Savage Poetry(AFM - 1995)
Everything about this release points to a bright future for these aspiring young power metal aficionados. They write good traditional riffs, dynamic compositions, strong melodic choruses, epic guitar solos, and the playing is quite competent. The praise ends here however because their immaturity obviously held them back and turned this potential into an unripe and somewhat weak debut, if only because we all know as soon as we hear it that they can do better given some time. For example, the vocalist knows what he wants his voice to sound like (a high power-metal Kiske clone), and tries to belt out power and conviction best he can with a youthful voice, but is defeated by immature undeveloped vocal cords, a slight lack of confidence, and a weak production. If the music were original I would be recommending this album seeing that the composition is tight and very enjoyable, but if you don't have originality then you had better have some brilliance in other areas, and Edguy hasn't reached that point yet. Thankfully, Edguy made the decision much easier by re-recording this good material 5 years later with their newfound power and maturity (reviewed below).
Kingdom of Madness(AFM - 1997)
Two years later, Edguy have progressed in the composition department, showing off some interesting, albeit unoriginal, melodic elements in their music. The production is wider but still lacks the crispness or richness of a well established band, and the guitar player has smoothed out his shredding skills. However this is still not close to the high standards set by so many power metal clones and is even a step down from the debut. I expect either originality, or a near perfection and culmination of 15 years of this relatively simple genre. Also, for some reason, they seemed to have lost some freshness and energy here. There is also a cheesy ballad and an 18 minute song that is a weak overblown exercise in futility and horrid vocals. In summary, this is a mediocre power metal album with some good songs, but with so many clones doing a much better job, I'd definitely look elsewhere.
Vain Glory Opera(AFM - 1998)
So how do you boost a power metal band's weak career? Bring in an overblown production with lots of reverb, a couple of 'celebrities' from other popular bands (Tolkki from Stratovarius and Kurch from Blind Guardian), choir vocals, and safer, tight and simple compositions. Unfortunately the production was slightly overdone, giving the music a grand feel that also drowns it at times, and I find myself missing the more dynamic songs off the debut. Eventually one realizes that, at best, this is very standard power metal with a sprinkling of cheese and an unhealthy dose of bombastic themes and sound, and although it is still somewhat enjoyable as far as this style of music goes, it makes you long for the less forgettable material from the debut. More speed metal and musical development and less rhetoric is what this album needs. The keyboards are much more noticeable than before and the typical choir choruses sung by all the band members are here in droves. There are a couple of good, albeit standard power-metal songs here, but the rest are generic or cheesy. At best, an average, acceptable album if you like this sort of melodic 'metal anthem' thing and aren't expecting anything new, exciting, or complex. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
Theater of Salvation(AFM - 1999)
Hearing that this is supposed to be their best album so far, I basically knew what it would sound like before I even heard it. The fact that nothing in this album surprised me is not a good sign, but I suppose we can rejoice with Edguy in their achievement of highly polished power metal for now. And this is what this album is: pretty good melodic power metal, its flaws being unoriginality (Helloween derivative), some anthemic cheese, overuse of choirs, a slightly increasing happy pop-metal approach to music, and a couple of terrible ballads. The vocalist, however, did a rare and great thing by developing his instrument in leaps and bounds. He has now achieved power, confidence, range and control and is a solid part of the music. The songs vary from melodic speed metal with a twin guitar attack, to slower metal anthems, with dynamics and tight composition, all enhanced by a crisp, full production. The guitar work is also superb, and when the compositions chug at a faster speed the music is very good, but the anthemic and similar-sounding choruses threaten to spill over into cheesiness often, and the ballads are so bad as to require skipping. The 12-minute title-track has some very nice sections but in general is overblown, too bombastic and pompously rock-operatic with way too much choir. In short, this comes lightly recommended if you can't get enough of this stuff, although you may find yourself skipping a couple of tracks, and it lacks the more enjoyable neo-classical or neo-medieval leanings of bands like Rhapsody and Blind Guardian. Tobias Sammet would write similar but slightly better compositions for the super-group Avantasia a year after this. So it's pretty good stuff, but Edguy really needs to grow out of other bands' shadows such as Helloween and Stratovarius in the next album and start writing something distinguishable and more interesting.
