Edguy - Kingdom of Madness
AFM Records
Power Metal
9 songs (59'17)
Release year: 1997
Edguy, AFM Records
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

After their signing to AFM Records, Edguy released their first “official” album with Kingdom of Madness. Being one of the two overlooked albums in their career, Savage Poetry being the other one, Kingdom of Madness has many excellent and awesome songs on it but the cheap production leaves a lot of listeners a bad taste in their mouth and sadly, what could be classic fist pumpers in the live setting, are instead shelved and relegated to cult fan favorites. While having a very raw and Iron Maiden influenced demo, Edguy’s sound has changed ever so slightly for Kingdom of Madness. On Kingdom… the songs are a lot more riff oriented and there aren’t as many double harmony solos, instead there are more bottom end guitar passages that are surprisingly really heavy (for Power Metal). Check out Angel Rebellion or Steel Church for example. Even though the album has a heavier slant to it there is still an abundance of melody and catchiness to it so don’t be too alarmed. The guitar tone itself is definitely not anywhere near to being over produced it sounds really raw and live. One of the biggest complaints I hear about this album is that the drum sounds awful. I disagree, I don’t find it anywhere near as annoying as some other drum sounds that I have heard (I’m talking about YOU, St. Anger). Instead of failing miserably at capturing an “old school” sound like some band I won’t mention here, the drums on Kingdom of Madness ARE old school. The entire album has a raw, energetic live feel to it which is part of its unique charm.

Despite the fact that I feel the Savage Poetry demo was better overall, (read my review of it to see my reasonings for this) the songs on Kingdom of Madness are still strong in their own right. The disc opens up with the cult classic Paradise. I say cult classic because this song has many of the elements that would make Edguy famous in the years to come. An atmospheric acoustic intro gives way to a driving riff and an “Alriiight!” from Mr. Sammet. By this point if you can’t get past the drum sound or the raw production job then you might as well stop because its not gonna get any better. This album is particularly hard for recent Edguy converts to listen to and I can see why. Anyways, a lengthy track, Paradise has a slow interlude moment in the middle before coming out of there with some frenzied soloing. Wings of a Dream is one of my favorite Edguy songs of all time and this is the only track on Kingdom… that could perhaps be mistaken for current day craftsmanship. A rousing Power Metal song to the hilt, Wings of a Dream is still played live today and I’m happy for it. The required ballad is the emotional When A Hero Cries. I say emotional because there is a deep sadness in Tobias’ voice when he is singing and the piano is just beautiful. He doesn’t use his vibrato as much as he does on the other tracks, instead it’s a more subdued yet still clear and rich sound that he hasn’t used since. I really can’t see why he himself dislikes this song so much as I find it superb. This ballad is sandwiched between the two heaviest songs that Edguy has done in their career, Angel Rebellion and Steel Church. Both songs have riffomatic chugging patterns in them especially the intro to Steel Church that could convert even a hardcore hater of Power Metal. Deeply rooted in anger and spite Angel Rebellion and Steel Church are definitely a different (but enjoyable!) side of Edguy. A monster eighteen minute plus epic The Kingdom concludes the album and although I hate to say it I must, it seems like the band has bitten off way more than they can chew. Tobias’ has a penchant for writing uber long songs that work well and are not a chore to listen to but the first nine minutes of The Kingdom just seem to take forever to get through. There are some nice moments throughout the waiting period but they still don’t salvage the obvious overbearing workload of the band. Part of the reason this first nine minutes is a chore to sit through is because the backing vocals used are kinda weak. Throughout the album its obvious that only four or five voices are being used to back Tobi and since they are used sparingly to accentuate the chorus or certain vocal passages they aren’t really noticed as being lackluster. In The Kingdom however there are too many parts where there is an abundance of backing vocals and they just sound cluttered and messy. After the first nine minutes though the song picks up the slack and after the narration segment by Chris Boldentahl the scattered segments of the song seem to have come together and the last half of this monster epic is a much more easier on the ears affair. Maybe if Tobi didn’t write an eighteen minute monster (this is still the longest song ever by Edguy to date) and cut out the fat we would have been left with a ten minute lean creation instead of the bogged down first half of The Kingdom.

For longtime Edguy fans there is no question, Kingdom of Madness is a necessary and worthwhile addition to your cd collection. To newcomers of the band I would recommend you hear this first because if you’re used to the slick sounds of Mandrake then you’re gonna be in for a (hopefully pleasant) shock. A valiant effort from Tobias Sammet and company ,and a nice slab of raw, unpolished Power Metal.

Killing Songs :
Paradise, Wings of a Dream, When a Hero Cries
Ben quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Edguy that we have reviewed:
Edguy - Space Police-Defenders Of The Crown reviewed by Joel and quoted 93 / 100
Edguy - Age of the Joker reviewed by Chris and quoted 80 / 100
Edguy - Fucking With F*** Live reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Edguy - Tinnitus Sanctus reviewed by Chris and quoted 80 / 100
Edguy - Rocket Ride reviewed by Chris and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 17 reviews click here
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