Edguy - Age of the Joker
Nuclear Blast
Hard-Rock (or Hard'N Heavy)
11 songs ()
Release year: 2011
Edguy, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Chris
Major event

As much as it pains me to say, Age of the Joker is the logical continuation to Tinnitus Sanctus. Its now painfully clear that Tobias has no reason whatsoever to deliver a Power Metal album in the near future, or, as scary as this sounds, in the future alltogether. When thinking that there is more raw power in the last two Avantasia Opuses than there is in the last two Edguy album, this should prepare you on what to expect. That's sad, no questions about it. Gone forever are the Hellfire Club, Vain Glory Opera, Theater of Salvation or even the excellent Mandrake days (now looking back I can't believe how harsh I was when I reviewed that album, compared to the last three albums, it should get 98% ! Let's just say I mixed the digits on my review then...). So what to except from Age of the Joker ?

Well, if I had to sum it up I'd say a pretty great Hard Rock release but one that will not stand the test of time. The songs are of excellent quality, production is top-notch, Tobias' vocals are very good, and there are some very interesting song-writing put into the songs. Especially the breaks that require a special mention, as they are more developped than before, and some of them have that genius spark that only Tobias can bring to the table. All except the "cowboy" one on Pandora's Box, that is so totally unbearable to me that it makes me skip that song all-together. Overall I can feel a lot of 80's influence in this album, from Magnum to Iron Maiden, Gary Moore, and more... That's not a bad thing and in the end I like this album as the songs are well flushed out and most of them sound great, with a few being superior than the rest, making this album a little more digestable than Tinnitus Sanctus in my book, maybe cause it's more varied and simply better executed. The opener is an interesting song, Robin Hood, good structure, okay chorus, and a Maidenesque break a la Fear of the Dark. But that is definitely not enough to rival with say The Piper Never Dies, as we are two worlds apart, except maybe for the organ use that Tobias seems to love so much lately. Nobody's Hero is inkling to the Hellfire Club era, but still with a more FM sound somehow... still a great song. Third song starts with a crying guitar melody in the vein of master Gary Moore (another hero that decided to do a 180 during his career and turn to Blues). While it's a good song overall, nothing except that starting melody and maybe the Irish break brings something to the song, but nothing to shout out loud here I'm afraid. Pandora's Box wild west cheap tones and unbearable (to me that is) break, makes it a song quickly forgotten ! Finally comes Breathe, my favorite song on the album, even though it starts and is carried by the keyboards basically. Very accessible song, very catchy but powerful chorus. A bit of a double bass drums and more aggressive riffing would make it a song from the past. But instead the tone is kept down, to a "for the masses" level. Fortunately the chorus is bombastic and Tobias' vocals are awesome so it's still an amazing song. The song coming after it, Two out of Seven, is just as good, even though I usually dislike mid-tempos compared to faster songs but this song is the exception (it's the one melody that sticks to my mind all day long). The verse of that song is very reminiscent of Human Fortress' Shattentor, but that's where the comparison ends, as the chorus takes the song in a completely different direction, and somehow, I doubt Tobias is even aware of that band to have been inspired by it. The song is prime for a radio hit, and near the end Tobias reminds us he still like to joke around with some funny lyrics... "What the Fuck, Suck my Cock"... definitely caught me off guard while drinking some soda and believe me it all went flying when I heard the lyrics :). I could go on but I will just say that most remaining songs are good ones, with a special mention to The Arcane Guild that reminds me also of faster songs found in Hellfire Club. And it is definitely the only song that could be categorized as Power Metal here. Maybe some pity for old fans, who knows... anyway a great song if a bit predictable in it's construct and execution. The closer Every Night Without You is a very Bon Jovi like ballad and a good one too, but somehow it won't impact the world like any of the Bed of Roses, , Still Loving You or any of X-Japan's ballads for that matter... but that's just my opinion of course.

Now as for the quoting, I would like you to understand that I quote this album as a Hard-Rock / Heavy release, and quotes aren't to be compared to other band's older releases as I don't believe this is the same band anymore... if I had to quote this album against the top of Edguy's game (Hellfire Club), it would get 60-65 tops. But I prefer quoting it for what it is (as it's still greatly executed IMHO) and ignoring the Power Metal past since its gone and probably never to come back. I also believe I overquoted the previous effort... which deserves maybe 70 following the "review for what it is" logic (and barely 55 compared to older releases).

Of all the bands that brought metal back to life in the middle of the 90's. Edguy was the most promising, and definitely my favorite one. Heck our first in-person interview was with Tobias at the AFM festival in Lyon in 2000... I have very fond memories of that day, and it also brings some sad ones when I think that AFM's boss and Squealer' singer Andy "Henner" Allendörfer is no longer with us (R.I.P). I've seen Edguy in Wacken at least twice, I saw them in Lyon twice as well, and also in Prattlen in Switzerland. That's one of the band I saw live the most with Iron Maiden ! And I've been a fan of the band after the first two minutes of listening to Vain Glory Opera, where I stopped listening to it immediately at the shop, so I could savor it at home blasting it through my hi-fidelity stereo. Edguy has a special place in my heart and while I cannot for the life of me understand why Tobias changed direction, I guess all I have to do now is accept it and get whatever great Hard Rock songs we will get in the band's future (I guess that's better than nothing and after all I like Hard Rock too... just not as much as I like Power Metal that's for sure). I suppose if the last few albums are selling better than when Edguy was a Power Metal band, then it would explain the change in direction... after all we all would like more money wouldn't we ? And maybe I'm completly false on that assumption and maybe Tobias always wanted to the play this music but it wasn't the right climate when he started ? who knows...and at this point who cares. Anyway, there is no denying that Edguy can be a great Hard Rock band, but in this category I find them less impressive (I will definitely will enjoy a Gotthard, Magnum or Bonfire album more when I'm in the mood for Hard Rock, like Point Blank !) than when they were playing good old Power or True Metal if you wish (a term not used for a long time and I'm feeling nostalgic in case it didn't show :) ). In that category they were leading the pack and defining a genre that they ultimately abandonned or at the very least walked away from... So to sum up, a good album, but like it's predecessor, it feels like the band and Tobias could be able to deliver so much more.... but will they ever do ? and do they even want to ? After three albums with a softer sound installing itself with each new release, I seriously doubt it. If like me you like Hard Rock then enjoy Age of the Joker for the good release it is, but if like the other part of me you ache for the Edguy of old, you shouldn't really bother... the little of what's left from that era will only make you hungry for more, a hunger that can fortunately be fullfilled by the numerous past bombastic albums from the band... so while this little appetizer kept me somewhat interested for a few days, if you'll excuse me now, I'm going to listen to Hellfire Club.

Killing Songs :
Nobody's Hero, Breathe, Two out of Seven, Every Night Without You, Fire on the Downline & The Arcane Guild
Chris quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Edguy that we have reviewed:
Edguy - Space Police-Defenders Of The Crown reviewed by Joel and quoted 93 / 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
Edguy - Superheroes reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 17 reviews click here
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