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Theater of Salvation
Released: 1999, AFM Records
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Hidden Gem Selection
Get past their dippy name, and any negative connotations you may have from hearing these Germans brutally and unfairly slagged as a Helloween copy band – it’s all crap. You NEED to get exposed to Edguy. This is the album to start with. Forget the overblown intro that sounds like a third-rate church pageant. The moment the guitars kick in on “Babylon” – which is one of the greatest power metal songs ever written, in my opinion – you’ll know why this band is revered in the holiest shrines of those of us curious folk who love power metal.
Edguy did not put the “power” in power metal, but they certainly keep it there, and through eleven tracks of THEATER OF SALVATION (even more, if you have the special editions!) they offer a rollicking, fist-in-the-air, melodic, charming, crushing, thought-provoking smorgasbord of the very best the genre has to offer. No, it’s not swords and dragons stuff. Inspirational and uplifting, yes, but not “corny” or “cheesy” in any way. The double axe assault of Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer will take the Pepsi Challenge with that brutal math metal stuff any time you feel like it. Try saying with a straight face that drummer Felix Bohnke can’t lay down some serious, hard-core double-bass-driven mayhem when he’s motivated – which is most of the time. And the vocals of Tobias Sammet are nothing short of astonishing. A high-note virtuoso with vibrato that rivals any one of the Three Tenors, he couldn’t be more perfect for the art of power metal if he’d been genetically engineered for the task. This is a killer lineup, and THEATER OF SALVATION is their finest hour thus far.
“Babylon” is probably the best track on this album, but not by much. “The Headless Game” and the title track rival it easily. Soaring sing-along choruses infest this disc like locusts, but every single one of them is a winner and they’re never repetitive. Even the slower stuff – such as “Land of the Miracle” and “Another Time” – is far above average. Hit random shuffle on your CD player and you’re still guaranteed to hear a great song no matter what comes up. Few albums are so consistent.
THEATER OF SALVATION is one of those albums that, in my opinion, is impossible to dislike unless you’re steadfastly opposed to power metal on sheer principle, and even then it might make a believer out of you. It was an instant classic the day it appeared on CD store shelves, and so it remains today. Get it, and understand what the fuss is all about.
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