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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?