Edguy's Tobi Sammet: The 10 Records That Changed My Life

Edguy's Tobi Sammet performing live
(Image credit: Friso Gensch)

The man behind German power metallers Edguy and symphonic powerhouse Avantasia has something of a knack for making big, bombastic heavy metal. In fact, Tobias Sammet has been doing it for the past 25 years and Edguy have just released a new compilation album to celebrate.

But outside of the rock operas and heavy metal, what music inspires and influences Tobi? We caught up with the man himself to get the lowdown on his love for big, ballsy rock ‘n’ roll.

The first album I bought was…

Kiss – Dressed To Kill (Casablanca, 1975)

“I was shopping with my mum and I saw the picture of the band and I remember it looked weird to me, the cover artwork, because of the masks they wore but also wearing suits and ties. It looked odd and that appealed to me. It looked dangerous but at the same time it was a bit Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was nine years old and I bought the record. The first time I listened to it I was a bit disappointed because I expected it to be way heavier, but I became a Kiss fan at that point because back then when you bought a new record, you had to appreciate it. Today you’d just put it aside and get a new one, but back then you’d have to appreciate it because it would take eons before you’d have the money to buy another one. I listened to it over and over and eventually began to like it and that was the start of my love affair with Kiss.”

My favourite album artwork is…

Magnum – Mirador (FM Records, 1987)

“I like the colours, I like blue colours – as everyone can see from looking at Avantasia’s discography ha ha! The Mirador album is a compilation of Magnum, but I could name so many. It may be something different tomorrow. There are a couple of artworks I really like, if I could choose another it would be Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell II. I don’t know why but I like the colours – again it’s blue.”

The album I wish I’d made is…

Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet (Vertigo, 1986)

“Desmond Child was at the top of his game back then. I know he’s got the reputation for being a cheesy songwriter with the same three-chords all the time, but he’s so damn good at what he’s doing. Songs like Livin’ On A Prayer, they are the quintessence of a stadium rock anthem and that’s why I’d go for that record. I would kill to have written that song. Not only for monetary reasons!”

The album that broke my heart…

Def Leppard – Adrenalize (Mercury, 1992)

“I once had tears in my eyes while listening to the song Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion). It was a long time ago, I was driving through the night and everything was snowy, and I was so overwhelmed by how great that song was. I’d listened to it 500 times before and it never seemed so intense to me. I know it’s very cheesy and I should say No Prayer For The Dying or whatever, but it’s a Def Leppard song. I love that band.”

The album that reminds me of school is…

AC/DC – If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (Atlantic, 1979)

“In the second grade we had painting lessons and we were allowed to bring records to be played while we were painting. I was seven/eight years old and everybody brought stories and fairy tales or music for kids – I remember someone brought Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky. I brought AC/DC and we were listening to High Voltage and everyone was looking at me like I was an outcast because it wasn’t a time when kids were trying to be shocking. I wasn’t trying to be a rebel, this was beautiful music in my world, and everyone else thought it was disgusting. That was the first time I realised I don’t fit in my environment for some reason. That was the first time music and school collided.”

The album that I break the speed limit to is…

Saxon – Unleash The Beast (Virgin, 1997)

“I’m from Germany so it’s pretty difficult to break the speed limit ha ha. The guitar riffing is very energetic in the way that it’s played. It’s groovy wild music that will make you break the speed limit. It’s so energetic, the way it grooves, the riffing, the attitude. It’s just aggressive music.”

The most underrated album is…

Queensrÿche – Rage For Order

“In Queensrÿche context, most people mention Operation: Mindcrime and Empire and The Warning because they were successful and important records, but Rage For Order has so much going on in each song. It doesn’t make sense on your first listen, but when you listen a second and third time you realise it’s so well-crafted. Geoff Tate is delivering so much in those songs, it’s a great record. In the context of Queensryche’s discography, this is underrated.”

The album that inspires me the most is…

Magnum – On A Storyteller’s Night (FM Records, 1985)

“I could also say Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. They are intense records. They’re deep, sophisticated, beautiful, and detailed. They are gates to different worlds. It’s not music that you listen to while you do something else, it’s music that invites you into a different world. On A Storyteller’s Night is an invitation to a different world, it gets me into a different state of mind. That’s the best thing that music can do to you. It’s a different world that opens up and unfolds its beauty in front of your eyes, and every single song is a trip from start to finish.”

The best album to work out to is…

Van Halen – Van Halen (Warner, 1978)

“You have to move when you listen to it because it’s so dancey – I think a mammoth would listen to this record if it wanted to dance. It’s a very brutal dance record in a way, and it makes you move your body. Dave Roth probably listened to this record while working out as well.”

A kid asks me what metal is, I hand them a copy of…

Dio – Holy Diver (Vertigo, 1983)

“The album has accessible moments all over the place but at the same time it doesn’t sound like it wants to be liked. It’s an album that is accessible if you appreciate that kind of music, but it’s not corporate. It’s everything Nickelback will never be, and that’s what I like about it in essence. Not to be bad about Nickelback, but that’s what separates the bands. It doesn’t speak to a target audience, it’s so free and has such a nasty drive and angriness, but it’s not a show-off record. It’s the quintessence of rebellious energy.”

Edguy’s latest album Monuments is out now via Nuclear Blast and available to order online.

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Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.