It’s a quarter of a century since Tobias Sammet unleashed his first child, Edguy, on the metal world, and that fact is comprehensively celebrated with this new Nuclear Blast compilation which delivers something from everything apart from the band’s first ‘official’ release, 1997’s Kingdom of Madness.
Such compilations can be instructive; from the distribution of tracks on this record, Sammet would appear to think that Hellfire Club (2004) is his best work under the Edguy imprint with five tracks featured among the total of twenty eight on show, whilst Kingdom…, with albums like Mandrake (2001), 2000’s The Savage Poetry and Age of the Joker from 2011 seemingly deemed to have not contributed so much to the Edguy canon.
Like all compilations of this type, the selections made are going to be a subject for metalhead discussion. The likes of the epic The Piper Never Dies, or more concise nuggets like King of Fools and Vain Glory Opera are surely nailed-on selections in everybody’s book, but in my opinion there are one or two glaring omissions – Mandrake’s coruscating Nailed to the Wheel for one!
But that’s a discussion for another day. Monuments also contains half a dozen songs that fans won’t have heard – five new, one rescued from the cutting room floor – and all have some merit. Opening track Ravenblack is a fine slab of chugging, melodic power metal, complete with a superb (dare one say Avantasiaesque?) chorus, whilst recently released 7” single Wrestle With the Devil is more lightweight but no less worthy.
Open Sesame is a bit more mundane, riding in on an opening riff you’ll be very familiar with, but the other pair of new tracks, Landmarks and The Mountaineer are both top draw slabs of high octane heavy metal, shot through with Sammet’s trademark ear for melody and enough muscle to keep true rivetheads happy.
The album is rounded out by the previously unreleased Reborn in the Waste, which will cause a smile with its naivety but is hardly essential. It’s ‘previously unreleased’ for a reason…
All good fun, then, and the presence of five new songs probably makes this an essential purchase for Edguy diehards. And if you don’t count yourselves a s one of those, but are wondering whether Edguy are worth some of your time and cash, then this is a great starting point.