Edguy

Tinnitus Sanctus

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Never ones to take themselves too seriously, German melodic power metal stalwarts Edguy (hello, they are called Edguy, not Glory Storm, or some such nonsense) immediately dispel the none-more-gray cover art sobriety of their eighth studio album -- featuring an agonizing marble Jesus -- with the tongue-in-cheek title Tinnitus Sanctus. This upbeat stance may rub a few, humorless metal fans the wrong way, of course, but it's served Edguy particularly well in a crowded scene, jam-packed with surly Germans, too swept up in their own sub-Tolkien mythology and sub-Iron Maiden songwriting to write a clever lyric now and then. Edguy, on the other hand, rarely lack for clever lyrics, and, as it turns out, Tinnitus Sanctus is named that way because a number of its songs reflect the band's tragic-comic thoughts on religion, and none more so than its opening, two-punch combination of "Ministry of Saints" and "Sex Fire Religion." Musically, the band continues to avoid excessive displays of macho, thrash-fueled velocity, and therefore neatly avoid the repetition that tends to come with it -- heck, even the late-album roadrunner, "Speedhoven," is half fast, half slow. Rather, they generally embrace a more accessible, mid-paced heavy rock style partial to chorused vocals, perfect for would-be singles like "Nine Lives," the Winger-like "Thorn Without a Rose," and the amusing Frankenstein tale, "The Pride of Creation," which is sort of like "The Gospel According to Spinal Tap", except listeners will be laughing with the band instead of at them. Another track worth noting, in this regard, is the album standout, "Dragonfly," which somehow matches unusually straight-faced lyrical imagery to instrumental high drama on par with Finland's Nightwish (minus the operatic soprano, of course), all while paying an aesthetic homage to Krokus. Yes, Krokus! Unfortunately, a few routine days-at-the-quarry like "9-2-9," "Dead or Rock," and "Wake Up Dreaming Black" (featuring a repetitively Maiden-esque chorus) drag the rest of the album down to earth, somewhat, but there's still little chance that devoted Edguy fans will come away disappointed from Tinnitus Sanctus...a little hard of hearing, perhaps, but disappointed, no.

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