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Great Britain's arguably tepid participation in the revival of heavy metal has managed to yield a few interesting bands, though for some reason the ones that tend to cross my path involve somebody with either a direct or indirect connection to Dragonforce. Perhaps Eden's Curse escaped my notice because they had the rare disposition of not having a connection to said guitar shred based icons, but that changed with the entry of keyboardist Steve Williams, who was essentially part of a rather sizable lineup shakeup in this band that has consequently reshaped this band's overall paradigm. While I can't claim to be heavily familiar with this band's earlier offerings, what I've encountered prior to Symphony Of Sin is definitely geared in more of a metallic direction, whereas this album dances around a bit with a slew of rock and blues influences, which have the ironic effect of making this album sound even more steeped in 80s AOR than the covers of Dio's "Rock 'N' Roll Children" and Dokken's "Unchain The Night" from just 2 years prior.
While it is important to note that the resulting amalgamation of musical personalities going on with this album has yielded a somewhat unique overall character, the stylistic orientation of this album is pretty derivative. Absent the somewhat flashier keyboard work provided by Steve Williams, which is not quite as showy as something out of Jens Johannson but still more active than usual for this mode of power metal, this album could have been released by Firewind at any point during the 2nd half of the the 2000s. Much of this can be credited to the massive production sound and relatively static, rock oriented character of the bass and drums. Similarly, the duality of fairly simplistic guitar riffs meshed with a highly expressive lead guitar sound out of Thorsten Köhne that is right out of the Gus G playbook could all but turn this album into a sequel to The Premonition if Williams' Van Halen keyboard leads and the symphonic overlays were taken out of the picture. Even Köhne's clean and acoustic guitar passages carry that same sort of 80s power ballad meets massive arena rock feel that Firewind and Masterplan are all to happy to dabble in to break up the heavy ended grooves and occasion bursts of speed.
Naturally there's also the factor of newly recruited vocalist Nikola Mijić, bringing a Serbian voice into the equation to complement the Germanic and Celtic ensemble, which further brings this album into a heavily AOR steeped place. While former vocalist Michael Eden was definitely geared to the higher end of things, his soaring tenor was more in line with the earlier mold of power metal in the late 90s, and a very different personality comes forth in Nikola. As best as can be described, he has a voice that is all but perfect for this sort of music, though his voice is a bit higher and thinner than the David Coverdale character of Jorn Lande, Rick Altzi and Apollo Papathanasio. Picture a less gravely and more nasally version of Tobias Sammet with a hint of a Steve Perry attitude. It's actually a wonder that there wasn't a Journey cover as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of this album, though they do get dangerously close to the territory of said band on "Unbreakable" and parts of "Rock Bottom".
While the overall picture of Symphony Of Sin is a solid one, it definitely leaves a few things to be desired and doesn't quite measure up to the standards set by the previous album. For every moment of epic brilliance such as the colossal opening title song "Symphony Of Sin", and the solid and catchy character of "Evil & Divine" and "Devil In Disguise" that remind about as much of Dio as they do of some of the fluffier places the NWOBHM went in the later 80s, there is also a fair amount of material that is just a bit too light or too contrived for its own good. It's a bit more hit than miss, but it wouldn't be out of line to treat this album as a mixed bag, and admittedly Thorsten and company were going for a more diverse take on things that their previous releases. There is definitely a lot of potential in this group of musicians, and there are no overt weak links between the individual members, but there is a noticeable lack of focus and direction here that will hopefully be remedied down the line.
Eden’s Curse put out a great album in Trinity a few years ago, blending explosive Edguy Hellfire Club choruses and vocal lines with propulsive power metal tinged with a personal touch like Dead Reckoning-era Threshold. This new album sees a bit of a lineup change, and I think a lot of the quality here left with departed singer Michael Eden. Symphony of Sin is a pedestrian songwriting stew of guitar and keyboard ideas you heard from Firewind and Edguy 10 to 15 years ago. As slick and rocking as the band can play, there’s nothing even remotely exciting about the sound anymore – the sound requires a lot more energy and attitude in the riffs and vocal lines than Eden’s Curse display here.
New singer Nikola Mijic is a big drawback here, with a high, slightly nasal tone that, at best, doesn’t really annoy you – he does do a good job at sounding half asleep though, if that was his intention. He doesn’t really sing any good vocal melodies – the verses are a soggy trudge through a barren land without any hooks, and the choruses are stale cliché you’ve heard in every other band like this, from Power Quest to Brother Firetribe, except with a quarter of the personality of those bands. All of these songs are competently written, straddling the line between AOR and contemporary power metal decently enough with chugging riffs and fluttery melodies, but without an iota of passion or fire to anything going on. I really think this whole style of AOR power metal is getting over-saturated, as this is easy-listening metal as flat and unassuming as a blank piece of white computer paper and with all the entertainment value therein, too. Get this if you really want something that sounds like new Edguy except with none of the bold personality or wild twists and turns. Or maybe if you just want something to fall asleep to real easily – this should do the trick.
The last release from UK-based melodic metallers Eden's Curse was certainly an accomplished album, and definitely what I'd class as their finest moment. Unfortunately after the release of Trinity singer Michael Eden would leave the band, and for a short spell Michael was replaced with Marco Sandron, who you might have heard in Pathosray or Fairyland. With Marco in tow Eden's Curse put out the excellent track "Time To Breathe" which left me feeling optimistic about the band's future. Sadly it wasn't meant to be, and things didn't work out with Marco (although I'm not entirely sure as to why). For their fourth full-length Symphony Of Sin Eden's Curse enlisted the vocal talents of Alogia singer Nikola Mijić, and filling in the vacant keyboardist spot is former Power Quest main man Steve Williams, whose inclusion certainly stirred up some expectation.
