Album Review: Edguy - "Space Police - Defenders Of The Crown"
No metal band has meant more to me over the years than Edguy. They were the first heavy band I got into, and have remained a favorite throughout the ensuing years. While many were criticizing their decisions, whether the comedy that crept in on “Rocket Ride”, or the modern darkness of “Tinnitus Sanctus”, I was firmly in their camp. Fans may have been wishing for the band to return to the style they perfected on “Hellfire Club”, but their refusal to stay in place is one of the things I like most about them. While so many metal bands make the same song over and over on each album, and make the same album over and over again, Edguy is always working on something unexpected. That's the reason “Tinnitus Sanctus” was met with a questioning eye, even though, to my mind, it's the best album Edguy has ever made.
I mention that album because “Space Police - Defenders Of The Crown” is s similar record, in spirit and in sound. The album cover and the song titles may bring to mind “Rocket Ride”, but it's “Tinnitus Sanctus” that is the album's closest comparison. Like that album, “Space Police: Defenders Of The Crown” is an album that finds Edguy upping the heavy quotient, turning in an album with a darker sound than what they are known for. The same thing was true of the most recent Avantasia album, although I would say it's put to better use here.
The album features the usual Edguy mix, a handful of up-tempo metal songs that stake the band's claim with their old fans, a couple of hard rock songs that feel like they were ripped out of the 80s, and a curve-ball no one saw coming.
“Sabre & Torch” sets the standard early, balancing the heavy riffing with a chorus written specifically to be sung in arenas. It can be a bit cloying, but Edguy does that kind of music better than anyone else, so it's hard not to get sucked in after a few listens. The other heavy songs share a similar structure, with pounding riffs that as metal as they come, and Tobias Sammet's trademark hooks buoying the choruses. That combination makes songs like “Space Police” and “Shadow Eaters” memorable and satisfying, right from the very start.
The songs that are more rock oriented are just as good, showing off Tobi's knack for writing some of the most irresistible and sugary hooks. “Love Tyger” bounces along on a Def Leppard riff until the melodies come pouring out. It shares an ethos with “Lavatory Love Machine”, one of the most beloved of the band's songs. “Alone In Myself” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album, which again is flush with hooks, and taps into Tobi's penchant for writing great ballads.
Two tracks in particular, “Do Me Like A Caveman” and the nearly nine minute closer “The Eternal Wayfarer”, rank right up there with the very best material Edguy has ever put out. They're the kinds of songs that Tobi writes that no one else does, that hard to achieve balance between rock bravado and melodic temptation. I try to listen to albums in full as much as I can, but those songs have beckoned me to listen to them again and again. They're that good.
In fact, the only knock I have on the album is the superfluous cover of Falco's “Rock Me Amadeus”, the cheesy beyond belief pop song. It is out of place on the album, doesn't add anything, and takes up space that another great Edguy song could have occupied. Why it made it onto the album is beyond me, as is why I would want to listen to it more than once. My curiosity has been satisfied.
“Space Police - Defenders Of The Crown” doesn't stand on any of the extremes of Edguy's career. Contrary to what is being said, it's not the heaviest album Edguy has made, nor am I ready to declare it the best. The album is another rock solid Edguy album, a highly enjoyable collection of some of the catchiest heavy metal in existence. When Edguy is good, they're great, and “Space Police - Defenders Of The Crown” is damn good.