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There aren’t too many well known metal bands that come out of Austria, but one in particular have been flying the flag for their country since 1998 and I speak of symphonic power/progressive metal band, Edenbridge. Competing against other symphonic metal bands such as Nightwish, After Forever, Epica, Within Temptation and Xandria; Edenbridge have held their own over the last 10 years, releasing solid CDs and making a name for themselves in the process. After the successful ‘The grand design’ in 2006, Edenbridge have returned with a new CD, entitled ‘Myearthdream’.
Since moving from Massacre Records to Napalm Records after ‘The grand design’, Edenbridge have released 2 CDs; a best of compilation called ‘The chronicles of eden’ and now this new CD. Edenbridge also have a new drummer named Max Pointner, but he didn’t play on this new release. The drummer who did play on this release (Sebastian Lanser) has since left the band.
Edenbridge has changed their musical styles over the years. Reducing the speed of their tracks is one of these major changes. This slowdown continues with ‘Myearthdream’ as it has been with ‘The grand design’ and ‘Shine’. Edenbridge have continued with, however, their orchestral and bombastic sounds with crunchy guitars and excellent drumming. Though some people may disagree, I feel that Edenbridge are being let down by their lack of depth in their songs, which results in some songs being dragged on longer than they should; and their vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher. Sabine may be a talented singer, but has nowhere near the level of consistency nor emotion than her counterpart female vocalists such as Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), Simone Simons (Epica), Floor Jansen (After Forever) and Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation).
On ‘Myearthdream’, I am constantly frustrated by Sabine’s singing style. Permanently singing in a mid-range from beginning to end, I feel little to no emotion coming from her voice. As a result, the level of emotion and exuberance has dropped drastically. Really, it is the music and the orchestral arrangements (The Czech Film Orchestra) which has saved this release from being very disappointing.
The songwriting, I feel, is slightly down from previous releases from Edenbridge, and it's like they have just hit a snag on this CD. Despite some good quality tracks on ‘Myearthdream’, there are just too many average tracks including “Shadowplay”, “Whale rider” and “Remember me”. As far as the good songs go, I could really only find 3. These are “Adamantine”, “Place of higher power” and the title track “Myearthdream”.
Overall, it is easy to see that I feel disappointed after spinning this CD numerous times. I’m not sure what has happened to Edenbridge on this release, whether it is from the move from Massacre to Napalm or a letdown in songwriting; but I feel that they have missed a great opportunity to expand themselves in the metal world, especially after strong releases earlier from Nightwish, Within Temptation, After Forever and Epica. Their best release is still ‘The grand design’ in my book and looking around over the net at other reviews on this CD, they are a little up and down, but most hang around the better side of average to good. In final, Edenbridge should take what was great from their previous 2 releases and try again when they make their next CD.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com
What is regular heavy metal? Short songs, full of guitar riffs, straight to the point, with loud aggressive vocals. In the course of time, many diffrent elements like orchestras, synths, vocal melodies were also added to it. But regular heavy metal listeners mostly refrain from listening to irregular heavy metal. Which regular heavy metal listener ( I am talking about the gentlemen who listen to thrash or traditional heavy metal ), would dream of listening to a female fronted symphonic metal band which also uses feather light orshestra in the background? There have been very few or I'll say no record which manages to be melodic using symphonic elements and female vocals, but manages to be pure heavy metal. But this particular band and particularly this album of theirs manages all those things perfectly.
Among the individual performances, once again the star of the show is Lanvall. Apart from the fact that he siglehandedly wrote all the songs for the album and that all of them sound amazing, his lead work in the album is totally fantastic. The notes practically flow into one another. All of the solos are technically challenging, yet they are melodic and sane. His riff work in the album is some of the best I have seen in any symphonic metal album. The riffs are heavy, as heavy as they were in any XYZ Kreator or Bathory album. As always, Sabine sounds superb on this record. Her voice sounds the same, melodic with a superb range, yet not sounding insanely operatic as is the case with many female singers in heavy metal today. The drumming is quite technical and sounds great. The production is superb, really hands down.
So we start the album with a minute long symphonic intro. The orchestra sounds brilliant, not like thousands of crap European bands whose use of orchestra makes the music fluffy and comical. Next Shadowplay is fast, with heavy riffs, it can't make much mistakes. The chorus of this song is really brilliant. Paramount is a bit slower, but the chorus is even better compared to the former song. Undying Devotion has nice interplay between orchestra and guitars which is also one of the highlights. Adamantine kicks up the ass as it picks up pace swiftly. It slows down for the chorus, where excellent orshestral melodies coulpled with a choir is used. Whale Rider is the ballad of the album, no guitars, but only Sabine and the orchestra. But don't make faces gentlemen this actually sounds good. Sabine particularlly shines here. Remember Me and Fallen From Grace both are fantastic songs. Place Of Higher Power, is the second best song on the album. The arabic melodies used in the song sound cool. The final song, the title track is the best song in the album. The song picks up quickly and the guitar work is particullarly brilliant. There are 2 symphonic interludes in the middle. The song picks up again. We have superb pace changes in this section. Overall this is one of the best songs ever written and recorded.
