Edguy - Hellfire Club
Here we go again! Edguy with frontman/songwriter/brainchild Tobias Sammet return more lethal than ever with their sixth output and another major metal event of the year take place. This time there was no Avantasia project occupying Sammet's mind so the focus has been solely and exclusively on Hellfire Club. And I must say that although I quite appreciated Mandrake, this was the release I hoped the band would deliver already back then. Because Hellfire Club sees Edguy transforming into a substantially much heavier, rougher, absolutely more forceful and more aggressive constellation without losing the unique "Sammet-esque" type of song-writing and the melodic trademarks of the band and the final results are ultimately more impressive than any previous band issue. Hellfire Club also marks another kind of beginning for Edguy since they've parted ways with AFM Records and instead signed with notorious Nuclear Blast and H C is the first out in that new deal.
The new numbers on Hellfire Club are as aforementioned as usual very Edguy-sounding, which means simple in structure and formula and of course catchy as hell and brimming with sing-along spirit. The choruses are as pompous as you can expect, the vocal performance by Tobias is the absolute best he's ever delivered, the riffing by Sauer and Ludwig is groovy, heavy and fast, the solos are lush and fuller than ever. It's instantly very noticeable that even though this band still is considered quite a young one, they've gained so much more maturity over the years and feel like a very tight metal act in as good as total accord. On an article here by Tommy on our page the question of who will be the next grand ol' men in the future metal scene is debated and I think that this album without a doubt nominates Tobias Sammet as one of those very much capable of reaching such an epithet.
However, the extremely enjoyable Hellfire Club affair kick-starts with the blending opener Mysteria which originally also was the working title of the album. This is a very traditional Edguy song featuring a great introductory riff, an overall quite hard and fast pace and immediately sets the tone of the album. The following The Piper Never Dies (their best outing ever?!?) is the epic song of the album, clocking in on more than 10 minutes. Here Edguy have managed to bridge between classic 70's hard rock in the veins of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Uriah Heep and a more modern metal packaged nicely in the Edguy metal conception. The absolute highlight of this track (and the album too) is for me the very Iron Maiden inspired final minutes where the tempo is increases and holds you in its grip to the end.
Then the pedal is once again slamming to the floor with We Don't Need a Hero, once again a very typical fast-driven Edguy number The following two outings slow down to a more mid-tempo heavy grooving with Down to the Devil and the brilliant single King of Fools. Among the rest of the material there are also two ballads, whereof Forever is the classic cheesy rock-ballad and The Spirit Will Remain the acoustic one that features a very pronounced Celtic feeling all over and could easily have made it to the Braveheart movie soundtrack. The remaining tracks not mentioned I leave totally up to you to discover for yourselves. The final thing about the song-material is that some of it also compiles the support of the German Babelsberg Film Orchestra and the outbursts of that of course add even more fuel to the raging perfection fire.
Lyrically the album deals with quite different topics that range between events in everyday life, mysticism and spirituality plus in one sole case, a quite hilarious, crazy and humorous written number. The lyrics also reflect the sound as they have a partly darker feeling over them than on previous Edguy editions and thus the words/music interaction captures and provides great atmosphere to the album.
Production-wise I think it's more than enough to feed you the information that it's been executed by Sasha Paeth and that the mixing and mastering are performed by the "finnvincible" duo Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila at the by now in metal circuits world famous Finnvox Studio in Helsinki. The efforts from these three full blood professional studio-icons of course reach a grade close to utter masterpiece class and raise the enjoyment level considerably!
So at the end of it all Hellfire Club must virtually be considered to be the album these guys have been realistically capable of delivering but until now haven't and it would be a shame of titanic proportions if you were to miss out on. This is an output that definitely stands as the absolute highlight of the band's career and tops even their brilliant Vain Glory Opera. This newest contribution from Sammet and associates is simply one hell of a remarkable slab of melodic metal that immediately goes for the jugular. So no matter if you're a long-time fan or just a general metalhead you shouldn't delay no longer - get a full membership in Edguy's Hellfire Club and reap all the benefits!