These days, Tobias Sammet is probably better known worldwide for his Avantasia metal and/or opera’s than his main band Edguy, but that doesn’t mean the band does not release albums on a tidy schedule. And whilst the albums since Hellfire Club (2004) have been a bit hit and miss, eschewing the rollicking power metal of yore for a more hard rocking approach, there’s always a certain amount of quality and fun on offer. Space Police: Defenders of the Crown is no different in that aspect.
What is different, however, is that Edguy’s tenth album is a tad faster and more akin to the days of Mandrake and Hellfire Club. 2011’s Age of the Joker already showed a step in that direction, but Space Police really marks a return to the more up-tempo metal many people have come to know and love the band for in the first place, starting out with the unusually heavy Sabre & Torch. Tobi sounds more gruff than we’re used from him, and the rest of the band hacks away in this five minute track, which is one of the better openers the band has put out in the past few years. And the metal continues straight through Space Police and Defenders of the Crown, both clocking in over five minutes and keeping up the speedy bar set by Sabre & Torch. Sammet even lets out a long unheard high-pitched scream on Defenders of the Crown.
After that, though, things take a turn for the worse. Not that Space Police becomes a bad album all of a sudden, but the quality of the three opening tracks is never equalled during the rest of the album. Love Tyger and Do Me Like a Caveman are fun and quite catchy rockers, and whilst they’re definitely good songs, there’s nothing spectacular about them either. The ballad Alone in Myself is neat, but does drag (as do all the ballads Sammet writes these days, actually). It’s the most dragging, cerebral-hemorrhage-inducingly dull song I have heard in quite a while. And then there’s the ill-advised Falco cover Rock Me Amadeus, which is played very much in the same vein as the original, only with more guitars, and as such both unneccesary and completely out of place here.
Other than that, it’s rather smooth sailing for Edguy. The Realms of Baba Yaga is quite the epic song, just as the closing track The Eternal Wayfarer, and Shadow Eaters is another love letter to those early, more metal days of the German band. Two very mediocre (if not bad) and two downright atrocious songs amongst a total of ten tracks makes Space Police: Defenders of the Crown a hard album for me to recommend, though. Yes, in a way the band returns to a more heavy, metallic approach, but the overall cheesiness of Love Tyger and Do Me Like a Caveman and the snorefest that is Alone in Myself (let’s not mention that Falco cover ever again) heavily detracts from what is otherwise a pretty good album. Bottom line is this: Edguy fans will undoubtedly lap this up and take the lesser songs for granted (I know I do), whilst the majority of the metalhead and rockers out there will find nary a reason to start listening to the band all of a sudden on the merits of just this album. Space Police is a decent album. It’s a shame it could have been an excellent one if Edguy would stop having to much fun at everyone’s (including their own) expense for once.
Release: out now
Label: Nuclear Blast
- Sabre & Torch (5:00)
- Space Police (5:59)
- Defenders of the Crown (5:39)
- Love Tyger (4:26)
- The Realms of Baba Yaga (6:06)
- Rock Me Amadeus (Falco cover) (3:20)
- Do Me Like a Caveman (4:09)
- Shadow Eaters (6:08)
- Alone in Myself (4:36)
- The Eternal Wayfarer (8:50)
- Tobias Sammet – lead and backing vocals, keyboards
- Jens Ludwig – lead guitars
- Dirk Sauer – rhythm guitars
- Tobias “Eggi” Exxel – bass guitar
- Felix Bohnke – drums
Review by Ralph Plug
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