince myself right now.
In the end, Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown is a welcome return to form for Edguy. The new record doesn’t really surprise or introduces us to anything new, but it goes back to the strengths that made Edguy so popular with records such as Hellfire Club and Rocket Ride. Edguy doesn’t sound like an Avantasia side project, nor like an old-fashioned hard rock band anymore. This is a power metal record with a couple of truly amazing songs. Above all, “Sabre & Torch” is my favorite Edguy track in eight years, and the album offers several more in that vein. Even the weaker tracks here sound rather good to me. I’m really glad Edguy are back.
4.0 // 5