Tobias Sammet is a busy man! If he's not touring the world and selling loads of concert tickets with Avantasia, he's out doing the same with his original band Edguy. This is their tenth studio album and after two million album sales they already have an audience built up for their brand of melodic Heavy Metal anthems and tongue in cheek humour.
It is obvious from just reading the album title that the sense of humour is still going strong. Apparently they couldn't decide which song title to use as the album title so they used both! It could be said that Sammet is some kind of genius as he's managed to create a band which doesn't take itself too seriously and has its' tongue planted firmly in it's cheek but still writes anthemic heavy metal songs which are taken seriously by the industry and their fan base.
'Space Police' has a humourous sounding title but is a mid-paced rifferama with added keyboard touches and a serious sub text about freedom while still being catchy and anthemic. The other title track 'Defenders Of The Crown' is a Sabaton like battle anthem with chantalong chorus about defending Heavy Metal of course. The serious and the humourous check by jowl is how this band likes it.
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'Love Tyger' is a melodic metal celebration, a kind of throwback to the commercial metal sound of the '80s complete with a few cliches thrown in for fun. 'Do Me Like A Caveman' is obvious tongue in cheek Metal humour but has the bones of a good song to hold it all together. The cover of Falco's '80s hit 'Rock Me Amadeus' is a step too far for me in the humour stakes as it doesn't really work on either a comic or musical basis. I'm sure the band will have fun with the crowd playing it live though.
The most impressive parts of the album for me and when the jokes slide into the background and the true songwriting is allowed to come to the fore. 'The Realms Of Baba Yaga' is a heavy mini-epic superbly put together and sounds amazing(partly due to Sascha Paeth's production which is superb throughout the album). 'Shadow Eaters' has a great melodic guitar hookline over the double bass beats and riffing guitars and closing track 'The Eternal Wayfarer' is a nine minute epic about the search for the immortal soul sounding 'Kashmir'-like at some points and Def Leppard gone mad in others.
Verdict: I think this is an album which is really designed to preach to the converted. If you love Edguy stuff or Sammet in general then this is an album you will really enjoy. Personally I have a huge amount of time for the man and his bands and heavy metal really needs someone to raise a smile these days and not take itself too seriously but overall there aren't quite enough great songs on this album to warrant a higher rating. I'm sure the worldwide fan base will disagree with me though and I have to say I'd love to catch them live.
1. Sabre & Torch 5:00
2. Space Police 5:59
3. Defenders Of The Crown 5:39
4. Love Tyger 4:26
5. The Realms Of Baba Yaga 6:06
6. Rock Me Amadeus 3:19
7. Do Me Like A Caveman 4:09
8. Shadow Eaters 6:08
9. Alone In Myself 4:36
10. The Eternal Wayfarer 8:50
Tobias Sammet | vocals
Jens Ludwig | lead- and rhythm guitar
Dirk Sauer | rhythm and lead guitar
Tobias "Eggi" Exxel | bass
Felix Bohnke | drums