The Savage Poetry (Special Edition)
Released: 2000, AFM Records
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Imagine my shock when I went through our brand new, nifty-galifty searchable index of Metal-Rules reviews and found that NO ONE, in the entire HISTORY of our great web zine, has ever done an Edguy review! After wondering (modestly) how EvilG ever got along without me, I realized it was quite fortunate that this special double-CD edition of Edguy’s SAVAGE POETRY had only recently arrived in my mailbox. Thus I have determined to set pen to paper and wax eloquent about one of my all-time favorite bands.
THE SAVAGE POETRY is at once the newest Edguy opus, and also the oldest. The album was originally recorded in 1995 and self-produced by the band, spurned by record labels but rabidly collected by fans. Five years later, apparently weary of hearing fans ask if they were going to re-release it, Edguy decided to re-record the entire album and release it as a double set – the first CD being the 2000 re-recordings, and the second being the original 1995 version. I’m not going to claim the “holy grail” of metal snobbery by claiming that “I knew that band before they got big,” and that I’m one of the lucky few to have heard THE SAVAGE POETRY before its 2000 re-release – I’m not. However, it was extremely interesting to compare and contrast the two versions.
First, the re-recordings of the nine songs on the album are exactly what you expect from Edguy: very lofty, classically-influenced, technically brilliant power metal. The best and catchiest tracks are probably the first one, “Hallowed,” and the fifth, “Sacred Hell.” Tobias Sammet’s amazing vocals carry the day, of course, and the guitar work of Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer shreds as usual on the high-tempo pieces (“Frozen Candle” being a good example). Also as you have come to expect if you’re a fan of later Edguy stuff like THEATER OF SALVATION, the production is crystal-clear, every note meticulously in place, and the album as a whole sounding like a million bucks. Obviously you can’t go wrong with this!
While the 2000 re-recordings are far superior in every measurable way, I found myself drawn into the original 1995 version for some reason. The technical proficiency just isn’t there. The guitars sound very muddy in places, and Tobias’s voice had obviously not yet grown into his now-effortless, stratospheric wail that characterizes the classic Edguy sound. However, it’s quite a novelty to hear a band I’ve loved so much just starting out, playing through fuzzy equipment, their album sounding tinny with flat production. Just contrast the way the drums sound – on the re-recording, every crack of the set echoes with power, while the drumbeats on the original version are muted and flat. Hearing the band working through all these obstacles, and still showcasing the immense talent they had even in 1995, is an eye-opening experience, made even more so by hindsight.
THE SAVAGE POETRY is not, and was not, Edguy’s best album. It lacks the depth, power and catchiness of THEATER OF SALVATION or VAINGLORY OPERA. However, it’s still excellent power metal. This special edition is probably best suited for Edguy fans. If you’re just getting into the band, get one of the aforementioned albums first, and then try SAVAGE POETRY once you have some familiarity with them. I’m confident you’ll enjoy them all!