Avantasia – Moonglow

The bombastic operatic Metal of Avantasia continues apace with their eighth album Moonglow (Nuclear Blast), and just in case you were in any doubt it opens with a nigh on ten minute slice of pomp that would not sound out of place on Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell 2 (MCA/Virgin). The conceptual nature and fantastical sound of previous album Ghostlights is expanded upon here, helped by the ample time Tobias Sammet was given when making it. Continue reading

Magnum – Lost On The Road To Eternity

The release of Magnum’s twentieth studio album, Lost On The Road To Eternity (SPV/Steamhammer) is no mean feat, considering twenty-five years ago, the band were releasing the aptly named and wholly underwhelming Sleepwalking (Music For Nations) while struggling to find a foothold in a musical environment that had no room for them. Continue reading

Ayreon – The Source

2017 will be seen as a monumental year for both Arjen Anthony Lucassen and for Ayreon; the band and its fanatical fan base. Significantly it will mark the first live performances by Ayreon (and a very rare live appearance by the infamously shy and reclusive Lucassen), but also sees a brand new album that revisits the conceptual narrative of one of the band’s most beloved albums, 01011001 (InsideOut). Showing a return to the sci-fi storyline of said album, The Source (Mascot) in fact acts as a prequel piece, and is the most refined and strongest album they have released for some time. Continue reading

Ayreon’s New Song Features Members Of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Blind Guardian And More

Arjen Lucassen will be releasing his new Ayreon album, The Source, on April 27th via Mascot Label Group, and as promised, this record features a ton of guest appearances from some of the biggest names in heavy metal. Continue reading

Edguy – Space Police: Defenders Of The Crown

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Tobias Sammet vocalist, composer, keyboard player and main man of Edguy (he also somehow finds time to do the same for Avantasia) recently stated that Space Police – Defenders of the Crown (Nuclear Blast) is “the album Edguy will be measured against in the future”. A bold statement considering not only do they have a hat-trick of genuine power metal classics in their ten-album canon (Vain Glory Opera, Theater of Salvation and Savage Poetry), but also bearing in mind the German power metal quintet have failed to reach those heights of recent years.

The dual title-tracks wade in early, setting the tone for the album; a bouncy keyboard-line with a hook the size of the Allianz Arena launches ‘Space Police’ bringing things to a great catchy chorus, off to a spacey Bowie inspired midsection; ‘Defenders Of The Crown’ picks up where things left off, a fists-in-the-air call to arms; ‘The Realms Of Baba Yaya’ continues with strong verse and even stronger chorus, all the time chugging guitars underpinning the melodies and hooks, while is ‘Do Me Like A Caveman’ (!) is, surprisingly, a quality Bon Jovi ‘In These Arms’ style semi-serious romantic rocker – those crazy Germans!

Sammet’s vocals are superb throughout, equal parts David Lee Roth, Biff Byford and Hansi Kursch, with an uncanny knack of delivering the silly, the serious, the epic and the cheesy with conviction and emotion, none more so than on ‘Alone In Myself’, a change of pace that wouldn’t be out of place on Magnum’s underrated ‘Wings of Heaven’.

The bar is raised even higher with closer ‘The Eternal Wayfarer’; the result of Sabaton covering Tony Martin era Black Sabbath, wading in with symphonic bombast, before opening its epic arms to bring the album home victorious.

Elsewhere, full credit has to go to the Van Halenesque ‘Love Tyger’, a simply great rock anthem that would have dominated MTV in years gone by and will stick in your head for years, while the cover of Falco’s ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ works better than it has any right to. 

While Helloween’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums may have been the starting point for power metal, Edguy have defined their own, more Hard Rock take on the sound and Space Police forces mouth muscles to grin and horns to be raised as it serves up a slew of hooks, choruses and a joie de vivre, a feeling of unashamed joy, all the way through. Sammet’s bold statement is more than backed up. Space Police is the best power metal album since Sabaton’s Carolus Rex, and Edguy’s best since Theater of Salvation.

9/10

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Steve Tovey