Edguy - King Of Fools 2004 Nuclear Blast - Reviewed by EC
1) King of Fools 2) New Age Messiah 3) The Savage Union 4) Holy Water 5) Life and Times of a Bonus Track
After seeing Edguy for so long on the AFM label, I had some concerns when I read that the group was moving to bigger pastures with Nuclear Blast, their new record label after seeing five records released on German label AFM Records. Their new album, "Hellfire Club", is set to hit store shelves in March, so what better way to better prep the masses than a "teaser" EP to introduce the new single, "King Of Fools"?
I'll be the first to say that I hopped on the Edguy band wagon after hearing their sophomore masterpiece, "Vain Glory Opera". Since then, I have enjoyed the band's work but had some reservations about the band's last effort, "Mandrake", which to me seemed to be half perfection and half filler. Even with that said, Edguy make power metal interesting for me, making leaps and bounds in the genre along with Metalium, Primal Fear, Thunderbolt, and a handfull of other top-tier metal acts.
Edguy for the longest time were the "brand new sensation sweeping the nation", and now the band finds themselves in the proverbial "mid-era" of their career, where some experimentation and stretching of the boundaries seems to always rear its ugly head. With the new record being the sixth release from the group, a lot of people are scratching their head wondering where this one time "next Iron Maiden" would take their sound at this point, with the new record label and a new metal audience this time around, would Edguy stray from their main objective and wander aimlessly in trendy backlots searching for the missing key to unlock their superstardom??
The answer is fairly simple; Edguy have moved forward by leaping back in time and grasping the key element that makes them who they are...that epic metal sound that seemed to go away briefly after their third full length, "Theater Of Salvation". The band apparently have grasped that sacred time travel control switch, and with just enough adjustment on the wheel, have landed safely back on the floors of their "Vain Glory Opera" soundstage. Grabbing what they could, they have taken the EPIC structure of songwriting and climbed back on board to set sail for this millenium, this year, this time, right now.
The material found on "King Of Fools" is stellar, beyond stellar, moving into another plane of metal existence all together. This new creation is a more polished product, taking the great opus that is "Vain Glory Opera" and putting an illustrious shine to it, bringing the part of big business and big sound to the epic medieval shrine that has become the Edguy sound. New single "King Of Fools" adds some small particles of modern metal by way of cold acts like Sentenced and Poisonblack, taking groove metal and frosty lyrics and making it over the top with huge, complex chorus' that one expects from German power ala Helloween, Blind Guardian, Paragon, etc. Think of Sentenced or Darkseed hitting the highs of epic greatness, something they just can't seem to do no matter how much misery their blackened souls promise. Edguy do it and do it greatly, making the cold sound of those types of bands go beyond the grave, instead adding an almost religious choral arrangement that just makes the music sound really large and over the top. This single pounds away with raw power, but is shined and polished to display an extraordinary approach to the Helloween sound of old, bringing it to light in this new world of fresh and energetic technology. Fans of the first three Edguy albums will soak up every second of "King Of Fools". This is a return to roots of sorts, but takes it to the next level. Along with the refreshing single, this EP offers four non-album tracks.
"New Age Messiah" burns brightly, offering a catchy chorus and a return to form much like the single, sparking up a thunder and lightning crash course with plenty of twin guitar melody and angelic vocals from Tobias. This one is in the vein of other Edguy classics like "Out Of Control" and "Headless Game". Another bright star is the fantastic semi-ballad "Holy Water", which is just dripping and oozing in its despair and misery, the perfect companion piece to a rainy day, all delivered in that epic fashion that I speak of frequently when I talk about these Germans. Another instant classic is the perfectly crafted "Savage Union", with its Gothenburg tinged new power sound that just startles the listener and demands to be heard, all freshly played and produced with an ear for that perfect blend that keeps the listener wanting more, and in this particular moment, begs the listener to BUY THE ALBUM. The EP finishes with a silly little piano track called "The Life And Times Of A Bonus Track", which adds a nice dose of Edguy humor to the dish.
All in all, one of the best EPs I own in my collection, and if this is any indication of the "new direction" for Edguy then I'm hitching a ride that way. I can't imagine how they could possibly leave off these three great songs (Savage Union, Holy Water, New Age Messiah) from the new album, but there could be a possibility that they believe these songs are the weakest of the fresh material. If that is the case, then heaven help us, we may have in "Hellfire Club" the greatest Edguy record to date, and one to carry us through the ages like a brightly lit torch, plunging through the metal darkness with a sparkling shine.
On a side note, Edguy indeed own the Power Metal Profanity crown at this point, using the word FUCK a record thirteen times throughtout five songs. Also used- ASS (1) and SHIT (4).
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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