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Released: 2001, AFM Records
Reviewer: El Cid
Well I’ll be damned. I really thought no power metal album would come even close to Avantasia until Feb 2002 when Blind Guardian will release its new album and here come 5 Germans to change my mind. This album had very high expectations to fulfill since Tobias Sammet, the mastermind behind Avantasia, was working here too and it hasn’t fallen short of my hopes. I would go as far as to say that this is the absolute best EDGUY album to date (yes, even better that Theatre of Salvation).
It was quite easy at the beginning of EDGUY’s carreer, to assume that they would be a clone with flying dragons and legendary glory power metal. Well I would say that this is the very last chance you’ll have to realize that this is not even close to the truth, if you can’t see the brilliance of MANDRAKE you really must be DEAF! Doing a small rundown of the songs on this album I must say that it is not only brilliantly written but the songs are also very well ordered in the CD. The opener “Tears of a Mandrake” is by itself a mosaic of all the facets of power metal, it is a great album opener because it gets you in the mood immediately and just barely prepares you for what is to come. From here forth you’ll run across a multitude of double-bass based songs that all have a brilliance of their while maintain the flow of the album.
It is my opinion that the hardest thing for a metal band to do is between writing a long and majestic song and writing ballads, Blind Guardian for example master both these things, and this is what sets the great bands apart from the rest of the stock. Track number 6 on MANDRAKE is called “The Pharaoh” and it runs for 10 minutes of constant changes, it is extremely varied musically, that is proof enough that they have a matured a lot, but then you come across a classy ballad in “Wash away the Poison” and you have to acknowledge the fact that you’ve encountered one of the great bands of the new century.
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