Review by Joshua on February 14, 2005.
Power metal, as a genre, would be outstanding if bands would do two things differently. For example, eliminate harmonized choruses and quit relying on clumsily integrated orchestration. As for Edguy, they’re halfway there, and they’ve produced an excellent musical composition. But this is still pretty hard to digest without some reservations.
Hellfire Club shows a great deal of maturity and breadth in the compositions, particularly compared to keyboard-driven lightweights such as Rhapsody. Their songs are remarkably catchy, reminding me of fellow Germans, Grave Digger, though the songs sound closer to Blind Guardian. Tempo changes are seamless and the production is crystal clear – remarkable for power metal. The songs manage to create a fantasy atmosphere without the bombast and pretension of Therion and older Nightwish.
Despite all that, most people probably won’t like this album.
Edguy have all the elements needed to write meaningful, interesting, power metal, but they’re mediocre at combining them. A CD can have all the maturity on earth, but if the songs have a superficial, tremulous sound, the end product will be forgettable. A song can be memorable and catchy, but the moment one introduces harmonized choruses of men who speak English poorly, songs are transformed from anthems to comical cheese. Orchestrated, layered keyboards don’t add to the atmosphere of any album when they’re poorly integrated; worse when they’re produced so far into the foreground that they overshadow guitars. That crystal clear production can work wonders for a band’s sound, but when the sound already runs thin and weak, it’ll worsen everything, the end result mixes guitars and keyboards identically to Genesis.
This is not a bad CD. The musicianship is excellent and some songs are superb, but it lags in atmosphere considerably. If Edguy intend to write guitar-driven songs, with Accept and Judas Priest for influences, they need to produce their albums to obviously sound a lot more guitar driven. The verdict is simple – this would be a great CD if it were totally remixed. As it stands now, lousy mixing and harmonized choruses place this one just above average.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 6.2 out of 10