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The changing of the power metal guard in the mid 2000s to more of a hard rock meets groovy metallic sound could have been read as both a blessing and a curse, and ironically one of its chief blessings was a band putting itself out as a curse of sorts. But all bad puns aside, Eden's Curse sort of slipped in under the proverbial radar in 2007 with a promising self-titled debut LP, but it wasn't until the turn of the next decade that they would truly hit pay dirt with their magnum opus Trinity. Highlighting the highly versatile yet also restrained character that typified a number of bands at the time following the Masterplan model, this album draws from a highly varied pool of inspiration, albeit one that is arguably way too obvious given the choice in cover songs that adorned the various versions of this album. Naturally the whole story isn't told in simply chalking this band up to an old school rehash with a fetish for Dokken and Dio, but it definitely reveals a traditional 1980s anchor that permeates most of this album, hence a good deal of its melodic charm.
While not necessarily to be treated as an outright concept album, there is definitely a recurring theme of religion and politics at play here both lyrically and aesthetically, which plays in nicely with the strong sense of cohesion at work musically. In fact, barring a number of other influences on the periphery, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to liken this to a more worthy sequel to the widely lauded 1988 Queensryche concept album Operation Mindcrime, as it follows a similar model of largely concise songwriting at a generally rocking, middle of the road tempo and a lot of emphasis on guitars, keyboards and vocals. Generally the rhythm section is there to provide a solid foundation, resulting in bass lines that are generally droning and simplistic despite being heavily present in mix, whereas the drum work is largely methodical and rarely overtly showy. It can't quite be labeled a progressive album stylistically, but it definitely incorporates elements of said style at fairly regular instances.
Possessed of a somewhat top-heavy production quality and a pretty clear emphasis on melody and detailing, this album wheels through a veritable smorgasbord of 80s and early 90s trappings, all but culminating in an outright throwback. Grooving rockers with layers of guitar harmonies and driving riffs such as the title song "Trinity", as well as "No Holy Man" and "Rivers Of Destiny" definitely play up the bands adoration from the mid to late 80s handiwork of Dio, Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne and Queensryche, coming off as triumphant yet also a tad bit woeful. Much of this is due to a combination of the symphonic sounds provided by the keys and the smoothness of vocalist Michael Eden, who sounds like he's crooning most of the time, even when trying to dirty his voice up to sound a bit closer to a Ronnie Dio emulator than a student of Don Dokken. Things are a bit more punchy and guitar heavy on "Saints Of Tomorrow" and "Dare To Be Different", which also sees a move towards a rocking character out of the keyboards and a tad bit of a Deep Purple/Rainbow sound that makes the band somewhat conducive to recent Axel Rudi Pell offerings.
The variety at play here becomes a bit more apparent when the Mindcrime aesthetic gives way for something that is arguably a bit more in line with the power metal side of things. While Eden's Curse brings a speedy song to the table that would come off as heavily restrained next to the average Gamma Ray or Stratovarius cruiser, the handiwork heard on "Can't Fool The Devil" and the fun and catchy duet with Helloween's Andi Deris "Black Widow" is exciting and captivating enough to rope in those who like their metal a bit faster. The album's token epic number and closer "Jerusalem Sleeps" definitely reminisces at bit towards bad towards the groovy character of the Queensryche influenced material, albeit with a helping of Middle Eastern themes that are somewhat in line with recent experiments out of Masterplan and Primal Fear. On the balladry side of things, the band shows their Achilles Heel a bit with an overly sappy and comical radio ballad dubbed "Guardian Angel" that could have been heard on a Tesla album. The band recovers from this with their other ballad "Children Of The Tide", which introduces some Dream Theater inspired keyboard noodling and gets the ball after all the needed sadness and nostalgia expected from a token soft number.
Most of what is going on with Trinity falls under the category of tried and true, although the overall presentation definitely comes off as fresh and innovative. While Michael Eden's distinctive voice definitely provides a signature sound that separates this band from much of the pack, the true force driving this album is definitely guitarist Thorsten Köhne, whose uncanny ability to rip out a chunky rhythmic riff and tear up the fretboard with a lyrical yet virtuoso lead guitar approach is pretty hard to miss. Picture a near perfect amalgamation of Vivian Campbell, Jake E. Lee, George Lynch, Chris DeGarmo and Doug Aldrich aside a group of musicians that likewise blend a number of elements from all of their respective bands. It's something of a paradox that so many elaborate elements can culminate in something that so catchy and easy to follow, but then again, the same peculiar middle ground between complexity and simplicity is the making of a great album.
How have I missed this for so long? Eden’s Curse is a British band that has put out three albums – this being the latest one. And they pretty much rule. Trinity is just a wonderful, uplifting album for those who yearn for the most majestic of hooks and the most soaring of melodies, all wrapped up tight in Deep Purple-esque 70s style synths and energetic power metal chugging. Sounding like the prodigal son of Edguy and Threshold, this album just works, and gets better every time I play it.
This is very much in the school of modern music that combines 70s and 80s style synths and beats with modern power metal chugging and vocal choirs, again, much like Edguy. Singer Michael Eden is reminiscent sometimes of James LaBrie and others of Mac McDermott, formerly of Threshold. He’s a vocal chameleon, and his charming, expert tone and charisma carry this album a lot higher than it would have gone otherwise. The songs are punchy and dramatic, with pretty much all of them being instantly memorable. What really strikes me about this is just how much care has been put into fine-tuning these vocal lines and choruses – rarely have I seen such masterful, well done chorus work. And even the verses are done well! The vocal lines on here in general are just extraordinary, each one shining like a newborn star.
The first track is a pretty useless intro piece, and too long at that. Once we hit the chugging power metal of the title track, though, the album blasts off like a rocket, heading for the cosmos and never looking back. “Saints of Tomorrow,” “Rivers of Destiny,” “Children of the Tide,” the touching “Guardian Angel”…there are no bad tunes on here! I have to say some of the best ones crop up in the second half of the album with the awesome “Dare to Be Different,” the Andi Deris-guested “Black Widow,” which winds and crawls like a hungry snake, and the masterful, calculated prog of the excellent “Jerusalem Sleeps.” Exemplary. Truly a great set of songs.
There are no ends to the wonders of this album. With one stroke Eden’s Curse cement themselves as leaders of their genre. If you like this kind of rocking, melodic heavy metal, this one should be at the top of your list to get, because you probably won’t find much better this year. Stunning work, gents!
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com