Edguy - Space Police - Defenders of the Crown

Edguy Space Police - Defenders of the Crown cover
Edguy
Space Police - Defenders of the Crown
Nuclear Blast
2014
7.5
Uncle Tobi – the master of the catchy chorus, the ringleader of Avantasia and head circus clown and the joker of the pack, able to mix equal parts Dickinson and Kiske, but with a few whiffs of kitsch and camp thrown in for good measure is back! Hurrah! Rejoice! Hallelujah... all of that and then some more.
 
Choosing to double title an album – with a couple of titles that bore no connection between them, sounded eccentric to start with. Witnessing the godamn awful cover with a twisted “gay” space cop gun out and a praying mantis behind him (WTF?) made people go hmmmm, more than when they heard C&C music factory’s “Things that make you go hmmm???”… but overall, the album, seems to be rather an improvement over the rather pompous and a little not so focused “Age of the Joker” that it succeeds, harkening back to at least “Rocket Ride”, but registering new levels in the kitsch/camp-o-meters! O joy!
 
The album kicks off, dynamically with “Sabre & Torch” a very loud and brassy number which will remind you the best of Edguy’s moments from “Hellfire Club” and “Mandrake” and it even incorporates some slight Priest elements, making it even “harder”, without, losing the power metal character. Fine opener.
 
“Space Police” is sprinkled with some quirky sort of keyboard riffs all over as it opens, but is a typically very decent Edguy tune, with a big symphonic choir aided chorus which is quite catchy. More of those quirky keys. I have to even give it to Tobias, for losing it completely around the sixth minute and going for his best "Alvin and the chipmunks" #in space #on drugs impersonation, while the songs takes a brief interlude! (WTF!) LOL... oh and I love the totally "Manowar goes Greek", finish too! Mega-LOL! Way too appropriate!
 
Where – “Robin Hood” – was a bit of a campy failure of almost epic proportions, “Defenders of the Crown” is the polar opposite. It’s epic power metal, with big, bright bold choruses, (a little annoying mouth guitar thingy – popping somewhere), LOBSTERS – I kid you not, among other things and various other things… OK, at least, just like Steel Panther, Tobias, is not taking himself too seriously... maybe not seriously at all! I wonder what’s next ! No wait, I dread to think that.
 
“Love Tyger” that came out as one of the first singles – with an ultra-simple – hand drawn video, that kinda sucked, to be sort of honest, is a simple yet very catchy hard rocker, with a nice hook and a certain bite… I like it quite a bit... to be honest. But maybe if they had done a better video... I suppose... with like real tygers and chicks etc. and lots of ketchup, I might have found it even yummier :D
 
“The Realms of Baba Yaga”… I was totally, scratching my head over some of the titles of this new album... well, who on earth was reading little Tobi, old eastern tales with ugly deformed sorceresses that lived near a mortar pits, holding a pestle and eating stray away children? I wonder? It’s a quite powerful and dark and powerful, number that switches between mid and fast tempi, easily and seamlessly.
 
You wanted camp? Uncle T – has got you covered: Falco’s : “Rock Me Amadeus” gets rocked or metal’d up the @$$, (oooer missus) with Tob, sounding like a cat, whose tail got caught in a door at some point! Oh dear! Ouch !
 
“Do Me like a Caveman” begins in a more mellow way and continues so, with an overall softer and more melodic approach. It surely has a nice theme and all, but a ballad, it’s not… as it’s too fast. Just a much softer, Edguy song, with a silly title.
 
“Shadow Eaters” goes back to the “template” and it creates another classic sounding Edguy song, that however, is divided between a darker and a more light side. The verses, tend to be quite carefree, but tension rises, during the pre-chorus and the chorus where things get decidedly darker and meaner... while I like the antithesis, maybe if it wasn’t as stark, I’d have liked it a bit better, at some point I felt like it was two different songs, bridged together… by exceptional guitars!
 
“Alone in Myself” is a bit of a soulful hymn, that halfway does become a little self-indulgent, but maybe works as a moment of reflection… it’s not the best song of the album, but being more fragile and not as macho is sort of nice, in its poignancy. Ropey, but not a throw-away track.
 
Finally, a little shy of nine minutes “The Eternal Wayfarer” is the defacto epic of the album, with a nice big melody in the chorus, eastern elements, woven all over it, even a “Kashmir” like riff, thrown in there, momentarily, lol, I am just guessing that the over the top polyphonic moment @ around the sixth minute, fails quite epically, since the track sort of loses its way somewhere in the middle, unfortunately, but at least, right after it, when the normal flow resumes around the seventh minute, things do wrap up quite nicely...
 
The special edition comes with some 7 bonuses, of which only 3 are “real” proper “songs” and the rest are just instrumentals for the “Karaoke fans” amongst you... I’m sure, this could be “Big in Japan” and I just find it weird that the Alphaville hit, didn’t end up getting covered… oh, well, “Maybe next time”...
 
“England” is a goofy overblown ballad that feels like a bad pastiche of “All the Young Dudes” & “New York”, Edguy’s own “Life and Times of a Bonus Track”! That’s quite brilliant, so to speak, as it pays tribute to none other than Steve Harris, of Iron Maiden fame… hahahaha! (Maybe in a vain effort to get both him and Dickinson for the next Avantasia album – hahahaha!) Well, funk it Tobi, we’ve got souvlaki and no matter how many loans we get you’re not getting it :P Maybe the best song, not included in the normal album.
 
“Aychim in Hysteria” is a Def Leppard, “faux” number… done quite well... oh, as Tobi, mentions them in “England”, besides Maiden… obviously, the lyrics – border on comedy, but, when did that ever hurt anyone… I even think they go as far as poking fun at fellow power metal bands as well, like Primal Fear and Kamelot, haha, which is kind of dead funny and makes me wonder if they’ll ever get a response… And who the hell is “Aychim”?
 
The (prog version) of “Space Police” is taking the already – pretty fucked up song, adds more keys… and more madness by Tobias…. in an over the top version that could only be used as a comical bonus... well Heavens Gate were doing these parodies a long time ago... and they were lovely… so… yeah, why not…
 
The last 4 tracks are the instrumental/karaoke tracks of “Space Police”, “Love Tyger”, “Defenders of the Crown” and “Do Me Like a Caveman” that are not that much to speak of, unless you fancy yourself goofing around at a karaoke night, pretending to be Tobi!
 
Overall – the usual – bad craziness, shenanigans and catchy choruses… little has changed in the “Kingdom of Madness”… which is kind of nice… a rather fine album, that could have been a little better, but is a marked improvement over the last one... with all the projects Tobias Sammet involves himself with, it’s a bit of a miracle, that he still manages to maintain the level of his releases this high.
 
I think he should take some time off though, before he revives both Edguy and Avantasia next, just to “return” with really some magnum opuses... or he could just hire the Magnum guys to help him with that cheeky (yeah I know poor attempt at a joke)…