Edguy – Age of the Joker (2011, Nuclear Blast Records)
1. Robin Hood … 8:24
2. Nobody’s Hero … 4:31
3. Rock of Cashel … 6:18
4. Pandora’s Box … 6:45
5. Breathe … 5:03
6. Two Out of Seven … 4:27
7. Faces in the Darkness … 5:22
8. The Arcane Guild … 4:58
9. Fire on the Downline … 5:46
10. Behind the Gates to Midnight World … 8:56
11. Every Night Without You … 4:52
Tobias Sammet – Vocals
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Tobias Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke – Drums
Producer: Sascha Paeth
Wow, I had planned on reviewing this one as soon as it came out but I just kept putting it off despite having already given Age of the Joker a few (unfocused) listen. Having given the album a few more attentive spins, Age of the Joker is a really good album that is easily an improvement over Tinnitus Sanctus (which itself was a fine album and one of the best of that year but was missing a certain spark I heard on Rocket Ride …yes, I’m a fan).
For a number of uptight power metal fans, Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus are considered to be low-points for Edguy. With those albums they took on more of an eighties melodic hard rock flavor though Tinnitus Sanctus was the heavier of the two albums that saw them going back into a metallic direction. I would imagine the same fans that derided the last two albums will have mixed feelings about this new release.
Age of the Joker borrows from both the power metal and the catchy hard rock eras of Edguy while also incorporating elements of Sammet’s Avantasia epics. Other than the goofy humor that Edguy displays with an eight minute song like “Robin Hood” (and if you don’t think these guys are taking the piss just watch the video for it), it’s getting hard to distinguish the two groups these days because they’ve both moved into a more friendly melodic hard rock/metal direction over the last few year. Perhaps it’s time to start using a producer other than Sascha Paeth…
Stylistically, I think the album art is a conscious effort on the band’s part to make the jaded fans take them more seriously after having last seen cartoon aliens riding a rocket ship and an ear-bleeding Jesus Christ being sported on the covers. This cover art reminds me of the cover to Mandrake even if it is still a bi
There’s a little something for everyone here. You want old school Edguy? Check out “Robin Hood” and “The Arcane Guild”. You want something more in line with Rocket Ride? You’ve got “Nobody’s Hero”, the bluegrassy “Pandora’s Box” and the power ballad “Every Night Without You”. Hey, were you a big fan of the recent Avantasia albums? Give “Rock of Cashel” and “Behind the Gates to Midnight World” a listen.
It all adds up to make one heck of a high quality album that is one of 2011’s best releases. In fact, I don’t think there are any filler tracks here (I would peg “Robin Hood” as my least favorite though). The band has quite possibly released one of their most consistent albums yet.
Highlights: “Nobody’s Hero”, “Rock of Cashel”, “Pandora’s Box”, “Two Out of Seven”, “Fire on the Downline”, “Behind the Gates to Midnight World”, “Every Night Without You”