Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
The young German power metal band Edguy is back with a new album. Earlier this year they released the MCD KING OF FOOLS as a preview of what we could expect from the new album. Edguy followed up their previous album MANDRAKE (2001) with the live album taken from that tour called BURNING DOWN THE OPERA LIVE (2003). The live album satisfied fans who wanted a new studio album, but for sure many fans have eagerly awaited the release of HELLFIRE CLUB. This is the band’s 6th album. All of you who are into the power metal scene know who they are, or should!
HELLFIRE CLUB is the first Edguy release for their new label. There are 12 tracks and on the copy I have there are also 2 bonus tracks. The song “MYSTERIA” is represented twice, one time as the regular version and the other time with Mille Petrozza from Kreator as a guest. Vocalist Tobias Sammet has written most of the material - 9 tracks - and on 3 he had some help by Mr. Ludwig. The bonus song “CHILDREN OF STEEL” is a re-working of an old song by Edguy.
Edguy plays power metal that sometime sounds very melodic, but still clearly heavy metal. Their music is incredibly well played and they are lucky to have Mr. Sammet in the band. He is an extremely competent songwriter plus he has an enormous vocal capacity. Music-wise Edguy uses a lot of double bass pedals and they have very memorable choruses. Of course there are some ballads and some great guitar duels between both guitarists. The band has a good sense of humor and they don’t take themselves too seriously as some other great power metal bands do. Along the years they have created a sound of their own and you can instantly recognize their music has their own style.
Edguy have done the production themselves. They know exactly what sound picture they want and how to get it, that’s why they have the courage to produce themselves. HELLFIRE CLUB is recorded in their native country in different studios like Rhoen Records Studio, Vox Klangstudio and Gate Studio. Mikko Karmila did the mixing in Finnvox Studio in my neighboring country of Finland in the capitol Helsinki. Edguy had some help from a symphony orchestra called Film – Orchestra Babelsberg and they recorded their parts in Scoring Stage in Berlin Germany with Michael Schubert.
The album opens with “MYSTERIA”. The song starts with a short intro where Mr. Sammet welcomes the listener to the freak show. It all starts at once with a shorter guitar solo and some faster power metal with a load of double bass pedals. Mr. Sammet is at the top of the sound picture and the song has a sense of heavy metal. The chorus is very memorable to say the least. “THE PIPER NEVER DIES” has a slow intro with only bass/guitar and keyboard. This song is more melodic power metal and it borders close to an up-tempo ballad. In the chorus the tempo rises and it is here that Mr. Sammet shows what great vocal capacity he has. This track is also the longest one on the album at 10 minutes. At the end there are some longer instrumental parts with longer guitar solos before Mr. Sammet sings again. The tempo rises and there is too much repeating of the chorus. “WE DON’T NEED A HERO”, “UNDER THE MOON” and “RISE OF THE MORNING GLORY” are classic power metal tracks straight through with a lot of double bass pedals used and several tempo changes. Mr. Sammet is at the top of the mix together with Mr. Ludwig and Mr. Sauer’s razor sharp guitars. “DOWN TO THE DEVIL”, “KING OF FOOLS” (which was the preview song they released on the MCD) and “LAVATORY LOVE MACHINE” are a few more melodic power metal tracks with hints of heavy metal. The guitars create the more straight forward heavy metal feeling. “FOREVER” is the first ballad on the album. The first verse contains only Mr. Sammet and an acoustic guitar. Halfway into the verse come the strings before the rest of the band join in. The strings follow the whole song and Mr. Sammet has some help form a choir. The comedy track “LUCIFER IN LOVE” is an instrumental with only keyboard, it’s the shortest track, only 30 seconds and it transfers straight into the next song. “NAVIGATOR” is a melodic power/heavy metal track. The song is based on the heavy guitars and in some vocal lines Mr. Sammet sounds incredibly like Bruce Dickinson. “THE SPIRIT WILL REMAIN” is the second time on the album they have used strings. This track sounds like an abandoned song from Mr. Sammets metal opera “AVANTASIA” and it feels like it doesn’t really belong here. This track could fit in a Disney movie, not on an album by Edguy! That song closes the first edition of the record. The version I have is an album with bonus tracks. “CHILDREN OF STEEL” is the first bonus track and if you read the lyrics one can wonder if it’s about the guys themselves. It is typical German power/heavy metal - fast and straight in your face. This track is brilliant and should be on the album. The first track “MYSTERIA” comes again but now with a guest, Mille Petrozza from the German trash legends Kreator. Mille and Tobias do a really nice duet and it’s even better than the original version on the album. Besides the duet, they haven’t done anything different to the song.
HELLFIRE CLUB is totally brilliant, mind-blowing, power/heavy metal. I have only good things to say about this album. The material is well written, the musicians are qualified and competent, and the production is stunning. All of the songs are really good, but how could it go wrong with Mr. Sammet as the main songwriter? I can’t pick any favorites but the weaker songs are “LUCIFER IN LOVE” and “THE SPIRIT WILL REMAIN” they could have left those behind. But that’s the only minor criticisms I have to say about this album. This is power/heavy metal on the highest level there is and Edguy is one of the better bands in their genre.
The European Edguy tour has already begun…if they are coming to your town don’t you dare miss them.