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I may have mentioned a diatribe or two about progressive metal to a specific few, but for what it’s worth there’s a part of me who really registers with it. The likes of OPETH, STAR ONE and DREAM THEATER (prerequisites for all prog the world over) make for mind-opening experiences, no matter how pandering and problematic a few of the last group’s songs and albums can be at times. Like all other styles it’s all in the overall feel for it that makes for good listens; throwing in reckless abandon performance and mathcore style, overly calculated time signature abuse does not a good prog album make in the least. It needs that little something that tickles the ear drums of all forms of potential listener, where wankery and prissy notions are left at the door.
And it’s with that mind set in play that I tackled what this EDENBRIDGE band had to offer me…would they be able to give me what I wanted with my prog?
Even at first glance, EDENBRIDGE’s latest thankfully doesn’t attempt to cram too much into their progressive wares but instead astound and warrant vilification through a more simplistic approach. “Solitaire”, as a whole, oozes powerful drama and mind-numbing intensity in as natural a way as they can evoke by way of electric instrumentation. There’s a lot to take in with every minute that succeeds each other throughout the duration of the disc, where the spine-tingling keyboard tandems, symphonic madness, thrashing guitar/bass riffing, potently powerful drum work and form-fitting female vocals/variously voiced choirs come together in that masterful, “we know what the hell we’re doin’!” way that makes for plentiful tasty listens, where epic chord arrangements and crushing heaviness combine in seamless successions. Theirs is a very straight-forward approach with short-and-to-the-point song lengths that makes it all the more easy to get into the scheme of things and become lost in that which makes this disc as fantastic as it is. And again I must spew forth my lamentations on this sort of thing not getting the due attention it deserves; it’s a shame that such fine, talented bands such as these guys are left in the dust amidst the ever-increasing clamoring for all those in-their-fourteenth-minute-of-fame acts that clog the myspace pages and national tours ad nauseum. Still, the fact that such a scene continues to exist in this and any other age is laudable on my end and I will willingly descend into those fathomless musical depths by my lonesome, thank you very much! This is shown in the fine examples of the likes of “Solitaire”, “Bon Voyage Vagabond”, and “Out of This World”, with nary a sensation of crapola or detriment present to make the listen a burden. It’s all pure enjoyable escapism on this end.
All in all EDENBRIDGE’s latest is a masterwork of heavy, symphonic epicness. Rest assured, dear reader, that this will end up seeing plenty of time in my battered and bruised CD player for as long as my interest will hold on…which may be longer than one would expect. Absolutely recommended.