Edguy - Hellfire Club
Nuclear Blast
(True) Melodic Heavy Metal
12 songs (60'51)
Release year: 2004
Edguy, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the year

Well well well, a little while longer, I said that I thought that only one album this year could equal or surpass Heavenly's last offering, and that album would be Hellfire Club. And my intuition seemed to have been correct, as this new offering from Edguy is simply put, their best album ever. Of course, some of you know that I also love (equally I guess) Vain Glory Opera. Even if VGO doesn't have such amazing vocal performances you can find in the latest offerings (like Savage Poetry 2000 or Mandrake), it has a sheer epic fantasy factor like nothing else (and amazing guests)!!! Being a huge fantasy fan, VGO really is to me the Saint Graal of Epic Fantasy True Metal. So how does Hellfire club compares to it ? Well, it doesn't, both albums are completely different. Edguy has mature so much in the last few years, both technically and song-writing wise. When I said that Mandrake was lacking, I meant that it was too easy for Edguy... and Hellfire Club is exactly what I was expecting from the boys back in the Mandrake days, but they actually delivered more than my expectations, hence the perfect quote ! But since Mandrake was released a few months after The Avantasia project, is the reason I think, why I never really considered it to be a fully complete album, it somehow sounded unfinished, even though it contained many killer tracks. It still didn't have that magic touch that you can feel in VGO, and now on HellFire Club.

Well, enough said about the past, let's concentrate on the album at hand : Hellfire Club. The production is simply amazing, everything sounds just perfect and once again Edguy opens the way in terms of quality, setting new standards and showing the good example of how to make an album sound powerful and majestic at the same time. The album starts with Mysteria, a kick in the face opener (to quote Tobias), and the perfect way to start the album. You can sense how everyone in the band have grown, how they evolved and how tight the band sounds now... the boys have grown, and they're escalating the stairs to the metal godwood with incredible style. The next track, The Piper Never Dies, is the epic track of the album, ten minutes plus long and a song that somehow shows the new face of Edguy. Their ability to merge their True Metal sound with the old elements of past bands such as Deep Purple or Rainbow... to quote Tobias, it's a "constantly ungoing ride on a roller coaster". I couldn't say it any better. The song as everything you can dream of, progressive touches, incredible song-writing and an unbelievable vocal performance. Tobias vocal lines and screams going madly crescendo as the minutes goes by, doubled with incredible choirs. Things you'll always find throughout this album are amazing sharp & very heavy riffs and incredible guitar solos, from beginning to end ! The third song, We Don't Need A Hero is a typical fast paced Edguy song, with once again incredible riffs and amazing solo part, and also, the addition of a full orchestra (Babelsberg Film Orchestra) on the break, right after the solo. Unlike many bands, Edguy decided to add a few orchestra moments to boost (or enlighten) some parts of a few selected songs... and not overdo or overuse the orchestra in order to melt metal and classical music, like so many already did in the past. No, not here, Edguy went for a Heavy Metal album with some orchestral, movie-like bombastic moments to add to their unmistakable majestic breed of True/Power Metal. Then comes one of Edguy's best song, certainly one of my favorites : Down To The Devil. This song sends waves of shivers down my spine every time the chorus kicks in... what an incredible catchy melody, childish yet so cheerful and epic at the same time. A song like only Edguy knows how to deliver. This is the song I end up singing when I wake up, under the shower, in the streets... what a song, what a melody, what a musical demonstration of power, aggression and majestic melodies at the same time. The song is followed with King Of Fools that you might have heard already from the EP. Not much difference, except for a longer, nicer guitar solo. Forever is the ballad that will immediately makes you think of Scarlet Rose or Sands Of Time... but enhanced with the wonderful orchestra parts.

Though I could easily describe every songs of the album, I prefer leaving some place for surprise and discovery of your first listens. This album contains everything and more than we could have witnessed in previous albums... unbelievable melodies, one of the best guitar work possible (save for Lost Horizon maybe), unbelievable vocal performance from mastermind and metal god Tobias Sammet, passion and emotion-packed songs, majestic melodies and a great part of aggressivity making Edguy a real Heavy Metal band. Far beyond their deserved title of True Metal masters. The album contains one joke song (remember these guys have fun, and it shows), Lavatory Love Machine, with such a funny title and lyrics, while being a strong, steady and catchy tune with a melody you won't forget any day soon ! The album also ends with an unusual though beautiful track : The Spirit Will Remain. Why unusual ? Because there's only one member of Edguy featured, that's Tobias, singing on top of the beautiful orchestra, playing some Celtics tunes reminding a bit the Braveheart soundtrack. Like I said in my intro, vocal-wise, Toby evolve incredibly since Vain Glory Opera, and lately I was asking myself which singer was really my favorite one, if I had to choose (I prefer not to though :)). In my top-5 I would list : Tobias Sammet, Bernhard Weiss (Axxis), David Defeis (Virgin Steele), Toshi (X-Japan) and Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon's Ethereal Magnanimus). If I should pick one, it would be Tobias, not for his vocal's tone, but for the sheer potential, range and technical mastery. You want some Paul Stalney, or maybe some Halford ? ... he can range all those, and deliver vocals even as high as David Defeis (he proved it on Avantasia 2, delivering a higher note than David while working in his range/tone) while retaining his own style and personality... simply put, he's the most proficent metal singer there is, and one that is still on the fast progression curve.

If you ask me, I believe that Edguy is the one and only band that rose from the ashes of the metal fiasco of the beginning of the nineties, arrived at the right place and time along with Hammerfall & Rhapsody. But out of the three band, Edguy is, to me, the most mature of them, and the one band that can achieve a level of metalship (if I can say so :)) such as bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Accept, and shine brightly as a star on the sky of all-time giants of Heavy Metal music. Being heavy, melodic, creatively original, powerful and aggressive. The one band that stands on top of the so-called "wave of true metal". If you take Hammerfall, the band has gone delivering less interesting albums as time goes by, Rhapsody also had its bad moments with their hate-or-love third album (hate as far as I'm concerned in case you wanted to know ;)). Anyway.. since VGO, Edguy never stopped evolving and delivering new twists and turns, progressing at a scary rate. Remember that Edguy are still young and already have 7 albums to their collection.. what will they be in ten years ? well, you already know my prediction : giants !

If you like Edguy, then you'll love Hellfire Club, if you never digged them, I suggest you start listening to HellFire Club anyway. Edguy is the ultimate mixture of old and mature metal with new, youthful and majestic twists of melody, yet titanically bombastic metal feeling and the right portion of aggression. If you must buy one album this year, and one only, then Hellfire Club looks like the perfect choice. I can't tell you how much I look forward to following the careers of these guys... what they delivered already is so impressive, from Vain glory Opera to HellFire Club (with the Avantasia project, though not to be labeled as Edguy, still it sounds very similar, since Toby write pretty much everything on either Avantasia or Edguy), a decade of pure pleasure and majestic Heavy Metal. Thank you guys for all the smiles, all the shivers, all the neckbreaking and lungs burning sessions. And, the ultimately overwhelming experience of listening to such shining diamonds that your songs are. Truly the number 1 on my 2004 album of the year. This is the album that gives true meaning to the words : buy-or-die.

Killing Songs :
Everyone of them, but my favs are : Down To The Devil, Mysteria, We Don't Need A Hero, The Piper Never Dies, King Of Fools & Under The Moon
Chris quoted 100 / 100
Jay quoted 90 / 100
Aleksie quoted 97 / 100
Ben quoted 100 / 100
Mike quoted 85 / 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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