Released: 2011, Nuclear Blast
What the f%^k? Suck my c@(k! This is Edguy's eleventh studio album! It feels like only a few years ago that Edguy became one of my favourite bands.
The parcel arrived at my work, but I waited until I was home to open the fan edition of Age of the Joker. I was tempted to open it wearing gloves.
The packaging is spectacular. The fan edition with the limited 2CD deluxe digipak version of the CD, high-gloss promotional photos, poster, picture vinyl and vinyl double LP (I grew up listening to vinyl and don’t understand this fad) presented in a black box definitely displays value for money. Gloss and glamour aside, let’s get to the nitty-gritty – the music.
The single and first track on the album, Robin Hood, was released as a teaser for the Age of the Joker and the accompanying video showcased the happy go lucky nature Edguy fans have enjoyed in other video clips such as "Lavatory Love Machine" and "Superheros".
Stand out tracks would be "Nobody's Hero" as it still sounds like Edguy and the bluesy Pandora’s Box. The arrangement, melody and rich vocals of "Fire on the Downline" takes me back to the early '90s, to bands like Winger, Van Halen, and Hardline. That humorous flavour Tobias Sammet keeps for Edguy material with the usual tongue in cheek lyrics is evident with "Two out of Seven" and it has the funniest lyrics I've heard since "Lavatory Love Machine".
I have one criticism for this album but it’s a big one. The line between Edguy and Avantasia is now blurred with the use of the same recording team, studios, producer and female backing vocalists on Age of the Joker as the last Avantasia releases. The Edguys are all great vocalists and have proven their ability to provide rich, harmonised vocals while performing songs like "Wake up the King" so I don’t understand why Toby uses interlopers. "Rock of Cashel", "Breathe", and "Faces in the Darkness" would have been so much better without the female voices in the backing vocals. "Arcane Guild" might as well have been left for the next Avantasia album, and "Behind the Gates to Midnight World" is pretty bland and Sammet’s pronunciation of every consonant in "Every Night without You" makes me skip the track now, plus I hate it when ballads end and album – the last track on a CD should fire up the listener to hit repeat, not nod them off to sleep.
It’s no wonder that my favourite track of the album is the first on the bonus CD God Fallen Silent and co-written by Edguy guitarist Jens Ludwig and Sammet.
"Aleister Crowley’s Memorial Boogie" sounds like Sammet was channeling Lemmy or had written it after a big night with Motorhead. "Cum on Feel the Noize", can’t listen to that either (same issue as Every Night without You) and "Standing in the Rain" should’ve been the ballad for the album.
Overall if you don’t compare Age of the Joker with Rocket Ride or any earlier album it’s a decent release. Age of the Joker fan edition was a limited release and I got #333 so that would make me only half evil but still an Edgirl.