This album came out of left-field and caught me totally off guard. The new album SOLVING FOR X by New Eden falls in my ‘pleasant surprise of the year’ category. I had no idea the band had a new album in the works let alone still being active. It has been 11 years since STAGNANT PROGRESSION (an appropriate title under the circumstance of the time between albums) and I just assumed the band was dead and done.
My excitement also stems from the fact that New Eden is kind of a little hidden gem of a band and I’ve really enjoyed the previous three albums. In case you are not familiar New Eden has an impressive pedigree and lineage of the elite of US Power Metal. The band sort of evolved from Helstar into Destiny’s End who kinda morphed into New Eden. Sort of. The bands roster reads like a who’s who of that style, boasting ex-members of bands like Abbatoir, Agent Steel, Axehammer, Crescent Shield, Cypher Seer, Destiny’s End, Helstar, Hirax, Legend Maker, Onward, Redemption, Seven Witches, Steel Prophet, Taraxacum, Vicious Rumors and more! If that doesn’t get ya hard for this band, nothing will. Behind it all, through all the years is founder and main-man, guitarist, Horacio Colmenares. The band had a very brief flirtation with the brass ring signing to Nuclear Blast for their sophomore album OBSCURE MASTER PLAN in 1999 but then it was back to the minors. Perhaps, he long period between albums and constant lineup changes has hampered the bands ability to get the attention they sorely, truly deserve.
Like a sweet, stinging smack upside the head that wakes you from your stupor, SOLVING FOR X is another triumph for the band. Somewhat predictably, this album sees more line-up changes, a fourth new singer in a row in the form of Rod Arias who has the unenviable job of following in the footstep of Rick Mythiasin. Rod is unknown commodity in the Metal world but his performance on SOLVING FOR X shines. Range, power, balls, conviction….he has it all. He could be a vocal force to be reckoned with. It has a gorgeous piece of cover art to house the 47 minute, 11 song album. 11 years since the last album… Hmmm…one song per year…I think they need to pick up the song-writing pace!
The whole album drives along at a really nice pace, not blisteringly fast but fast enough to provide the energy surge to accompany your workout, your escape from work, your trip down the highway, whatever it may be. Thick, crunchy riffs spill from the speakers, and the band have increased the intensity just a notch to make this the fastest, heaviest album to date. ‘Unsolved Aggressions’ is likely the heaviest thing they have done, almost bordering on thrash, but not quite that frantic. There is still that element of controlled chaos demonstrated by the super-tight, locked in, precision performances of the rhythm section of Luis Sandoval on bass and Jimmy Schultz on drums.
There are a core of bands that just do straight ahead, no frills USPM and New Eden do it right and do it well. I wonder why bands like Crescent Shield get such a buzz and New Eden kinda languishes in semi-obscurity. (Nothing against Crescent Shield, they rule too) Every song on here is top-notch. Well produced, well-executed, well performed… SOLVING FOR X is a dark horse for classic Metal of the year.
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