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Ever since Edenbridge debuted in 1998, they've been pumping out some great symphonic power metal, even if a few of their albums (Arcana, Aphelion) were less than stellar, and even those lesser albums were great listens. So now, 10 years after their formation, we get their latest project, MyEarthDream, which exquisitely fits the role of a 10th Anniversary Release, without actually carrying such a formal title; it just so happens to be awesome all on its own.
After a nice instrumental intro, we're launched straight into the hard rockin', upbeat Shadowplay (the leading riff reminds me of "Phenomenon" by Threshold, but they're different enough to be legit). Not to be outdone, Paramount brings in the choir to help it out, creating a pretty solid mid-paced power track. Undying Devotion slows the action down a bit, utilizing some interesting keyboard and instrumental bits with a hard-hitting chorus.
Adamantine is a decent-enough track with a faster tempo, but it feels misplaced and its simpler structure leaves it feeling awkward amidst its Straight-A siblings. Next is Whale Rider, the token ballad on this album, which is performed entirely by the orchestra and vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher, but the songwriting is airtight and the entire thing is majestic and dramatic. Remember Me, while not as strong as its predecessors early in the album, still kicks your ass with its intense bridge and powerful chorus.
Fallen From Grace, while easily the album's fastest, is also the album's most mediocre track; sure, it's not bad, but it's not exactly memorable, either. Place of Higher Power has an unusual melody for the verses, but the chorus is anticlimactic and the song as a whole leaves me out to dry. The next track, MyEarthDream Suite, brings this depressing chapter to an end with its all-instrumental majesty and gets us excited again, just in time for the album's magnum opus...
The 12-minute epic title track. If you want Edenbridge at their finest, look no further than this; the immensity of this track convinces me all the other tracks preceding it were merely bonus tracks, because this monster is worth the money all on its own. Starting off with a powerful intro, the first 4 minutes are what Shadowplay and Remember Me wish they could be when they grow up, and the deceptive orchestral interlude afterward lulls us into a false sense of security before our asses get kicked yet again, if only briefly. The orchestra's entire purpose, it seems, is to console us in between the ass-kickings this beast delivers. After getting our ass handed to us by the all-powerful final chorus, the track closes beautifully with...well, I'll not spoil everything for you.
In short, buy this album if you even mildly enjoy symphonic power metal, or power metal in general. There's enough power here to keep a city running, enough beauty to make your girlfriend rage, and enough ass-kickings to make masochists cringe. Edenbridge's "MyEarthDream" brings a breath of fresh air into the lungs of an aging and dying genre.