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I have been a fan for many years, and am amazed after each album by their ability to make something new, while staying true to themselves. If we go back only a few albums we find a dramatic difference in sound as opposed to this album, yet, you would know it was them instantly.
Edenbridge returns with “Solitaire” an odd name for a metal album, even by Symphonic Metal standards, but a successful album despite this. The album is quite good with many a good song within, without breaking the repertoire rhythm with a ballad like the last albums did These could be hit or miss, ending up sounding very cheesy (once again) even by Symphonic Metal standards, and left the listener stranded waiting, or skipping the song to keep the album cohesive. There is no issue with that in this album, so no worries.
The album utilizes much more on the symphony than ever before, relying heavily on the strings sections, unlike the previous album which relied more on the horns. Sabine’s singing can be more of an acquired taste I find, but she does attempt new techniques and ranges that she has never tried before, which might not be to a new listener’s liking (even though she succeeds at times), she does have a lower voice that lacks a more complete range. The guitars and drumming tend to remain the same, though there is deviation from the norm at times that are not as predictable, however the melodies can lead to several cases of déjà vu. Another notable and new addition is the use of a choir, singing incoherent maybe-Latin (but does it matter?), it is a successful addition that adds a nice variation that would have been predictable sections of song. Lanvall’s ability with his guitar is amazing, you’ll be picking with him with his high pitched wailing solos, that are still awesome even after so long. The drumming does not stand out, but it is not necessary to the sound for it to be like in other genres, and back up vocals are the same as they have always been, but are still pleasant and without notable flaw.
The album is paced generally the same as all the others, the only slow song appearing as the 10th track before the final instrumental outro (Brothers of Diamir), but even this does not suffer the same yawn worthiness of “Whale Rider” or “Winter Winds” on previous albums. The only exception to that is that the album is more cohesive with all the tracks in line never losing tempo when it is necessary, causing you to not use the “next track” button.
Edenbridge’s sound and lyrics play on a lighter side of metal, in fact what might be the lightest (as opposed to darkness of course, and not so in heaviness). The album is relatively heavy, but it is still a good recommendation for those who are into the genres (Symphonic or Neo-Classical). The band lacks poorly written lyrics which can be prevalent in other bands of the genre, and the listener will notice that there isn’t any copying being done in playing style or lyrics.
Arguably the most notable track is “Higher”, if you’re looking to try the album I suggest looking up that song for a good little taste before you decide to purchase, it is a fast paced track with addicting melodies. I recommend this album to a fan of the band, Symphonic Metal genre fans, and new-to metal or genre listeners.