Space Police – Defenders of the Crown
Nuclear Blast, 2014
The undisputed fact is that power metal, or any of its subordinate genres, isn’t even close to my favorite style of music. Actually, I’d state that it’s generally speaking one of those genres that tend to nauseate me when making its way to my consciousness through my ears’ auditory canals. But still there are some exceptions that confirm this rule, and Edguy is one of those special cases. Seriously, this goofy German group of five has always had a certain place in my heart.
After the magnificent and almost heavenly Hellfire Club (which is now a decade-old record, time flies…) Edguy greeted their fans with Rocket Ride; an album sounding just fair and decent at best, being mostly an irrelevant junk pile of hard rock-ish B-class heavy metal songs. “Is this the point where the road starts just leaning downwards?” was the question on my mind when trying to get a grip from the throat of their tour de force ’06. Well, after the two horrible pieces of cat crap in the form of sleazy music that followed, I was ready to bury these jokers so deep that even grave robbers couldn’t find them.
Almost three years passed by, and a news thread was read, telling about Edguy releasing a new full-length. At first, not a single fuck was given, but thankfully a friend of mine with very similar concerns about the band sent me a message with a single phrase: “This new album is surprisingly good!” – and now, here I am, writing about the best Edguy work in ten years. Everything I’ve ever loved about them is back in the forefront; the energy, the attitude and, most importantly, great music. I don’t really know what drugs these guys have been using during the past three years, but they surely were needed!
Space Police gets a fiery start with “Sabre & Torch,” containing some riffs borrowed from classic thrash metal albums, and at the same time being the heaviest song in the band’s catalogue in a long time. After this, the album delivers us four songs balancing between power metal and hard rock, bringing some old and traditional Edguy vibes to the table as well as some fresh and unconventional solutions that really keep the game interesting. For example, the third song “Defenders of the Crown,” a perfect triplet-strike ass kicker, sounds just like the material released before the new millennium, but still manages to be more than a rip-off of their own production. It’s also nice to notice that Tobias Sammet is still able to write five songs in a row with laughably good choruses and melodies that make the listener push the repeat button again and again.
After the first half of the ten tracks has passed us by, Space Police sadly makes a little plunge, as the honor of the sixth song is given to a Falco cover, “Rock Me Amadeus.” Its choruses are quite catchy and at least entertaining, but Sammet’s singing on the verses is just horrible. Actually, I’m not even certain if anybody should call it singing, because it sounds more like he’s having some kind of sudden illness, or trying to make rap rhymes without teeth. After more than ten listens, it still remains a mystery to me what the heck the guy had been trying to achieve with his weird and disturbing gagging. Yeah, I know very well that Edguy is a band that values humor, but come on… there has to be a line to draw at some point.
Between the discordant cover track and the grand finale, there are three songs giving flashbacks of Rocket Ride and its numbing dullness. They really don’t have anything that would make me feel any emotions, nor is there anything of value to say about them. When listening to the album for the first time, I got a little bit scared that Space Police would have an ending that wouldn’t do any justice to its great start. But lo and behold! The finishing song “The Eternal Wayfarer” is without any doubt the best one of the bunch, and if the power to choose the songs for an Edguy compilation would be given to me, this piece of art would definitely be there. The composition is every bit as epic and glorious as anybody should expect from the closing track of a power metal album. Again, the choruses are the best parts, and the theme melody is just as impressive in all its simplicity and potential. In the middle, we’re served guitar solos played with such talent and delicacy that they just demand you to revel in their excellence. This is how you create diamonds, people!
It must be admitted that the album has its flaws, but when measuring the pros and cons, this release is far above mediocrity. It’s not on the same line with Hellfire Club, Mandrake, or any 90’s full-length by the group (whether to count Savage Poetry in this list is up to you), but it sure is hundreds of times better than the previous three albums. Ladies and gentlemen, Edguy is back!
* * *