Space Police: Defenders of the Crown is my first album from EDGUY. There’s really no rhyme or reason behind that, just stating a fact. They just weren’t a band I would go out of my way to listen to. So when the album showed up in my mailbox courtesy of the good folks over at Nuclear Blast Records I figured I’d give ‘em a whirl. And what’s nice about that is I have nothing to compare it to, so my opinion isn’t based on what they once were or which albums were their career-defining ones, etc. The band is interesting to say the least, with a healthy dose of cock-rock swagger alongside some power metal chops. Lead singer/keyboardist Tobias Sammet has the requisite 80’s high voice, sounding at times like TNT’S Tony Harnell, though nowhere near as awesome. Still…hard to deny the similarities, especially the more I listened.
Opener “Sabre & Torch” is probably the closest thing to power metal on this disc, and the multi-layered lush harmonies give it that arena-ready feel. It would certainly make for a great way to start a live show. The title track is more mid-tempo with keys squarely at the forefront. It’s a very good song, but at six minutes it’s a tad long. The same goes for “Defenders of the Crown”, another great song, but with a running time of 5:40 it gets a little repetitive. These kinds of catchy ditties are better left at four minutes or less. Then, along comes “Love Tyger”, easily the catchiest tune of 2014 so far! Oh man, I’ve been singing this one for days on end. From the textbook 80’s hair metal riff to Sammet’s vocal delivery this one is just too much fun and made me feel like 15-year old me again!
So I was feeling pretty good about this EDGUY band and when I got to “The Realms of Baba Yaga” I was feeling even BETTER! This may just be my favorite behind “Tyger”. The driving riffs and overall heavy groove really propel this one near the top of these tracks. I wasn’t so sure that a cover of “Rock Me Amadeus” was necessary, but the band manages to stay faithful to the old hit while adding their own heaviness, so I’m OK with it. The silly title of “Do Me Like a Caveman” belies a song that is catchy yet restrained at the same time. Sammet’s vocals are more subdued here which gives the listener a bit of a break from the over-the-top feel of most of the record. And the solo is definitely my favorite due to its simplicity.
“Shadow Eaters” is one of the more fiery and raspy songs and all of a sudden around the 3:50 mark it loses all momentum and disappears for about a minute before regaining its footing with another blistering solo. As good as this one is it didn’t need to be six minutes and change. A very atypical quasi-ballad comes next in the form of “Alone In Myself” and the keyboards add just the right touch of wistfulness and longing. And of course, just to make sure they have me, what do they do? End things with an epic that clocks in at 8:50 called “The Eternal Wayfarer”. A mix of melodic rock and AOR, it’s a great closer on a great album. Other than one or two tracks going a bit too long, my first EDGUY experience was a fun one, and it’s safe to say I’ll be back for more. Space Police is available everywhere now.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Love Tyger”, “The Realms of Baba Yaga”, “Sabre & Torch”, “Do Me Like a Caveman”, “The Eternal Wayfarer”