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Monday, July 31, 2017

1015. Edguy / Monuments. 2017. 4/5

Given the enormous amount of jumping between his two major projects that goes on, one wonders when Tobi Sammet has time to sit back and take a collective look at life itself. To be honest, does he start to spread himself a little thin? My argument for some time is that it is almost impossible to push yourself so hard between your day band – Edguy – and your guilty pleasure – Avantasia – and not spread yourself or your material a little thin. Thus, and I may be alone in this thinking, I believe that the past couple of Edguy albums have suffered from the fact that the best of Tobi’s creative juices have been flowing into Avantasia material rather than Edguy songs. Whether or not that is the case, when it came time to put together this album together to celebrate 25 years of Edguy’s existence, I think maybe it could be held as a reminder as to the power of some the earlier material of the band compared to the latter day songs.

So here is Monuments, the five disc and 160 page book collated from their entire career, consisting of two CDs which constitutes a greatest hits package, a DVD of a live performance from the Hellfire Club tour as well as other video clips, and two CDs of that live performance. It is a ripping collection, one that all fans of the band will love. As a true standing of ‘greatest hits’… well, everyone will have a different opinion on what that consists of.
The five new songs start off the collection, and I think they are great. In fact, comparing those five songs - “Ravenback”, “Wrestle the Devil”, “Open Sesame”, “Landmarks” and “The Mountaineer” – to the next three songs on the album, “9-2-9” from Tinnitus Sanctus, “Defenders of the Crown” from Space Police: Defenders of the Crown and “Save Me” from Rocket Ride, and I think you have a fair comparison to what I was saying earlier about the Edguy/Avantasia conundrum. The new songs have that sparkle back, whereas the three songs from those three albums (albums which I wholly admit didn’t tickle my fancy) seems to be missing vital elements. Good news for the new songs, and perhaps some justification for my feelings otherwise.
The other choices for the remainder of the first CD though are top shelf. Anything from Hellfire Club gets top votes from me, and the addition of “Ministry of Saints” and the masterful “Tears of a Mandrake” makes for fantastic listening. The second CD opens with the wonderful “Mysteria” and “Vain Glory Opera”, and then mixes in some older stuff, some less well known stuff and a bit more of the latter day material as well. That they managed to find a place for one song off Age of the Joker, the average “Rock of Cashel”, was surely more for appearances than for being a truly ‘great’ hit. Honestly, how a song like “We Don’t Need a Hero” doesn’t make the collection in front of at least half of these tracks is beyond me. But that comes back again to an individual’s taste.

Fans like me already have all of the albums, so buying this comes down to the five new unreleased songs (worth it), and the live CDs and DVD (worth it). 25 years is a fair journey for this band to have gone on. It has been a fun journey at that. The good news is that I don’t think the journey is over yet.

Rating:   "Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the freak show!"  4/5
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