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16th August 2011

scott adams

edguy age of the joker

The future for Tobias Sammet lies with Edguy. Those words came straight from the man's own mouth when he spoke to this very publication a few weeks ago.

With no plans for any future releases from his other project – the sprawling series of Avantasia Metal operas – his writing has been purely concentrated on Edguy for some time now, and the first fruits of this narrowing of horizons come to us in the form of the bands ninth studio outing, 'Age Of The Joker'.

Has the decision to concentrate on the one outfit been worthwhile? Let's have a listen and see...

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Of course the answer is yes. Sammet is a master songwriter, a man who whilst indisputably Metal to the core possesses a shrewd ear for a soaring pop melody. He's not afraid to deploy these tuneful shards of loveliness either; even a song as Metallically gifted as 'Nobody's Hero' comes fully fitted out with a chorus that you'll be singing for weeks after just one listen.

Like his close musical relative Kai Hansen, Sammet is also able to half inch other people's ideas and reform them in his own style with alarming ease. Hence the gloriously anthemic 'Rock Of Cashel' skillfully morphs Jailbreak-era Thin Lizzy into classic modern day power Metal, the whole thing being strained through a filter of prime, pop Metal era Gary Moore, whilst 'Pandora's Box' channels some eighties blues-infused hair Metal (ok, its pure Aerosmith actually) into what otherwise might have been a slightly stilted hands-in-the-air euro Metal power ballad.

The overall effect with all of these little borrowings is pleasing in the extreme.

As ever, Edguy is a more straightforward beast than any of the Avantasia oeuvres; in fact you can really only envisage opener Robin Hood as being a song that might have ended up as a multi-vocalled smorgasbord of opulently over the top virtuosity. Within the parameters of Edguy Sammet is far happier to knock out utterly brilliant nuggets such as Two Out of Seven; the song is a delirious piece of radio rock that rides in on a synth riff that is pure Van Halen before culminating in a gorgeously hook-laden chorus which fades out with Sammet uttering some of the most ludicrous lyrica his ever committed to tape (which is some achievement for a man who has released a single called 'Lavatory Love Machine'...)

'Two Out Of Seven' is the album's high water mark as far as memorable songsmithery is concerned. It is also 'Age Of The Joker''s tipping point; after it fades out the rest of the album fizzles out a little. Luckily 'TOOS' is such a high point this means the fizzling still leaves Edguy operating at a higher level than most other bands can manage even at their best.

'Faces In The Darkness' fuses elements of Judas Priest and Metallica to create the most sustained period of heaviness on the album, the whole thing being topped by a marvelous solo from lead guitarist Jens Ludwig, whilst 'The Arcane Guild' gives a run out to the Rainbow and Deep Purple influences that seemingly lurk within the heart of every German power Metaller and features some more mouth watering axework from Ludwig and fellow six stringer Dirk Sauer.

It's the kind of enjoyable romp that you get the feeling Sammet knocks out in his sleep, though that doesn't make it any less worthy of your attention. Similarly, the slowburning 'Fire On The Downline' has you thinking 'late album filler' until the band unleash a marvelously dramatic guitar hook that will quite possibly make you have an accident the first time you hear it, such is the stealth with which it creeps up on you.

'FOTD' also possesses a magnificent eighties AOR chorus, which slightly goes to waste as the band fails to press home the advantage created by such an exhilarating passage of brilliance.

The band rounds 'Age Of The Joker' out with two more songs, the epically inclined 'Behind The Gates' to 'Midnight World' and the balladic 'Every Night Without You', but to be honest if you press stop after 'Fire In The Downline' you won't be missing out overly much.

Bands still, after twenty years of working in the medium, can't resist the temptation to cram as much music as they can onto a CD, and these two tracks serve only to confirm that 'fizzle' notion I mentioned earlier.

Still, to end on a negative would be a bit unfair, because this is Tobias Sammet we're talking about and, in simple terms, the man doesn't issue bad product. Like most of the Edguy albums that came before, 'Age Of The Joker' is a mix of spectacular brilliance and solid proficiency, and you'll find much to enjoy if melodic power/speed Metal gets you out of bed in the morning.

More Scott Adams right here.



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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