For some reason, my love for Edguy surprises people. I have no idea why. Really… What’s not to like? Ever since I saw them at the first Bloodstock Open Air in 2005, they’ve held a special place in my heart. So, when talk of a new album surfaced on the Internet, I knew that I had to have it.
Edguy have evolved. They are no longer the Power Metal band that they started off being – they are now stadium rock heroes. Some people will love this and some people will hate it. If you prefer the Edguy of old, it’s likely that you’ll run screaming from this album. But, if you like hard rock with a bit of humour, it may just be the thing to float your boat.
“Age of the Joker” is an odd experience. On my first listen I found that I was a little disappointed. This album isn’t another “Hellfire Club” and it isn’t another “Rocket Ride” (for some reason a lot of people dislike “Rocket Ride” – but I happen to love it). Instead, “Age…” continues along the same path as “Tinnitus Sanctus”. It took me a while to get into “Tinnitus…” – about a year if I’m honest. There’s no shortage of big choruses on the album, but it just didn’t click with me. After my first full listen to “Age of the Joker”, I thought I would have the same problem with this album too.
In all honesty, if I had gone with my first impressions I probably would have given up on the album and moved onto something else. But, like I said before, Edguy hold a special place in my heart – I owed it to them to have another listen. So I did. This time I made sure that I gave the record my full attention. Instead of trying to rush around and do other things, I allowed myself the opportunity to enjoy each track. ‘Enjoy’ is definitely the right word here. Once I’d actually listened to the album, I found that it was a very enjoyable experience. Big choruses, story-telling, guitar solos… it was like all of my birthdays had come at once!
At times the lyrics are a little questionable, but I really don’t think it matters. With Edguy, it’s all about the full package and – I can say with complete confidence – the complete package rocks. This is the kind of album that just puts a smile on your face and makes you feel good… and who doesn’t like feeling good?
Sections of the album remind me a little of the band’s Power Metal days, but on the whole this is all about 80s style stadium rock. And, do you know what? I love it. So what if the band don’t sound like they did five or ten years ago? Time moves on. As long as they continue to play music that they love, then that’s all the matters. And, with this album, it really does feel like they’re passionate about it. It doesn’t feel like they’re there just to churn out another album and make a bit of money – it feels exciting, fresh and fun. When the world’s getting you down, Edguy can be relied upon to bring a touch of levity to the situation.
Highlights include the entertaining “Robin Hood”, the epic and mesmerising “Behind The Gates To Midnight World”, the catchier-than-the-flu “Two Out of Seven” and my two personal favourites – “Rock of Cashel” and “Nobody’s Hero”. I’d also like to add that it’s definitely worth getting the Limited Edition with the extra disc – purely for the cover of “Cum On Feel the Noize”! (Although the rest of the disc is worth a listen too!)
All in all, this is an album that seems to grow on me a little more with each listen.
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