Edguy - Mandrake
The German youngsters in Edguy with frontman Tobias Sammet are back in the game. I must admit that I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary with Mandrake since Tobias Sammet's solo-project and album Avantasia was released just some 8 months earlier (2001-01-22). But man was I mistaken. Tobias Sammet must really be recognized as a great natural talented man at making melodic power metal. And considering his young age one wonders where this will end. Hence, this means that Edguy has continued to evolve and has signed, sealed and delivered a great album.
Not all of the tracks on Mandrake are fast ones but that doesn't matter much. Every song is very melodic and even the more mid-tempo tracks like Tears of a Mandrake and The Pharaoh with their epic style just blow you away and that goes for all the tracks except the ballad Wash away the Poison. This means though, that we once again have to deal with the almost constantly present issue: Metal and ballads. Some bands get away with it and some don't. According to me Edguy ends up somewhere in between.
Regarding the production there's nothing much to say really. It's as perfect as it can get but I personally think it perhaps sounds a bit too "nice". A more pounding guitar sound wouldn't hurt. On Nailed to the Wheel they've proven that they can and extremely well too, so please guys, more of this in the future and even a hard to please guy like me will be (almost) completely satisfied. This minor issue and the ballad make the grade less than a full 10, but enough of that already.
Mandrake is just brimming with outstanding melodies in verses, intros and interludes. All the instruments, the vocals and some very solemn choirs co-operate in perfect harmony. Mandrake is everything you can expect from a power metal album and more and one of the best releases in the genre of the year 2001. It's by far the best Edguy release yet and fans will love it for sure. I'm definitely one of those. The chorus in Tears of a Mandrake goes "After the storm, when magic has gone..." but trust me here - the magic isn't gone one single bit. It's back with a vengeance and "resistance is futile"!