Edguy is a band whose work has previously been featured here, but I've been listening to and enjoying the band so much as of late that I think it merits another mention. 1999's Theater of Salvation was a great album beginning to end, but it has been criticized (and perhaps fairly) for lacking variety. A year after releasing Theater of Salvation, Edguy re-recorded their third demo, entitled The Savage Poetry. Edguy returned in 2001 to release their next studio LP, which was entitled Mandrake. This album is widely considered Edguy's finest work, and rightly so.
With Mandrake, Edguy corrected in a grand fashion the few flaws present in Theater of Salvation. Mandrake is a more varied and more complete album than its predecessor. The moments of blistering, thrashy speed that were ubiquitous on Theater of Salvation are here interspersed with mid-tempo and slow tracks. The variety of songs present on Mandrake means that anything one might want in a Power Metal album can be found. From the blistering speed of "Golden Dawn" and "Fallen Angels" to the straightforward mid-tempo rock of "All the Clowns" to the obligatory power ballad ("Wash Away the Poison") to the epic scale of "The Pharaoh", Mandrake is the complete Power Metal package.
There is never a dull or mediocre moment on Mandrake. It is an essential album for any Power Metal fan. The only real drawback is that "The Devil and the Savant", one of the best songs on the album, is only available on the limited edition or the Japanese edition. If you can find either, it's well worth shelling out the few extra bucks.