Edguy - Mandrake

Year of Release: 2001
Label: AFM Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 64:25:00

If a band can lay claim to the title New Wave of German Power Metal - then Edguy is it. And Mandrake is album number five for these five young Germans. Embraced by many, Edguy have that friendly, easy to listen to power metal that is popular with both new and old fans. Old fans compare it to early-era Helloween whilst new fans, well, they compare them to Helloween, too! There's just no denying it.

Mandrake, surprisingly, is a miniature departure for Edguy. I feared that Tobias Sammet (v) would continue with his anthemic, symphonic stature that was Theater Of Salvation, the re-worked The Savage Poetry, and ultimately, Avantasia - The Metal Opera. Mandrake is melodic, yes, but not as symphonic - and this should be seen as a progression for the band who could have easily of put something together which was loud, symphonic, and epic - just like the three albums just mentioned above. Instead, the band have concentrated on diversifying their sound.

Tobias really mixes up his vocals on this album from his "normal" singing voice to sampled/produced vocals, to the aggressive parts, and the Kiske inspired ear-splitters. The rest of the band are generally left to explore a different side of Edguy - all positive I might add with special mention of the ever growing Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer. The guitars appear rougher, more aggressive, and less sweeping. An example of how they use both is in the track "Fallen Angels." Whilst Felix Bohnke (d) has his revenge in "Save Us Now" (just read the lyrics to this piece). Tobias wrote this as a joke about Felix but they put it on the album.

By far, the most intense track they've done is the ever-changing "Nailed To Whe Wheel" - it's got the lot including a soft intro with acoustic guitars which then kick into [gear, giving] a Judas Priest feel to it - both band and vocalist are right into this song. One ten minute "epic" track is "The Pharaoh," which has, not surprisingly, a very Egyptian feel to it. It is a very groove-oriented song with a majestic chorus. It is in this track where they multi-layer the vocals ala "Land Of The Miracle" or any epic Savatage number. It doesn't seem like a lengthy track due to the ambient, almost casual, nature of the song and is similar to the over-to-soon 7-minute opener "Tears Of The Mandrake." A couple of tracks that are typically more standard are "All The Clowns" and "Painting On The Wall." Whilst catchy and melodic, they kind of seem removed from the other tracks on the album. A ballad in the form of "Wash Away The Poison" does not have that epic feel that previous Edguy ballads. The bonus track "The Devil And The Savant" is simple stunning for a bonus track, mainly due to it's catchy chorus.

I am very pleased with this album. Pleased that they haven't necessarily followed a set formulae. For new fans, you're going to love every minute of it. For the older fans though, there's enough new sounds here that you won't put it down that easily.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Tears Of A Mandrake / Golden Dawn / Jerusalem / All The Clowns / Nailed To The Wheel / The Pharaoh / Wash Away The Poison / Fallen Angels / Painting On The Wall / Save Us Now / Bonus Track: The Devil & The Savant

Tobias Sammet - vocals
Jens Ludwig - guitars
Dirk Sauer - guitars
Felix Bohnke - drums

Savage Poetry (1995/2000)
Kingdom Of Madness (1997)
Vain Glory Opera (1998)
Theater of Salvation (1999)
Mandrake (2001)
Burning Down The Opera - Live (2003)
King Of Fools (ep) (2004)
Hellfire Club (2004)
Hall Of Flames (2004)
Superheroes (ep) (2005)
Rocket Ride (2006)

Superheroes - Heroic DVD (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.edguy.net
Hits: 1155
Language: english


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