Saturday, September 15, 2012

Edguy - New Age Messiah

Under the Edguy label Tobias Sammet has released nine studio albums, but nine albums is far too few, to contain the entirety of his work. What I think is really amazing is that my favourite Edguy song is one of many that never made it to an album, and if it was not for the compilation album “Singles” I would not own a legal copy of the song. My favourite Edguy song is “New Age Messiah.”

“New Age Messiah” was originally released on the Edguy LP “King of Fools,” which was released in 2004 just prior to the release “Hellfire Club” Edguy’s sixth studio album. While the title track off “King of Fools,” would appear on “Hellfire Club” the other four tracks including “New Age Messiah” only appeared on a bonus disc released on the Hong Kong version.

“New Age Messiah” is fast, heavy and freaking rocks, and while there are many powerful metal songs by Edguy I feel that “New Age Messiah” is the best example of Edguy at their most “metal.” It should probably be noted that one of the key features that makes “New Age Messiah” such a hard rock song is the fast pace set by drummer Felix Bohnke, who is a very talent, seemingly crazy, pretty cool guy. Felix fills in for Eric Singer (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Kiss) on the Avantasia tours since Singer is frequently busy touring with Kiss. More on topic however, Felix is on fire in “New Age Messiah,” the drums makes this song what it is, and is in my opinion Felix’s best work.

In interviews with Tobias Sammet it becomes very clear that Sammet is very humble and a great sense of humour, as he is constantly knocking fun at himself. I have an mp3 of “Under the Moon” that has commentary by Toby and I love the way he describes “Under the Moon,” “it doesn’t really have a message it just has a dangerous charisma I think,” how honest and very cool. More importantly on the same mp3 he makes a subtle slight at himself; when Toby is challenged to sing at an higher octave when performing “Under the Moon” live he retracts an early challenge to play the song “Under the Moon” a step faster whilst performing live, because after all it already sounds good the way it is.

I appreciate wit.

“New Age Messiah” has great lyrics that are both meaningful and fun, and in spite of being a bad ass metal song it also possesses a witty commentary. How many cult leaders has there ever been? Too many to count, and if you start including every religious leader, which you should, then the number of corrupt spiritual manipulators the human race has had to endured is frighteningly high. Lyrically the structure of “New Age Messiah” is savvy; first verse introduces the dubious messiah; second verse is the spread of lies and tightening of control by the corrupt leader; third verse, indulgence and cruelty followed by revolution and restitution. Before ending with the chorus one last time we are treated to a humorous and vulgar variation of the self aggrandizing chorus.

“Countless pointing fingers
A nameless crowd too swollen to analyse
Takes a rise out of the stranger
Don't know where he's come from
Bumfuck raises birds of paradise
They surmise - very wise

One night they witnessed
How he lit his backdoor winds
Fire turned the night into day
And they prayed, fell on their knees
And turned their glances off his face,
They know they've been chosen to obey

Pardon me
Raise a graven image
I'm the new messiah for the world
You can't see the splendor of my nimbus
But I'm the new messiah for the world
For the blind

The word shall spread like wildfire
You got a new messiah holding sway
Delightful game
Don't you give away: I'm no redeemer
But bring me grapes and diamonds right away
And a maid to lay...

One day oblivion will swallow up my fame
The common run of mankind will forget my name
Forget my name
Like a phoenix rising someone else is going to reign
Until then you know that you are to obey, me

Pardon me
Raise a graven image
I'm the new messiah for the world
You can't see the splendor of my nimbus
But I'm the new messiah for the world
I’m the new messiah for the world.

Gluttony and ecstasy, there's velvet on my dais
Lions, ladies, rotaries they never spare with praise
A million pointing fingers
Have turned to clapping hands
Now I'm off to Betty Ford,
See you in hell my friends

Pardon fucking me, who the fucking fuck is Jesus
Motherfucking new messiah
For the fucking world ;)

Pardon me
Raise a graven image
I'm the new messiah for the world
You can't see the splendor of my nimbus
But I'm the new messiah for the world
I’m the new messiah for the blind
For the blind.”

