Edguy - Mandrake 4/5

Reviewed: 12-30-05


1. Tears of a mandrake
2. Golden dawn
3. Jerusalem
4. All the clowns
5. Nailed to the wheel
6. The pharaoh
7. Wash away the poison
8. Fallen angels
9. Painting on the wall
10. Save us now
11. The devil & the savant (bonus track)

'Mandrake' is officially the follow–up to the Edguy's brilliant 'Theater of salvation'. The band has been busy in the time between CDs, however, by re–recording their debut 'The savage poetry' and with band–leader and songwriter Tobias Sammet recording his Avantasia 'The metal opera'. 'Mandrake' is an excellent CD, but, not surprisingly, doesn't make it to the level of 'Theater of salvation'. As usual, the performance of the band and Sammet's vocals are excellent. Sammet continues to mature into a Bruce Dickinson style vocalist.

'Mandrake' actually is more similar in style to Avantasia than to 'Theater of salvation'. Whereas 'Theater of salvation' was a full–on metal fest from start to finish (with 2 ballads in the middle), 'Mandrake' uses more musical styles. There are, of course, the classic Edguy sounding tracks like "Tears of a mandrake", "Golden dawn", "All the clowns", and "Painting on the wall". Around those tracks, though, there are some surprises. "Jerusalem" is a midtempo track and "Nailed to the wheel" is, perhaps, the heaviest track Edguy has done to date. The centerpiece track is the 10 minute "The pharaoh", which gives Sammet room to explore his songwriting a little deeper than usual. Of special note are the horrible lyrics to the closing track, "Save us now". Evidently, this is some kind of inside joke, but the references to the "high–speed alien drum bunny" ruin an otherwise fine song.

'Mandrake' is an excellent CD. Unlike its predecessor, however, it ends on a down note with 2 of the last 3 tracks (the excellent "Painting on the wall" being the exception) being somewhat weak. It is not surprising that the band was not able to make another 'Theatrer of salvation', but this is still a very highly recommended CD. The only concerns are that Sammet has done so much songwriting between Edguy and Avantasia that he might start to run a little dry. Also, it would be a shame if the carefree lyrics to “Save us now” became more common on Edguy CDs. Those criticisms aside, this is still a very strong CD.




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