The Savage Poetry(AFM - 2000)
Their demo/debut re-recorded, remixed and even slightly rewritten. This often turns out to be self-indulgent, but in this case I applaud the decision because this happens to be their best material. Combined with the recent musical maturity and sound quality, this turns out to be their best album to date and a very good, albeit conventional power metal album in general. The compositions are much more dynamic, unique and relatively complex and they were slightly improved upon for this special release. There is even a complex instrumental stint in the new version of Frozen Candle - hopefully a sign of things to come. Also, this often has a more classic 80's or NWOBHM sound rather than the cheesier anthem-like power metal that has been coming out in droves lately. It's just a pity about the single cheesy ballad Sands of Time, but this album does include possibly the only successful and enjoyable ballad Edguy has ever written: 'Roses To No-one'. Recommended to power metal fans that don't mind the unoriginality and just want to enjoy some solid power metal. Definitely Edguy's best album.
Mandrake(AFM - 2001)
After the peak of Theater of Salvation which took this very conventional Helloween-cloning power-metal sound to its limits, I saw the next step for Edguy as crucial and hoped for some progression, otherwise things would become stale or repetitive. Well, they progressed all right, but in the wrong direction. The hard rock, rock opera and pop-metal leanings of previous albums get slightly more emphasis here. It's amusing that a Helloween clone would copy even this pattern from Helloween, and they even copy the humoristic tracks, vocals and lyrics from that band as well. But despite this general trend towards commercialism, the tracks do vary a lot: The first two bombastic, cheery and speedy tracks sound like something off Theater of Salvation except the first is a bit poppy and overlong, repeating its chorus. 'All the Clowns' is marred by a very poppy chorus and bridge, and 'Painting the Wall' is all painful cheesy hard rock. The surprisingly thrashy chorus of 'Nailed to the Wheel' sounds like a power-metal version of Overkill but it also features a cheesy introduction. 'Pharaoh' is the 10 minute epic that starts promisingly reminiscent of Symphony X, but doesn't quite develop properly or live up to its promise, opting for more uninteresting bombastic power-metal-operatics and atmospherics instead with too much choir use. 'Wash Away the Poison' is a ballad which is slightly less cheesy than previous attempts but is still weak. The rest of the tracks are capable but unmemorable power-metal. Tobias Sammet is from now on sharing time with his super-group metal-opera project Avantasia, and his constantly improving vocals suddenly sound scarily like Bruce Dickinson when he wails. Altogether, this is too generic, and too in love with its operatic bombast to write interesting music, and the pop elements keep increasing, making me feel like giving up on Edguy given this increasing trend throughout all their albums. Some may find this one still enjoyable, but the trend is obvious.
Burning Down the Opera(AFM - 2003)
A double live album. The set list typically emphasizes recent releases but features a variety of tracks, the playing and vocals are solidly professional but not exactly extra energetic as expected, and the sound is good. Stand-outs include the wailing crowd-participation game in Headless Game, the pretty good lengthened version of Pharaoh with some extra instrumental interludes and an atmospheric narrative, a passable drum solo, endless weird rambling and talking to the crowd in How Many Miles for several minutes, two Avantasia covers, and a horrible falsetto on Inside. As far as live albums go, this seems like a mediocre instance of one by a mediocre band.
Hellfire Club(Nuclear Blast - 2004)
As expected, the deterioration continues and there really is no point in reviewing this in length since it is more of the same like Mandrake except with even more dull commercialism. Many tracks are not even metal anymore. The variety includes the heavier Mysteria that sounds like a blend of Overkill, Iron Maiden and pop-metal, the plodding ten-minute conventional hard-rocker 'The Piper Never Dies' that never justifies its running time, some generic, chugging, anthemic, and forgettable power-metal tracks heavily tinged with hard rock catchy commercialism and pop choruses, a cheesy ballad despite its use of an orchestra (Forever), a horribly pop-sounding rocker Lavatory Love Machine, some humor, and so on. Uninteresting power-hard-rock-metal-opera too in love with its choir choruses to write music.
Rocket Ride(Nuclear Blast - 2006)
Edguy has definitely gone commercial hard rock infused with rock-opera, or pop-metal at best. Mostly pop-sounding hard rock with humorous traces of metal. Rather than being humor-metal, I think they are making fun of metal. Most of the tracks may just as well have been released by Bon Jovi despite the occasional touches of metal guitar riffing, and some are downright embarrassing, which is why I will stop reviewing these albums now...
Tinnitus Sanctus(Nuclear Blast - 2008)
Yup. Edguy aren't coming back to us. This isn't only commercial hard rock, it is also boring as music and very unoriginal. But then again, even their early metal releases showed unoriginality and traces of pop-metal. Released as a double CD with a second live album called "Live in Los Angeles". Subsequent release 'Age of the Joker' is more of the same, and although 'Space Police' from 2014 is a bit heavier and more interesting, it is still humor-oriented cheesy music and commercial heavy metal at best, with a few tracks that are closer to Mandrake than Rocket Ride.