This review may be a little premature but I've been listening to this album non-stop since I got it, so I'm already becoming very familar with the songs.
Edguy have been a band of much discussion. 2004's "Hellfire Club" saw them reach a much larger stage of popularity which has only been growing since. However, 2006's "Rocket Ride" let a lot of older fans down by it's more light-hearted, hard-rock direction. Tobias Sammet himself mentioned many things in regards to their brand new album, Tinnitus Sanctus, namely that it would be "less goofy" than Rocket Ride. I had a lot of hopes and fears going into this, figuring it may have been the stamp of death on one of my previously favorite bands.
So, things get started with "Ministry of Saints", which should please just about any and all fans of the last 3 Edguy albums. The song is heavy, ballsy, and has a helluva catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head and force you to sing along. It's not particularly power metal, but it certainly embodies the more serious approach Tobias Sammet mentioned. In a way this song is very remiscent to the better moments of the most recent Avantasia album, "The Scarecrow". "Sex Fire Religion" is without a doubt my least favorite song to be found on this album. The song isn't a joke as the title would suggest, in fact it is quite non-jokey by nature. However it is also quite non-good by nature. There's just not a ton of good stuff going on. The chorus tries to save the song by being more catchy and powerful, but it's to no avail. The solo is pretty nice though. Ah yes, "The Pride of Creation". Now THIS is what I'm talking about! Remember the Mandrake album? Remember when Edguy were a cutting edge power metal band mixing both strong melodies and more operatic passages in a style all their own? Well, it's back. This track is quite fast and full of melodic hooks, boasting a chorus that's certainly very Queen-inspired. This song oozes traces of "Judas at the Opera" from the Superheroes EP, and is easily in running for the best track on the disc. The solo section is pretty damn excellent as well. Can't really say enough positive thoughts about this one, even though the lyrics seem a bit goofy, as seems to be the case for 80% of Edguy songs since Mandrake.
"Nine Lives" introduces a motif of a chunk of the album, heavy use of synthy keyboard leads, a la Superheroes. Unfortunately I can't say a ton about this track. It's by no means bad, it's just not particularly good in any way. Catchy chorus, straight-forward heavy rocking song, not too much else to say. "Wake Up Dreaming Black" sees things picking back up-tempo with some really great hooks and a really powerful anthemic chorus. One of the more power metal-ish moments on the album, but it's certainly no "Fallen Angels" or anything.
"Dragonfly" may get my award for the most unique track on here, as it's certainly nothing like I would've expected. The verses have a nice slow drive to them and the prechorus is, as you'd expect, anthemic and catchy. Tobias's voice tends to shine a bit in the verses here, and each time it hits the prechorus I just want to start singing "CALLING YOU! CALLING YOU!", it's just irresistably catchy. The chorus shows a bit of a change of pace from what I was expecting, with some really bombastic vocal choirs.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have "Thorn Without a Rose", who a blind, deaf man could've predicted would be Edguy's obligatory ballad on the album. This song reminds me a lot of "Save Me" from the previous album, but I do prefer the verses of this song, they seem a lot more inspired to me. The chorus is typical catchy-pop-metal-ballad stuff, as was the case with the previously mentioned song. If you liked that, you'll like this, it's as simple as that.
"929" brings us back to catchy keyboard leads, and probably takes my cake for the overall catchiest chorus on the album. I'm seeing myself liking this more than most people, because it's the epitome of my theory of "If you can't be unique and great, just be really uptempo and catchy", and this song is exactly that. This is the kind of song that people are either going to give them crap for or just enjoy, I doubt there will be much middle ground.
Well, if it's true you should save the best for last, Edguy certainly took heed. "Speedhoven" has definitely impressed me the most of all of the tracks on this album. The intro is fucking BOMBASTIC, reminiscent of the kind of thing Tobias would've done circa Theater of Salvation or the first 2 Avantasia albums. The verses are driving and organ-heavy, leading into a really great faster chorus which is among the better moments of this disc in general in my opinion. The track certainly lacks nothing of epicness, clocking in just shy of 8 minutes, and featuring a really nice slow section after the 2nd chorus, which only makes the bombastic solo section and triumphant return that much better. This song really knocked me off of my feet on my first several listens.
Lastly we have "Dead or Rock" which is nothing special. It's basically a very 70s-rock inspired track, similar to an upbeat Rainbow number. It's not a joke song, but it's definitely good fun and still manages to be a solid track on top of that. There's also a bonus track entitled "Aren't You a Little Pervert Too" which is a total joke track void of musical merit. It's basically a 2 minute hoe-down with hilariously filthy lyrics. Total Tobias Sammet in joke mode.
So, in conclusion, what do we have here.
I'll be frank, I really have been enjoying this album. It certainly does feature a true power metal track or two in the form of "Pride of Creation" and "Speedhoven", and most of the rest of the tracks are certainly not lacking fun hooks and powerful choruses. It's not the return to form many have been hoping for, but it is certainly a more serious approach to some of what they tried on Rocket Ride, in addition to taking some new chances, some of which seem to have been picked up via the latest Avantasia record. I'm seeing a lot of people knocking this album, but I'm also seeing a lot of people embrace it. I guess you just have to make the call yourself.