Sound — 6
Edguy's early material (Vain Glory Opera, Mandrake) had more in common with the power-metal strains of bands like Helloween and Blind Guardian than the hard-rock informed sound of their most recent efforts. This week sees the release of Tinnitus Sanctus which finds the German act honing in even more on their vocal and guitar hooks than ever before. Dirk Sauer's rhythm guitar work is simple and chunky in tone and he compliments Jens Ludwig's 80's flavored leads nicely. Tobias Sammet's has streamlined his songwriting even further than he did on their last release, Rocket Ride. The purists who cried out sell out last time have plenty to be angry about this time out as well. Songs like Dead Or Rock could have been lifted from a Ratt record and I'm not even half-kidding here folks! That said if you can get down with a little sleaze-n-roll, the riffs and big chorus delivers big. Where Tinnitus Sanctus falters are the plodding, mid-tempo songs. Dragonfly never gets off the ground and Sex Fire Religion misses the mark completely. The closing number, Aren't You A Little Pervert Too?! is just as bad as it's title suggests so no need to talk about that one either.
Lyrics — 7
Tobias Sammet's powerhouse vocal ability is definitely Edguy's strongest attribute and his turns in another world-class performance here. He showcases the more subtle, softer side of his voice on the power-ballad Thorn Without A Rose proving the band could have another European radio hit on their hands. He also holds back on during the verses of the anthemic 9-2-9 and then tears into the huge chorus with the might of vintage Klaus Meine (Scorpions). Another singer Sammet reminds us of is the great former Royal Hunt frontman John West with a lethal balance of soulful grit and metal bite in his style. One doesn't pick up an Edguy album for its lyrical weight and Tinnitus Sanctus is not going to change that perception. Lines like I been granted admission/angel in your temple of love, are the kind of lyrics that often give heavy metal a bad name. But with Sammet's veteran-like skill pushing them through, it's a bit easier to let the weakness of wordplay slide.
Overall Impression — 6
Even though Edguy is undoubtedly Sammet's ship, that doesn't mean Ludwig and Sauer don't turn in blistering performances. The six-stringers play off the vocal melodies never getting in the way of the gigantic hooks instead becoming part of them at times. There aren't many big solo spots on the album but whenever Ludwig takes one; his runs are fluid, tasteful, and always memorable. Producer Sascha Paeth (Rhapsody of Fire, Angra) bookends the songs in a mix that could use more bottom end. It's a shame because Tobias Exxel (bass) and Felix Bohnke (drums) are a rhythm section that can more than hold their own as evidenced in live footage posted on YouTube. We can't tell you how many times newer metal records suffer from a lack of a bass guitar presence on the releases we cover. What does it take for these producers and/or bands to recognize the importance of having bottom in the mix? All in all, Tinnitus Sanctus is a formidable release from this German quintet but we'd be lying if we didn't say we were hoping for a lot more from the obvious talent this band possesses.