When the grunge era came along in the early 90s a lot of metal bands disappeared, converted or just went dormant. There was better money being made playing heavy in the style of Nirvana and Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. That period was also when death metal and black metal really started to take off. While I enjoyed some alternative music from that time, and I was getting into the death/black metal bands as well, I also yearned for music that reminded me of the good old days of metal; metal that was bombastic and melodic and powerful.
Power metal bands are everywhere these days but back then there wasn’t a lot to choose from. You had Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian among others, but these bands were definitely in the minority. Then in the later 90s, 1997 to be specific, I came across a couple albums that in my mind were really the beginning of the power metal resurgence. Those albums were Hammerfall’s “Glory to the Brave” and Edguy’s “Kingdom of Madness”. These albums really excited me by doing something new that was actually old but nobody did it anymore so it was new again (got that?).
And in case you’ve been living under a rock, singer Tobias Sammet is also the brains behind the heavy metal opera collaborative project Avantasia. As epic and grand as metal can be, I think it was genius to take the opera concept and apply it to metal. So as you can probably tell by my reminiscing, I have some sentimental attachment to Tobias and Edguy.
It’s been a few years since “Tinnitus Sanctus” and now Edguy are back with “Age of the Joker” doing what it is they do best - strong and melodic power metal songs. There aren’t really any surprises here; you can count on Edguy to consistently release quality material. I did do a bit of a double take midway through the single “Robin Hood” because the quiet spoken word passage totally reminded me of “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” era Iron Maiden. I thought that was kind of cool.
So, yeah, I don’t really think I need to sell you on this album. If you’re into Edguy already I don’t expect you’ll be disappointed. If you are not familiar with Edguy, then you must be a power metal newbie and this would be a good place to start your education.