Silliest album cover of 2006? Maybe, but there’s a good reason for it. You see, the German metal machine kind of caught everyone by surprise with this release, by abandoning some of its much associated power metal sound in favour of a more hard rock-oriented feel. The ending result turned out to be an album that not all fans could embrace the same way as “Hellfire Club” or “Vain Glory Opera” – even if they wanted to.

If you don’t know about this Fulda-based band then you’ve only got yourself to blame. Edguy is one of the most established artists in the whole power metal scene, and not surprisingly also one of my favourite bands in this part of the metal universe. This means that I’ve very high expectations on anything wearing the Edguy label, and for many years now I’ve only been disappointed once by Tobias Sammet and his gang. Curious about this 2006′s album “Rocket Ride”? Feel free to continue reading.

“Sacrifice” is the longest song on the album (not by far, though) at just over eight minutes and it turns out to be – not surprisingly – the most detailed track of them all with lots of interesting and imaginative parts. It begins very softly with piano playing setting the initial mood before it escalates into a rousing guitar driven tempest, almost in the blink of an eye. When the guitar action has settled down it’s time for Edguy mastermind Tobias Sammet to make his vocal entrance. He can, when the song quality decreases, give a bit of a bland impression, but for most of the time he sounds superb and I know that a lot of people agree with me on this, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. By the way, carrying out a song like this in a live setting wouldn’t be the easiest of tasks, but I’m sure that Edguy would do more than well.

Back to the tune in question. Parts of the song are definitely surrounded by a certain mysticism, but that’s not all “Sacrifice” has to offer. No, it alternates (in a masterful way) between being emotional, powerful and being compelling and almost epic sounding at times. My conclusion: one of the highlights of the release without being one of the finest tracks from the Edguy catalogue. Any questions?

“Rocket Ride” is on contrary to its predesessor not one of the album’s highlights. It’s a lot more basic and more to the point than “Sacrifice”, making it an easy target for the reptile part of our brain to like, so to speak. The main riff supplies the song with a certain amount of power, but what one must not forget about is that a song is build out of many parts, each part playing a significant role for the final result. Here comes metaphor of the week: you can see a song like an airplane, all the parts need to be working together in order for the plane to fly. In this case the plane doesn’t actually crash, but nor does it fly very high either – by Edguy standards. I guess one could say that it doesn’t come out as richly as I want it to, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like it. I think it’s a very good track, but it pales in comparison to the best “Rocket Ride” has to offer. Enough said.

“Wasted Time” is another highlight with an suggestive opening. Some acoustic guitar playing is brought in here to relieve the heaviness. The song itself is quite long, thirteen seconds from being six minutes but not a single second is wasted here as time (I know…) is taken care of. Take the chorus for example. How often do you hear such a powerful and cool chorus? Not very often I’d say. This is very steadfast stuff. The remaining song is excellent as well, but the chorus is the biggest attraction. I think I can say that without being arrested. Almost forgot, I really dig the echo effect on the vocals as well.

“Matrix” (of the best movies of the late 90′s) convinces with its superb rhythm section, interesting effects of the more futuristic kind and – once again – a very strong chorus. I haven’t bothered finding out exactly what the lyrics are meant to convey, but the song itself is what really matters and trust me when I say it keeps you constantly hooked. Solid stuff, in other words.

“Return Of The Tribe” is one of the more speedier numbers to be found, being quite reminiscent of 2001′s “Fallen Angels”, from Edguy’s finest hour to date – “Mandrake”, and that’s what bugs me. The song sounds surprisingly flat, for being an Edguy song of typical proportions. The chorus is a good listen, although it doesn’t stand out as much as that of “Fallen Angels”. The rest of the song constitutes no threat to anyone.

“The Asylum” is a pretty darn cool song title, I think. The newly adopted hard rock sound can be heard clearly here. The music alternates between being soft and fairly packed with power. My verdict? Good without being impressive. The arragements are pretty great, but there is something that prevents the song from reaching the desired destination, and I can’t seem to pin point the source of the problem. Damn.

“Save Me” has grown on me significantly since I heard it the first time. At first it seemed to be pretty poor and medicore, but as time passed by I came to realize that it actually is a great power ballad, with an awesome pulsating melody. It isn’t exactly a new “Scarlet Rose” (one of my favourite ballads of all time) so to speak, but there’s still something about it that makes me want to listen to it every now and then. In fact, it’s not completely unlike “Blessing In Disguise” (from the “Superheroes” EP, you know?) in terms of style, mood and quality despite the fact that the intro isn’t very Edguy-ish at all. Conclusion? Well, not particularly beautiful, I’d say, but still a solid and essential (the only ballad to be found on the CD) part of the album. But like I said: not the greatest ballad achievement of Edguy. Let’s move on.

“Catch Of The Century” is a funny song equipped with lyrics about Tobias himself being – yes, that’s right – the catch of the century. Only one of many humoristic elements available on this disc. The chorus is kind of pompous chorus but the song lacks some really memorable guitar work. Still four minutes and two seconds of catchy Edguy music though.

“Out Of Vogue” is more than decent, I guess, but nothing to write home about. This is where the band speeds things up a bit again, resulting in a pretty good (not great) power metal tune. There is overall much stronger riffs and melodies here than in “Return Of The Tribe”, the opening riff in particular is full of attitude. What else is there to say? Not very much. Yeah, the song structure is quite simple, but that’s not my main concern.

“Superheroes” is a song all Edguy fans should be already familiar with. Talk about a hooky opening! This is the shortest song of them all, and what an amazing piece of work it is. Granted, the title is silly but sometimes there is more than meets the eye, you know? This is a prime example of such thing. Beneath the title lurks a track with enough qualities to make it a future Edguy classic. Just listen to the way it builds up the tension before exploding into the delightful chorus, perfectly complemented by solid piano playing. Downright memorable! One of the better songs of 2006.

“Trinidad” leaves me puzzled. I have no idea what triggered these guys to write, record and release a song like this. Not bad – but kind of inappropriate. Next!

“Fucking With Fire (Hair Force One)” is yet another humoristic expression buried under an song title that doesn’t speak to me at all. The music here is sheer hard rock and we all know what that means by now. Nothing fancy and nothing special.

That’s it, dear readers. The end of the line of “Rocket Ride”. Time for a summary?

This album basically sees the band paying tribute to its own musical heroes, by adapting a reasonable hard rock attitude that can’t be mistaken. Although this very release pretty much came out of the blue, it is only natural for bands that have been doing their thing for many years to keep pushing the boundaries and expanding the horizons of their music, and finding new ways of expressing themselves.

Whereas the band has lived up to its reputation or not is up to each and everyone to decide. Personally, I really enjoy this disc yet I have a hard time seeing how “Rocket Ride” will be the album that people will remember Edguy for crafting. Still, an entertaining piece of music nonetheless.

Peter Eliasson

TRACKLIST
01. Sacrifice
02. Rocket Ride
03. Wasted Time
04. Matrix
05. Return To The Tribe
06. The Asylum
07. Save Me
08. Catch Of The Century
09. Out Of Vouge
10. Superheroes
11. Trinidad
 12. Fucking With Fire (Hair Force One)

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