Of course we cannot see the splendor of his heavenly glory, we made the whole damn thing up; it’s funny because it’s true.

Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Edguy - Scarlet Rose

“The scarlet rose has died, lost inside the night.
Left in my mind, like a dream all full of pride.
The scarlet rose has died.”

It feels like I am working backwards when it comes to discovering the German metal/rock scene. The single best thing that happened to music in the past ten years is Avantasia, The Scarecrow Trilogy was possible the three best albums I bought in the past ten years. I really, really like Avanatasia. Through Avantasia I learned about Edguy which came first.

Tobias Sammet is the genius song writer responsible for Avantasia. He brought many of the European metal stars together to form this super group and became a huge success everywhere but here, where I live.

I have at times compared Tobias Sammet to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At first thought, it may seem like I am proposing a zealous compliment to my main man Toby, or perhaps you might suspect I am drawing an unrealistic comparison based on weak links, like both are German, but no, I am quite sincere in this comparison.

Mozart lived fast and died young. He was a prodigy at writing music and in roughly twenty years managed to write a massive amount of music. While Mozart had skill as a technical musician, most notably as a pianist, his greatest skill was that he was a natural song writer.

Tobias Sammet decided at an early age that he wanted to be a singer and he formed his rock band Edguy. After about twenty years Sammet has written ALOT of music, and while he is talented singer and capable guitarist and bass player his true skill is that of a song writer.

Mozart wrote his first his opera “Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots” (The Obligation of the First and Foremost Commandment) at age eleven; Sammet started Edguy at age fifteen and released their first demo “Evil Minded” two years later.

After roughly two decades Mozart had written twenty-three operas, and a huge catalogue of concertos, symphonies, and sonatas that in my ignorance I am not even sure how to quantify; Sammet after roughly two decades has released nine studio albums with Edguy, five studio albums with Avanatasia, and so many demo tracks and singles that he could easily release two more full albums of Edguy material and at least one more for Avantasia. In fact the album “Avantasia Lost in Space 1 & 2” is exactly what I am describing.

Obviously comparing anyone to Mozart sounds like blasphemy, but you can probably see my point. Both men have a knack for written great music at insane speeds, and Sammet in this regard could be considered a modern rock and roll version of Mozart.

Edguy really found their footing in 1998 with their release of their second album “Vain Glory Opera.” Sammet would have been twenty one at the time.

“Vain Glory Opera,” is a great album. It was a bold move by a young man in a young band to release a operatic endeavour so early on in his career, but it worked, and if I had known about it back in 1998 I would have been able to see the seeds of style and ability that could grow into works of art like the “Scarecrow Trilogy.” Compared to the other eight albums, or at least compared to the other four albums I own, by Edguy, “Vain Glory Opera” is what it calls itself, an opera. The songs flow from one to another organically, there is a feeling of an overarching narrative, the ebbs and flows of the songs carry us through climaxes and powerful moments and all in all it feels like a one solid piece of music, not just a collection of songs. No other Edguy album has that, but all five Avantasia albums do. Since I am working backwards discovering bands like Edguy it makes sense that “Vain Glory Opera,” would be the first Edguy album I would fall in love with, it is the most like an Avantasia album.

While I do love the entire album “Vain Glory Opera” if I was pressed to pick a favourite track it would have to be “Scarlet Rose,” an operatic song as a rock song can be. “Scarlet Rose” is an emotional song about love and loss with a touch of mysticism in to make it all the more dramatic. The way Tobias sings “Scarlet Rose” and knowing his love of fantastic themed story telling it feels to me that the scarlet rose dying is not just a lost love one but a loss of a great symbol of love. Almost like love itself has passed away. It is a softer metal song to be sure but a very poetic and powerful one.

Until later this month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly