Edguy

Burning Down the Opera Live

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Like virtually every band of their ilk, Germany's curiously named Edguy clearly view Iron Maiden's Live After Death as the archetypal heavy metal concert album. And since Edguy clearly wants to be Iron Maiden even more than most of their peers, it was only natural that their first live opus, 2003's Burning down the Opera, would follow their heroes' blueprint -- double-disc set; ample liner notes; a technical sheet; and a gazillion photos -- down to the last letter. Recorded during 2001-2002, this tour saw these symphonic metal prodigies (still barely entering their twenties despite having five studio albums already in the can) conquering territories as distant as Australia and Brazil. Burning down the Opera judiciously visits every stage of Edguy's prolific career. Anal-retentive fans of the band's anal-retentive precision-metal will no doubt be thrilled by the grandiose fantasy anthems ("Fallen Angels," and "Babylon"); analytical progressive workouts ("Tears of a Mandrake," and "The Pharaoh"); the occasional power ballad ("Land of Miracle"); and all-around magnificent musicianship throughout; listeners probably won't even notice (or care about) the noticeably studio-enhanced audience participation portions of the program. While we're on the subject, vocalist Tobias Sammet manages to out-cheese Bruce Dickinson with his energetic, yet irritating, stage presence, which includes leading his troops through the namesake track of his outrageous operatic side-project Avantasia. But then, these qualities are exactly what serious Edguy fans would wish for in a live album.

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