Sound — 9
Age Of The Joker is the latest Edguy album, released in August 2011. Although Edguy are classified as power metal band, this album is much more than standard power metal: there are classic rock riffs, Celtic melodies, country guitars, progressive atmospheres, and so on. All choruses are very catchy and easy to remember, but Age Of The Joker is still a very diverse album, maybe even a bit experimental. Overall, the style follows the previous albums Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus, and is far away from the first releases such as Theater Of Salvation. Another great thing about the album is the production, extremely dynamic yet detailed, without much compression. Definitely a natural and "live" sound compared to most modern albums: Age Of The Joker can't compete with the loudness war. I also like the Hammond organ (real, not a keyboard) used in many songs.
Lyrics — 8
As always, Edguy talk about everything: from legendary characters (Robin Hood) to social problems (Nobody's Hero), from religion and faith (Behind The Gates To Midnight World) to how bad is the music business nowadays (Two Out Of Seven), and so on. The band itself always said that most Edguy songs are meant to be jokes and shouldn't be taken too seriously. The singer Tobias Sammet did a great job, but his singing style changed a lot in the past years. No high pitched power metal screams: Tobias is now more like an hard rock singer, and he does it very well.
Overall Impression — 8
Age Of The Joker is probably one of the best Edguy albums, if not the best. As pointed before, it's more similar to Rocket Ride and Tinnitus Sanctus than early albums, but it has some complex songs with a lot of surprises. Right now, my personal favorite is the medieval-sounding Rock Of Cashel, with an amazing "Irish" bridge, followed by Behind The Gates To Midnight World, an epic 8 minutes track with progressive elements and obscure riffs a la Black Sabbath. I like almost everything about the album and there's really nothing wrong: the production is excellent and there are no filler songs: everyone of them is a potential hit. My least favorite is Faces In The Darkness, but it's still a good song with great riffs. If the album were stolen or lost I wouldn't buy it again simply because I ripped all songs on my computer.