These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.
Die Verbannetn Kinder Evas: “Dusk And Void Became Alive” (Napalm Records)
Translated to “The Banished Children Of Eve”, the side project of Summoning’s Richard Lederer brings you into a world of sullen melancholy and heartfelt despair. It’s a deeply rooted in classical epic and showcases the beautiful voice of Christina Kroustali across the release. It’s not upbeat or fast in any sense but instead almost hauntingly romantic at time while leaving the listening with a slight sense of sadness. The Gothic scene would take well to this unique Darkwave group and fans of operatic voices will love this overall intelligent and passionate release. Approach this with an open mind.
Edenbridge: “The Grand Design” (Napalm Records)
Angelic Bombastic Rock was how I first heard Edenbridge described and it’s pretty close to the mark with the lovely Sabine Edelsbacher who’s melodic and soaring vocals quickly bring you into the bands world. Musically masterminded by Lanvall (guitar/keys) they are adept at quality sounding Hard Rock that is rich in sound but not over the top enough to lose you with super technical displays. It’s all about big vocals harmony and rich melodies that you find as soon as it begins. A surprise addition was the Sheena Easton track “For Your Eyes Only”, from the popular James Bond movie of the same name.
Elis: “Griefshire” (Napalm Records)
An album full of Gothic Metal greatness and yet deep sadness at the sudden death of singer Sabine Duenser is the essence of Griefshire. Her last work was completed and released as the band has chosen to continue on in her memory. This all around hit possesses melodies and hooks that could have made Sabine a superstar. Now the Metal world would be able to appreciate her talents a final time. It’s good and intelligent Metal and through it her spirit can live on. Hails! Sabine, may you rest in peace and may your music live forever in our hearts.
Echoes Of Eternity: “The Forgotten Goddess” (Nuclear Blast Records)
The USA joins the world of female-fronted Symphonic Power Metal with EOE; a super-powered musical force with a stunning siren upfront to deliver the goods. Musically EOE has a very tight and technical presence with many quick patterns and odd time signatures that will surely win over Progressive and Tech-Metal fans. Blistering speeds at time, and passionate melody at others, they are not a clone of existing bands but yet a perfect newcomer to the party. Their debut is fresh, exciting and impressive with every track. Francine Boucher will find here photos adorning the lockers of Metalheads everywhere – make some room for her.
Evanescence: “The Open Door” (Wind-Up Records)
Evanescence would find themselves a chart-topping artist with their major debut “Fallen”. The album was loaded with powerful levels of alternative Hard Rock and would make singer Amy Lee a superstar. Turmoil of the time led to the split of Ben Moody who was a large part of the song-writing success and the question was could Amy follow up the blockbuster without him. The answer would be yes she could, and on “The Open Door” she adventures forward – extending the levels of emotion used in the content more than she ever did before. The past couple of turbulent years in the band and singers life led to their documentation in song and that alone makes this purer in its essence and overall meaning. It’s also leaning a little more on the Gothic side than “Fallen” was and at times is a tad heavier. It begins with “Sweet Sacrifice”, a track where Amy shows that the group has not lost any of their edge in the way they do things and instantly reminds the listener that they rock. “Call Me When Your Sober” is perhaps the most important track to the singer as she sings of moving on from the demons that were the cause of her last relationships end. Her new song-writing partner would be Terry Balsamo, and together a new chapter is forged and is right target. As a group they have a lot to stand up against with their hit maker always looking at them, and they succeed in making the new album special with blends of the Classical on tracks such as “Lacrymosa”. As one of the better tracks, it makes use of strings and a dramatic choir that works quite well. The three year absence from a studio album seems to have worked out well for the group on “Lithium”, an important tune that advises choosing to feel as opposed to remaining numb from life’s trials. It’s too early to determine if this recording will stand up to the level of acclaim that its predecessor provided but it surely has been met with a largely positive response. It is an album that shows the group maturing musically and in their themes and most important it showcases the fact that one can move on and forward in life – that’s an important lesson to find. Life is meant to be lived, approach every moment as an “Open Door”.
Fairyland: “The Fall Of An Empire” (Napalm Records)
Fans of The Mighty Rhapsody now have another contender in the world of Symphonic Score Power Metal with France’s Fairyland. The whole CD sweeps with epic sounds and colors that enable the overall majesty to take you to other worlds. Singer Maxime Leclercq bears uncanny vocal resemblance to the late, great Freddie Mercury and I felt this brought a sense of familiarity to the album. It’s easily accessible to Power fanatics for the musical techniques displayed are top-notch. There are dizzying guitar riffs and drum patterns along with rich storytelling and detail that made this an interesting listen. Adventure awaits, care to join in?
Fear My Thoughts: “Vulcanus” (Century Media Records)
If you skillfully blend Hardcore with Black Metal and add a twist of the Traditional side then you have Fear My Thoughts who on their Century Media debut deliver a fistful of intense Metal. The thundering release has mixes of light and dark vocals and impressive musicianship that brings them as players slightly over to the Progressive side. “Survival Scars” pounds your brain and shows how tight experimentation often yields incredible results. The band is musically sound and dramatic as you find in the title track as it brings you to across several styles. Fans of Scar Symmetry and Mercenary will love this one.
Fair To Midland: ”The Drawn And Quartered EP” (Serjical Strike Records)
A band is on to something when System’s Serg Tankian takes an immediate interest and signs you. Such is the diversity of FTM who employ wide genre styles and deliver some tasty Hard Rock. This CD allows for a brief tease while the full-length is prepared and gives demos, live tracks and a comprehensive video. It shows they are a “buzz” band worthy of the term and can catch a wide listener base very quickly. “A Seafarer’s Knot” in particular is an adventurous track that shows the band holds influences from some technical masters of the past. A rocking satisfaction.
Fu-Manchu: “We Must Obey” (Liquor & Poker Music)
A dozen years and ten albums strong, FM features Scott Reeder (Kyuss) on drums and Scott Hill (guitar) and present to you pure Fuzz Rock, and tunes that the Clutch and Monster Magnet fans will love. This is pure and unadulterated Rock people and its tailor made for dark basement clubs and bars. There’s nothing pretentious here and amounts to four guys jamming it out the way it used to be done. Heavy and gritty throughout, they bring an interesting Cars cover to life as well. This release is for those who love sharp groove and riffs that use distortion properly and tastefully.
Additional chapters in this series of “Revisiting Metal Edge Magazine” will be posted across the span of a couple of weeks. Please stay tuned for the next batch of summaries and let us know what you thought of these items down in the comments section below.
Die Verbannetn Kinder Evas: http://www.dvke.info
Echoes Of Eternity: http://www.echoesofeternity.net
Fear My Thoughts: http://www.fearmythoughts.com
Fair To Midland: http://www.fairtomidland.com