Formed in 2006, multinational melodic metallers (is that a real word? It is now!) Eden’s Curse have risen from their humble beginnings as an internet studio project to a full blown touring outfit with four studio albums and several tours behind them. During their seven years together they have managed to win over audiences wherever they have played, whilst collecting praise from esteemed peers such as Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson and several members of Prog Metal legends Dream Theater, which ultimately led to the band opening for that prestigious outfit in the UK recently. Returning last October with their fourth studio album “Symphony Of Sin” this is the first album to feature new Serbian vocalist Nikola Mijic and former Powerquest and Dragonforce keyboard player Steve Williams, alongside founding members Paul Logue, Thorsten Koehne and Pete Newdeck (that said, as we go to “press”, it has just been announced that Pete Newdeck has vacated the drum seat to move on to pastures new – including as frontman of Tainted Nation – and his place has been ably filled by John Clelland).
So, I hear you ask, why has it taken so long to review an album that came out last October? Well, to be brutally honest I committed the cardinal sin (no pun intended) of judging a gift horse by looking at the cover! Every part of what I read screamed that this album would not be my cup of tea …. internet studio project, East European singer, melodic metal, mentions of prog and Dragonforce all translated by my brain as lacks cohesion, strange pronunciation/accent, metal with double kick drums battering away like a randy rabbit, truly arduous lengths of songs and …. well, totally technically brilliant guitar parts that veer towards tedious of awesome proportions within half of a 20 minute long song! In that case what changed my mind so that I cast my ear over the album …. and were my fears with foundation?
The what changed is dead easy. Two factors played a part – first off, our ever so good, Rock-Zone Dave Crompton kept telling his Facebook friends that he was listening to album (nothing new there as Dave is the only man on the planet who buys more CDs than me but he has an extremely discerning taste in AOR, yet here he was playing “metal” repeatedly) … had I missed something important? Secondly, I was spending an evening in my favourite venue (Bolton’s own Railway – you really MUST pay them a visit if you like quality music and people with the same passion we have) when I noticed that Eden’s Curse were paying a visit in May, the advert for which was quickly followed up by the video for first release from this album “Evil and Divine” and the galloping riff hooked me immediately (check the video out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z24MmgWVQXk ).
“Symphony Of Sin” sees the band delivering an extremely consistent collection of melodic, thunderous songs. Opener and title track “Symphony Of Sin”, clocks in at just under 8 minutes (see … prog length track!) but throughout this features the sonic wall of a 46 piece orchestra and soaring vocals from Mijic, all topped off with razor sharp riffing from Koehne. The afore mentioned debut single, “Evil & Divine” has “Future ‘Curse Live Classic” stamped all over it and features possibly THE riff of 2013/14. This is followed by the heartfelt “Unbreakable”, which sees the band step into what they describe as Pop Metal – this proves that I have no idea what pop metal is! A fantastic song (which Paul Logue has suggested might be their finest moment yet) reminds me of a slightly harder rocking Journey … Mijic does have a certain “Steve Perry” sound on this track, yet the track (like the album as a whole) sounds fresh and of the now!
Once again, production duties were handled by the group’s long term mixing engineer (bassist of Pink Cream 69 and Unisonic) Dennis Ward, with artwork under the tutelage of other long term collaborator, graphic designer Thomas Ewerhard, whose previous work is synonymous with artists such as Edguy, Avantasia, Jorn Lande, Masterplan, Asia and many more.
Were my fears correct? Totally not – this album has now started to be on my constant rotation list. Sure, there are double kick drums (but they work brilliantly), technically excellent guitar parts and sounds throughout, only the title track pushing the lengths of progtasticness length (that said, 12013 was the year I realised I liked prog!) but most of all this album sounds like a band meant to be together – none of the cobbled together, patchwork “songs by numbers” nature of long distance studio projects (perhaps the glories of the internet really do make the world seem so much smaller). As for the melodies … it is quite apparent why that doyen of melodic rock/AOR that is Mr Crompton keeps playing it – vocal harmonies galore. There is a depth to the lyrical content that blends perfectly with the melody and musicality, all of which makes this a must have record for your collection
I have never known an album that on paper would be everything I wouldn’t enjoy become such a sure fire hit on the FIRST listen. This is definitely one of my albums of the last 12 months and I am so pleased that it didn’t slip through the net. Do yourselves the biggest favour of the musical year to date – check out the video, buy the record and catch them on their upcoming tour. It might be advised to also stop looking books in their teeth.
“Symphony of Sin” is available now on AFM Records.
More information on Eden’s Curse: