From the opening moments of “Monuments”, German power metal legends Edguy make it very clear that we are listening to something much more ambitious and meaningful than a “greatest hits” compilation. The two CD package begins with a suite of 5 brand new tracks which are as hard hitting as anything the band has done in the past, if not more so. “Ravenblack” serves as the grand opening here and demonstrates that the band has not decreased in instrumental proficiency or composition prowess in the slightest since their previous release.
Out of the 5 new tracks however the clear standout is “The Mountaineer”, a short and sweet song that should have continued much longer.
Tobias Sammet and Felix Bohnke shine brilliantly here on vocals and drums respectively. The drums providing a driving pulse to lock in with Tobias Exxel’s bassline and the vocals belting a melody line that will remain in your head for days. The icing on the cake however comes in the form of the guitar interplay between Dirk Sauer and Jens Ludwig. All these elements combine to create one of the strongest power metal songs in recent memory.
Once the new tracks reach their end we are treated to over 2 hours of extraordinary music from the band’s back catalogue which they say are the songs they are most proud of. What is clear is how diverse this collection remains sonically whilst being a solid summary of the bands overall signature sound. On the first disc alone we are treated to relentlessly energetic tracks like “929”, “Defenders Of The Crown” and “King Of Fools” right alongside more power ballad-esque cuts such as “Save Me” or “The Piper Never Dies”. Mixed along with all this we get to relive the more comical side of the band with “Lavatory Love Machine” and “Love Tyger”.
Disc 2 is distinguishable by its immediately darker timbre. Opened by none other than fan favourite song “Mysteria”, a blazing beginning to a high-octane disc. Following straight afterwards is the deepest cut to grace the track list of this monumental album; “Vain Glory Opera”. An anthemic track sure to get even the quietest of fans singing along.
Blended on disc 2 are some of the more straightforward tunes the band has put out such as “Rock Of Cashel” and “Holy Water” as well as epic and grandiose numbers like “Babylon” and “The Eternal Wayfarer” which display the band’s foray into progressive metal. The latter of which still holds distinction as being an aural journey through eternity in the lyrical world conjured up by Sammet.
And to finish the two and a half hour revel through incredible music is previously unreleased track “Reborn In The Waste”, which captures the raw sound of the band and reminds us that despite all the musical genius, they are in fact human.
If I had to aim one criticism at the album, it would be that often times I was confused by what order the songs found themselves in. It plays in a loosely chronological order on the disc 1. Then tends to jump around all over the place on disc 2 whilst keeping songs from generally the same time periods lumped together. From what I gathered during my interview with Dirk however, they seem to be content with this track listing and find it justified and proud. The bottom line is that this is nit-picking and it by no means drags down the songs themselves.
Overall, “Monuments” is an incredibly strong release from Edguy and is sure to garner many new fans as well as happily tie over old fans until the gentlemen return to the studio to create another full-length studio album. Multiple elements such as stellar new songwriting, classic pre-existing tracks as well as a perfectly uniform sound (which required minimal remastering according to Sauer) come together to make this album a heart pounding summation of Edguy’s past as well as a dazzling display of why they are still as relevant as ever.