Space Police - Defenders of the Crown
Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Sean Dudley
A wonderful collaboration of songs, mixing up the band’s last 10 years of sounds
Edguy, the self-proclaimed jesters of the metal community, have been doing their own thing and loving it ever since their first release back in 1997. The once straight-backed band of young bright-eyed musicians have been together for such a long time, and I put their laid back, non-serious, take the piss and overall fun attitude towards their music as the main factors of their longevity.
While some fans didn’t like the change of direction the band took, particularly with their Rocket Ride album in 2006, preferring the more traditional European power metal sound of releases like Vain Glory Opera and Theater of Salvation, it is really Edguy who is calling the shots, fronted by the young-at-heart Tobias Sammet; their wacky and unique hard rock infused power/traditional metal style is here to stay.
And what’s not to love? Their music is well-written, crafty and, most importantly, delivered with extreme talent and the entertainment value is second to none. Edguy’s songs are memorable and catchy and stay in your head long after the CD has stopped spinning. Continuing the trend that Hellfire Club started to go down and which Rocket Ride cemented, Edguy’s latest release, Space Police - Defenders of the Crown is another wonderful collaboration of songs, mixing up the band’s last 10 years of sounds.
Tobias Sammet is a wonderful entertainer. Having seen them live a few years ago, he has the crowd in the palm of his hand like a comedian delivering the right jokes to the right audience. He is also an extremely dedicated musician and creative song-writer whom I admire greatly. At just 36 years of age (at the time of this review), Sammet through Edguy and also his other band Avantasia, has released a total of 16 albums (not including the demo CD Savage Poetry), beginning when he was just 20 years old with the Kingdom of Madness album back in 1997. I don’t know anyone else in these modern times that can say they have 16 albums under their belt at age 36.
So, onto the latest album, Space Police - Defenders of the Crown is a damn fine release, right up there in terms of quality and better consistency than with Age of the Joker and possibly also Tinnitus Sanctus. Where those two albums lacked in having maybe one or two more killer tracks; Space Police more than makes up for it. Whether fans prefer their Hellfire Club style (with one foot in both the old and new), or the fully entrenched hard rock/metal stylings of Rocket Ride, this new Edguy album has something for everyone.
Despite the album lacking a touch of direction, which has never been Sammet’s strong suit, all songs are somewhat diverse having different tempos and identities. And of course it wouldn’t be a complete Edguy album without a few humorous tracks and track-titles, including a cover of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus”, an ‘80s pop one hit wonder song that went to #1 in numerous countries in Europe and also the USA, New Zealand and South Africa. The song itself has Edguy written all over it and it’s actually a great rendition of the original, despite it being used as a humorous track in the same vein as “Trinidad”.
Of course it wouldn’t be an Edguy album without the mandatory ballad, with “Alone in Myself” not as soppy as normal Edguy ballads, but still in the same vein as “Wash Away the Poison”, “Forever”, “Land of the Miracle”, “Save Me”, and “Thorn Without a Rose” to name a few. The tracks on the new album aren’t all stripped down to the melodic hard rock styles of Rocket Ride, with the possible exception of “Love Tyger”, which has Rocket Ride splashed all over it, with its catchy sing-a-long chorus, Tobi’s typical goofy lyrics and ‘80s hair metal vibe (Poison, anyone?).
The final track, “The Eternal Wayfarer”, is a mid-paced melodic rocker that is again Edguy in a nutshell when it comes to their lengthier songs, however would have slotted in nicely on their Rocket Ride album. The most ferocious and hard-hitting track on the disc (and my personal best song) is the powerful and speedy opener “Sabre & Torch”, which ranks right up there in the top Edguy tracks of all time and almost reaches back structure-wise and sound-wise to possibly Mandrake. It also goes to show that Edguy are still the masters at creating some real kick ass songs that are memorable, catchy and perfectly executed.
What it comes down to here is that when you get an Edguy album, you’re going to be entertained to no end and hearing the album will be a great enjoyment to you, no matter how many times you play it. Edguy fans know this, but does being entertained equal a good album? In this case, hell yes it does - Space Police surpasses Age of the Joker convincingly and also comes out on top over Tinnitus Sanctus as well. Why? Well the songs are just that much better in quality aspects, while the whole album has a relaxed feel where the songs flow smoothly and you can hear that the band had fun while making the album. Edguy fans that enjoyed Hellfire Club, Rocket Ride and everything since will immensely enjoy Space Police, while those more inclined to gravitate to the earlier albums may have to hear it before deciding to part with your hard earned dosh.