With the opening title track Eden's Curse re-establish their sound with the new line-up, and the longest number they've recorded to date. Familiar ground is tread throughout, although I'd say Steve Williams' keyboards give this a little more of a power metal pedigree than before. Nikola's vocals aren't too far away from Michael's, although I'd say Nikola's tone and approach is more in touch with the likes of Swedish hard rock exports H.E.A.T. or modern day Tobias Sammet, as opposed to Michael's more AOR sensible approach. If you pushed the question I'd probably give the edge to Nikola on singing talents alone, while I'd definitely say Michael had a better approach and stronger vocal lines. That isn't to say Nikola doesn't have some good vocal lines here, but there's nothing to match the quality of songs such as "No Holy Man" or "Jerusalem Sleeps".
For the most part this isn't too far away from what they were doing on the last album, although I definitely think there's an increase in the hard rock elements, largely thanks to Nikola's vocal performance. There are a few tracks in particular which are blatantly obvious in their hard rock approach, utilizing a tried and true formula that you've heard in everyone from Whitesnake to Hardline. Whilst this element has always been present in the Eden's Curse sound, they used to do it in a far more intelligent manner. Listening to tracks such as "Rock Bottom", "Turn The Page" and "Unbreakable" certainly backs up how I feel. These songs come across as relatively predictable and palpable in their melodic approach, although admittedly I do enjoy "Unbreakable" a fair bit despite its clichéd and saccharine intro which wouldn't feel out of place on an eighties pop metal album.
Taking the weaker tracks out of the equation the rest of Symphony Of Sin stands tall, Thorsten Köhne and Steve Williams certainly show some promising chemistry with Thorsten's riffs being largely enjoyable throughout, blending a post-Hellfire Club Edguy approach with some Rage For Order-era Queensrÿche. As I stated earlier Steve's keys dish out a fair bit in the way of power metal pedigree, and backing the rest of the guys up is the rhythm section of Paul Logue and Pete Newdeck who further add power metal elements in terms of driving rhythms, thumping bass and some double kicked sections. Numbers such as the title track, "Evil & Devine", "Losing My Faith" and "Devil In Disguise" show Symphony Of Sin in its best light, featuring everything Eden's Curse do well.
On the whole I think Eden's Curse have done a pretty good job on their fourth full-length. I do feel the album is a little too long and it certainly isn't without its flaws, but for the most part Symphony Of Sin is enjoyable. I'm a little disappointed "Time To Breathe" didn't feature on the album, and ideally I would have liked the band to keep a little more in touch with said track, which certainly sounded like the logical continuation of Trinity. Nonetheless it's great to hear these guys active and hopefully they'll go on to do more with this line-up - there's definitely a lot of potential on show. In the meantime Symphony Of Sin is a solid listen, and certainly recommended it to fans of Edguy, Eclipse or even At Vance.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Eden’s Curse is one of those bands I’ve had in my long, “I have to check these guys out” queue, but I’ve never actually gotten farther than listening to a couple of songs on the band’s Myspace. The spark that had quite recently re-ignited my interest for this band was that Serbian-born singer Nikola Mijic had joined the band. Needless to say, hailing from Serbia myself, I was rather shocked (although not surprised). With keyboard wizard Steve Williams (Power Quest, ex-Dragonforce) completing the new roster, Eden’s Curse are ready to launch themselves straight to the A-league with their latest effort, Symphony of Sin.
Compared to their previous releases, namely Trinity, the band’s sixth effort seems much more consistent and inspired. Numerous influences are evident throughout the album, yet you’d never point your finger at a single song and accuse the band of lacking in originality or sounding too much like this or that band. Instead, think of the final product as a perfect blend including the raw power of classic heavy metal bands like Pretty Maids or Gotthard; pop-sensibility of Journey or Asia; sheer power of Helloween; grandiose feel of Avantasia; and the band’s personal stamp.
The best example of how well this blend works is the title-track, incorporating all of the above elements into a hit that has real potential for becoming a live classic. The album is quite dynamic, with bombastic tracks like “Evil & Divine” and “Unbreakable” standing side by side with mid-paced, hard-rock anthems like “Rock Bottom” and “Turn the Page,” along with crossovers between the two, such as “Great Unknown” or “Losing My Faith.”
The new line-up is rock-solid, giving off the feel that these guys have been playing together much, much longer. Steve Williams brings the vintage keyboard sound into the mix, giving the whole release a strong early-80′s feel. Thorsten Koehne’s guitar playing is outstanding, always keeping the listener focused on his intricate riff arrangements and melodies. The rhythm section, consisting of Paul Logue and Pete Newdeck, provides a solid, groovy hard-rock foundation, and the outstanding production keeps it from being too far in the background.
Despite being fully aware of Nikola‘s talent, I must say that he was the most pleasant revelation, as I was truly taken aback with his performance on Symphony of Sin. He sings with such skill, power and emotion that he could compete against the most popular singers in the scene today. He switches from a soft, jazzy voice to a rough, rock’n'rollish one with ease, hits the perfect high notes as well as dark, low ones. Just for refference, think of Mats Leven’s jagged, hard rock tone coupled with Russell Allen‘s powerful delivery.
The only complaint I have is in regards to the length of the album. The second half, although it has some amazing moments itself, fails to keep my attention compared to the first one. Listening to the two halves separately proved that it was not the quality of the songs, although releasing two or three of them as B-sides rather than album tracks would have definitely done the release a favor.
Symphony of Sin definitely turned out to be a genuine surprise. With the talented bunch of musicians, great songwriting skills and catchy hooks that resulted in this album, I have no doubt that Eden’s Curse are finally going to get the renown they deserve. This album is a must for all melodic rock and metal fans, and one that will be talked about for many years to come!
Originaly posted on http://www.metalblast.net