Review: Edguy “Tinnitus Sanctus”

Edguy front man Tobias Sammet is apparently a musical workaholic.

Edguy, with frontman Tobias Sammet center

Edguy, with frontman Tobias Sammet center



Almost exactly one year ago, Sammet’s all-star side project Avantasia released “The Scarecrow,” one of the biggest, most bombastic and – in my opinion – one of the best albums of 2008. Now, Sammet says another Avantasia project is in the works and will be released later this year.

But Avantasia is just a side project, and Sammet’s main band Edguy has not been gathering dust – the band is back with “Tinnitus Sanctus,” their first album since “Rocket Ride” 2006.

All I can say is Sammet apparently can do no wrong, because “Tinnitus Sanctus” is another rock powerhouse. It may not be the heaviest metal ever, but in terms of songwriting, this album is stellar.

I was a big fan of “The Scarecrow” and I liked “Rocket Ride” well enough – but I had no idea what to expect when I loaded “Tinnitus Sanctus” into the player. That’s not a knock against Sammet and Edguy exclusively. My tolerance for European power metal is fairly limited – I find it too polished, generally, not raw and dark enough to appeal to my black/death metal sensibilities.

But what “Tinnitus Sanctus” has in its corner is Sammet’s considerable songwriting muscle. And damnit, this guy can write a great freakin’ song.

Sammet is a master at crafting riffs with major hooks and catchy, catchy choruses. Those skills – and his lyrical wit – are put good use on “Tinnitus Sanctus.”

Lyrically, the songs range from the metaphysically thoughtful (“The Pride of Creation”), to raise-your-fist-and-yell (“Dead Or Rock”) to you-broke-my-heart-but-you-can’t-keep-me-down (“Nine Lives”) to the downright horny (“Sex Fire Religion”). The band even takes a twisted stab at country & western with the hilariously skewed and nasty “Aren’t You A Little Pervert, Too.”

The lyrics, however, are only a tiny part of the experience here. The choruses on all of the songs are huge, as in Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” huge.

With “Ministry of Saints,” Sammet is projecting the chorus to the back row of Madison Square Garden and the power chords feel like they’re shaking the walls. Speaking of Queen, the multi-voice opening of “Speedhoven” rings like Freddie Mercury and the boys arranged it themselves. I can usually take Queen or leave it, but the excessive choruses work in Sammet’s favor throughout.

Musically, the songs are very accessible – and I mean that in a good way. There’s  an appeal to “Tinnitus Sanctus” that’s widespread: Newcomers to metal won’t be scared away by the double-bass drums and roaring solos, and metal purists will find enough meat and sneering attitude to keep them happy.

While I enjoyed the entire album, particular standouts include “Ministry of Saints,” “Dead or Rock,” “The Pride of Creation,” “Wake Up “Dreaming Black” the uber-ballad “Thorn Without a Rose” and the operatic “Speedhoven.”

The band’s pretty flawless here, but guitarists Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer and drummer Felix Bohnke deserve special mention here for exemplary work. As for Sammet, he has a dynamic vocal range and can switch from a rasp to an air-raid scream in a heartbeat. The man has talent.

If you’re new to Edguy, “Tinnitus Sanctus” is a excellent way to break the ice. This is a strong, worthy album that will hopefully gain some attention by the time Sammet and the band arrive in the U.S. for their September tour.

But here, decide for yourself with the video for “Ministry of Saints.”


1 Comment

  1. […] To hear full songs, visit Edguy’s MySpacepage. You can also read the Noise Pollution review of “Tinnitus Sanctus” here. […]

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