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Cry For Eden
The 11th Hour
Released: 2012, Cry for Eden Productions
I will confess that I almost did not review this album. The main reason is that after listening to the first four tracks I thought I was hearing nothing more than a Dream Theater rip off. There is a spoken part intro, a piano vocal ballad, a radio sound clip with a spoken part, and then a progressive metal instrumental with riffs straight out of the Petrucci school of guitar. To top it all off, the album’s beginning is about a mother tucking her little girl in for bed. Naturally, the little girl’s name is Victoria (Metropolis Part II anyone?). Despite this, I continued to listen, and while some elements of Dream Theater remained, the album transitioned more into female fronted gothic metal/rock. Cry for Eden is a North American band from Portland, Oregon. It is a rare thing to hear an American band trying their hand at a style dominated by Scandinavia, as well as northern and Eastern Europe and for the most part they do a decent job.
Lisa Mann fronts the band while handling bass duties and foregoes the operatic style popular with many of the leading bands of the genre, opting more for straight ahead singing. Mann also has a more limited range than other stalwarts of the genre, rarely reaching the upper registers but her voice is powerful and filled with depth. Her timbre is certainly different than many in this style, and while I am not incredibly enamored of it, she can definitely sing. Musically the album is mainly written by keyboardist James Borst. No question the band is competent, remarkably restrained in employing equal amounts of heavy guitar parts complemented with keyboards and soft piano passages. “Echoes of Eternity” is a worthy representation of the heavy side of this band, while “Prelude Pt. 1” and “Eve of Revelation” showcase the softer, piano driven side of the band. Musically and lyrically the album is more dark than light, courting melancholy with very few uplifting passages. Vocals are also limited, the band opting for more instrumental passages instead.
The cd package is nicely put together, with lyrics to all the songs on a nice glossy sheen of paper, even if the mushroom cloud image of the album cover belongs more to the 80s. The production is also quite respectable and the band has loads of potential. The full realization of the bands capabilities is best experienced on the stunning “Truth Beyond Reason”, a song that easily competes with the best of the genre and a direction I would have loved to have heard more of on THE 11TH HOUR. Add it up, and this is a fine debut, with many worthy moments as well as room for growth. There are undeniably some derivative styles here and even samples (they use the same FDR sample used on “Cult Of Personality”), but there is enough of the band’s own stamp of individuality on the album to give it added appeal. Plus, I love the fact that an American band is playing in this style and sounds different than the oft-mentioned Evanescence. Fans of Dream Theater, Epica, Within Temptation and Trans-Siberian Orchestra will enjoy what Cry of Eden has to offer.
2 The Prelude, Part I
4 The Prelude, Part II
5 The 11th Hour
6 One Last Hope
7 Echoes of Eternity
8 Eve of Revelation
9 Truth Beyond Reason
10 Finally Free
Lisa Mann - Vocals
Larry London - Drums
Don Graham - Guitars
Teri Untalan - Violin & Viola
James Borst - Keys, Orchestration & Composing
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