Overall this album is great one of the best ever written. The particular point about this is that, it manages to heavy and brutal if you concentrate at the guitar work, but it also manages to be melodic and beautifull if you concentrate at Sabine and the Orchestra. Concluding please don't hesitate to buy this album, even if it has a female singer fronting the band.
When it comes to symphonic metal I tend to be sometimes very picky, due to the plethora of bands playing this style around the globe and that I cherish my favorite bands very close. But if there is one thing for sure, I have come to the point of buying Edenbridge’s records with my eyes close. They are what symphonic metal should be: bombastic riffs, good fitting drumming, superb orchestral instrumentation not overused, angelic but not overwhelming vocals, epic vibe, lots of dynamics, etc. In other words, I just described what Edenbridge are for me.
This recording is by far the best of their career in my opinion. I purchased ‘Shine’ after this and it doesn’t reach the high levels of My Earth Dream. In the first place the production has exceeded due to the band moving to Napalm Records. Thus, the production is now absolute crystal clear and the packaging is but perfect, magic and fall-in-love-for-it.
Now, comparing it to ‘Arcana’ there is more flow in the songs, better album structure and more down to earth in the sense of guitar punch, bass drumming and sense of melody. This is by far superior to their other albums because they incorporate even more dynamic rhythms and folk influences using Middle Eastern melodies which you have to carefully listen to get them. I think they developed this more and more since the excellent results on ‘Shine’.
Sabine’s vocals are…well…absolute killer. There is not too much to mention about that since we all know what she is capable of and how magnificent her angelic voice is. In Adamantine she actually sings in lower tones which are very good since rarely she does that. Another fact I find very interesting and I like Lanvall for that is that although he plays a Fender guitar (just like that of Mr. Yngwie boring Malmsteem) he knows how to incorporate different melodies and he does not sound repetitive and, he gives a very ethereal feeling to the solos, adding this to the already fantasy-spaced-magic atmosphere of the album, which is something they carefully work on.
In the songs department once ‘Shadowplay’ opens you immediately note the hard rock-ished guitar punch and the riffing style is now similar to Threshold (Dead Reckoning album) as the other guy appointed as well. This is very good for this band since it gives you more than high screeching guitars and they are not back grounded to the orchestral instruments. ‘Adamantine’ is a very nice mid tempo song with absolute exquisite riffing and drumming. ‘Remember me’ is a very good example of how symphonic elements perfectly blend with metal-rock with the keyboards adding to the atmosphere but not overused. This one sounds very good because of this blend and cool piano melody. ‘Whale Rider’ is a piano-keyboard driven ballad and it works amazingly since classical influences are clearly heard. ‘Place of Higher Power’ Sabine uses again lower tones and the rhythm parts are killer and here, the chorus does work excellent, not to mention the vocal lines, not to mention the Arabian folky influences. If we talk about the title track: first and foremost: it is one hell of an epic track! Second: the classical interlude is masterfully played by Lanvall. Third: once it kicks you with its delightful rhythm intro and symphonic arrangements y goes ala Dream Theater with hard riffing style (Train of thought) and I say this due to its progressive approach but very heavy for Edenbridge standards. The vocal lines and the choruses perfectly fit the heavy progression. The drums as well work awesome very Dream Theater-ished. In the end, this is an absolute killer track and it alone deserves to be listened for pure musical orgasm.
By the way, I give 99 and taking off 1 point only for the chorus on Adamantine which I think vocally sucks (being TOO picky). Other than that, this album is perfection itself: artwork, song writing, pictures, punchy music, killer ballads, astonishing solos, superior vocals, etc. So, what else could you ask for?
Who was it who said, there is always room for a melodic Gothic Metal band with a beautiful singer and a beautiful voice? Actually it was probably me, just then, but lets be fair it is very true. Releasing their new album "My Earth Dream" through Napalm Records", the ever popular Edenbridge come forth with an almost over dramatic sound and a harmony or two that could soar all the way to the heavens. "The Force Within" is a short intro that shows the bands true grandeur before kicking into the fast anf lowing as well as instantly pleasing "Shadowplay". Vocally Edenbridge are not quite operatic but they are clear, defined and very graceful. The riff-age is hard but not overly heavy and suits the blend superbly. "Remember Me" keeps up the theme of a spirited band with a confident dynamic sound whilst "Paramount" adds more of a variance tot he tempo of the album and to the vocalists many talents and styles. "Adamantine" is catcy and well poised whilst the amusingly titles "Whale Rider (So many funny images spring to mind) is soft and subtle as well as sporing a sense of drama and once again grandeur. "Undying Devotion" is one of my favorites and one tof the bands more mature songs, slower in pace and slightly heavier that what came before. If your looking for intricate guitar play then "Fallen From Grace" is for you and almost has a "Phantom Of The Opera" feel too it whilst "Place Of Higher Power" continues with a high and mighty styled sound before reaching the albums climax with the album title track "My Earth Dream", a blend of all Edenbridge's finer points. So a good album from a well manicured and professional band.