Value for money for old and new fans - A review of Edguy's "Monuments"
One can always discuss the necessity to release a compilation but Edguy's first and last greatest hits collection was released thirteen years prior to this release and the band has released five studio albums that hadn't been included on Hall of Flames. In this case, I would say it's acceptable to come around with such a release to celebrate the band's twenty-fifth anniversary.
Monuments offers twenty-two songs covering twenty-five years. Obviously, the band had to make certain choices regarding the songs that might disappoint some fans. I was surprised this record didn't include the powerful first single from the last record "Sabre & Torch", the band's best epic in form of the Savatage-inspired symphonic power metal anthem "Sacrifice" or the band's overlooked first epic "The Kingdom" with a narrative part involving Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl. On the other side, the compilation covers power metal tracks from the band's early years such as "Key to My Fate", hard rock and heavy metal fun athems of the middle years such as "Lavatory Love Machine" and more epic recent material like the folk-inspired "Rock of Cashel". Despite a few essential tracks missing and the Kingdom of Madness album being completely ignored, the overall mixture of old and new material, short and epic tracks, power metal anthems and hard rock party tunes is balanced and represents the spirit of the band very well.
To make things more interesting for faithful fans of old date, this compilation even includes a respectable six unreleased tracks. Five are completely new songs with lyrics inspired by the band history. These songs also represent the band sound very well as they vary between up-tempo European power metal in "Ravenblack" to slightly slower and more grooving and rocking hard rock anthems such as "Wrestle the Devil". These five songs aren't particularly great but solid and typical material for the band. Ironically, the most interesting unreleased tune is a song recorded during the Savage Poetry recording sessions twenty-two years ago when the band members were still unknown teenagers and not famous rock Icons. "Reborn in the Waste" is a little bit darker and more rhythmic than the usual Edguy sound and Tobias Sammet's grounded vocals sound surprisingly variable. This song shows what stunning potential the band already had back then and this outtake sounds much better than many regular songs on this compilation despite its demo sound.
In addition to the two CDs, this release also includes a DVD that might be the most interesting part for old fans. Edguy had recorded a live show in Brazil back in 2004 but due to some technical problems, the live show had never been fully released. The first three songs of the show had been included on the Superheroes DVD. The audio version of the ballad "Land of the Miracle" was included as a bonus song on the limited edition of the Rocket Ride album but all other songs haven't been released so far. Instead, the band decided to record another show in Sao Paulo two years later which was released as "Fucking with Fire". The Sao Paulo show from the Hellfire Club tour in now available in its full length. The band performance is energizing, the crowd is enthusiastic and the set list includes a few great rarities such as André Matos' guest appearance during the Avantasia song "Chalice of Agony". The image quality of the show is slightly below average, the camera work is a little bit blurry and shaky at times and there is a weird cut with some missing sounds in the opening "Mysteria" but otherwise the concert is of very good quality. The DVD also includes all eight official Edguy video clips including the unreleased "Two Out of Seven" video clip which isn't very original though.
To keep it short, Monuments is a very good introduction to the band for new or occasional fans. It's also an above average release for faithful fans thanks to the six unreleased tunes and the bonus DVD. The booklet with numerous pictures is also quite entertaining to go through. Don't hesitate to purchase this collection at a reasonable Price.
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