Age of the Joker

1. Robin Hood  
2. Nobody's Hero  
3. Rock of Cashel  
4. Pandora's Box  
5. Breathe  
6. Two Out of Seven  
7. Faces in the Darkness  
8. The Arcane Guild  
9. Fire on the Downline  
10. Behind the Gates to Midnight World  
11. Every Night Without You  

Tobias Sammet (Vocals)
Jens Ludwig (Guitar)
Dirk Sauer (Guitar)
Tobias "Eggi" Exxel (Bass)
Felix Bohnke (Drums)

Savage Poetry (self-financed, 1995)
Kingdom of Madness (1997)
Vain Glory Opera (1998)
Theater of Salvation (1999)
The Savage Poetry (re-recording of Savage Poetry, 2000)
Mandrake (2001)
Burning Down the Opera (Live, 2003)
Hellfire Club (2004)
Rocket Ride (2006)
Tinnitus Sanctus (2008)
Fucking With F*** (Live, 2009)

Eddy Wrapiprou – Synth

Sascha Paeth (Producer)

Released 26/8-2011
Reviewed 4/8-2011

Caj's review

nuclear blast

I think Edguy had the chance to make this one of the best albums ever, just because of one thing, but they blew it. I will get to what I mean later. But lets just start from the beginning, Edguy can really be described like an american person in a way, which means that they are ever expanding. Both their fan base and their music is getting ever larger, just like an american person. I would not say it is getting more stupid like american society though, well like any society to be honest as it seems that the entire world is getting ever dumber but that is another matter completely. Edguy seem to have taken a liking to the 80s arena rock, in that they make bigger songs that seem written for sing-along at the bigger stadiums and all of a sudden I think more of Asia and Damn Yankees than I think of Helloween, I would say that in a way they share a similar evolution with Sonata Arctica with the latter taking a slightly different path though.

Musically we do recognise Edguy, it is Tobias Sammet singing and his voice with the slightly hoarse tone is rather unique, we also recognise some classical Edguy guitar lines but it is bigger, more mellow in a way, more pompous and fat, it is like they are american and have grown up from quite healthy teens to fat adults. Many of the songs resemble more of arena rock songs than songs I heard on the latest album I heard by Edguy which was Rocket Ride (well it was the live album but that is a live album), some of these tendencies where there on that album as well as on the two before that and also even earlier than that we heard these tendencies for all of those saying that Edguy have abandoned their fans and changed style, they have evolved rather than change but yes if you compare Savage Poetry with Age of the Joker you will find a significant change that is true. But as I said the band has evolved in this direction all the time and it might be because I missed Tinnitus whatever it was called that I feel that they have taken a rather big step down memory lane so to speak. Many of the songs feel very big, like written to be performed on the bigger arenas by bands like Asia and not a german heavy metal band. The production is without fault and the sound musically complement the songs in a way you might expect, when it comes to sound we can expect Edguy to perform well as they have lots of resources to put on production. We do have eleven tracks on the album and many of those songs are rather long so we are speaking of an album that reach the one hour plateau which is something I am never very keen on.

I don’t know who figured that the band should have so many minutes of music, but the albums starts with an eight minute epic that is called Robin Hood where they have ripped off a part from Iron Maiden’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner but it is still a good song with that 80s rock feel to it, most songs do have this feel. I think Nobody’s Hero is a great song, like an american version of King of Fools in a way but not with as good lyrics. Pandora’s Box is another one of those songs with hook-laden choruses and melodies. The album is filled with these songs but I think the thing that stand out is when we get to hear some of that which is Edguy for me, the humour and the ironic self-distanced stuff which we can hear in the track called Two Out of Seven a track that ends 36 minutes into the album which I think is the logical place to stop the album as every time I have heard this far I’m picking up the iPod to change album to another one of those 40 I have to review, but no “we have to have more songs” they say in a german accent. And they are not satisfied with one or maybe two, no they add f-i-v-e more tracks, five. But another reason other than the fact that it feels like it is time is because the last text line in that song is “when I wank at the bank, I’m ten out of ten my friend” imagine ending with that, we do not give ratings of ten anymore but he would have been seven of seven if they had ended there, which they did not as they had to go on for an eternity more instead. Sure Faces in the Darkness and Fire on the Downline are two really good songs but at this moment I have stopped listening and stopped caring as I am bored with Edguy and wants to move on. They could have put Fire on the Downline as track five and dumped Faces in the Darkness and stopped after track six, that would have made a perfect album. But no, “we need more music” is what they say in a german accent and I say bullshit, less is more in this case and instead of the memory of “when I wank…” the lasting impression of this album is: “when will it end?”

Now it sounds like I am bashing Edguy and this album which I am not, I just think it is a bit too ambitions, like Vain Glory Opera which was ambitious but let down by too weak vocals and the same goes for this album Tobias Sammet has an amazing heavy metal voice but he is no Wetton, Shaw, DeYoung or Mercury which he should have been to really sell this album and with Rocket Ride, Hellfire Club and also in some part Mandrake the band had something that made me love Edguy, they made heavy metal as it should be: with irony, humour, with self-distance and without seriousness, catchy and simplistic without pretensions, those are wonderful and fantastic heavy metal albums Age of the Joker is not.

Age of the Joker is however not bad at all and it feels like a more commercial attempt by the band, to make an album no one can dislike and I think that they have succeeded rather well in that but Age of the Joker is safe, and fat, it is good with songs that will work very well on the band’s live shows. But for me Edguy should be kick in the nuts and not a tiny nod in agreement.

Therefore my passed judgement of this album is being quoted by Tobias in Two Out of Seven: “What the fuck! suck my cock!”


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Sonata Arctica/Freedom Call/Helloween
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Recensent: Daniel Källmalm
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