Released: 2001, Sensory
Hailing from Austria, Edenbridge is primarily the brainchild of guitarist/keyboardist Lanvall. Lanvall previously released three guitar instrumental albums (released in Germany) and Edenbridge is his new vocal band. Looking at this CD made me excited…the artwork, band photos; song titles and even band name itself screamed power metal. As I thumbed through the CD booklet…the first thing I noticed is the band has female vocalist…”…hmm interesting, I wonder if she sings like Tarja in Nightwish” I thought. The second thing I noticed was Mr. Lanvall’s “perm and gelled to perfection” hairdo. “This guy should be in a hair care product commercial” was the extremely deep thought that next entered my mind. :-)
OK, so joking aside, lets get what matters - the music. The CD begins with a typical but cool intro on the albums best song “Cheyenne Spirit”. Beginning with a guitar melody line, then the backing guitars pick up as the double kicks come in and the melody line continues on…like I said, typical, but still cool. Finally the vocals come in and right away I was disappointed. Where is the “oumpff”? Where is the POWER? Some guys will see vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher’s pretty picture and say “oh she’s so pretty and she has this darling angelic voice”…yes she does…but it’s sugary sweet, better suited to light pop, not metal!! Her voice is unnervingly the same on just about every song - never going too high, never low, never aggressive…always the same. She would make an excellent back-up vocalist, but not the lead vocalist in a band like this. For anyone who thinks this is like Nightwish, it’s not at all close! The music is completely different and the vocals are more pop orientated NOT opera. Besides the vocals on here let’s get to the actual music. The strong points all come from Mr. Lanvall – the guitars and the keyboards. The soloing is great!! The band’s music is not typical power metal either. For example check out “Sunrise In Eden” with its Chinese sounding intro and mid-section interlude. This is not something I’ve heard on a metal song before (“I Think I’m Turning Japanese” was a rock song not a metal song hehe). The ballads on here “Forever Shine On”, “In The Rain” and “Take Me Back” are not even “metal” ballads. All are total pop ballads, the type of slow sappy ballad that I do not like at all (and I DO like some ballads)! The more you get into this CD the more you will realize this is not all that heavy. The track “Holy Fire” sounds like an 80’s melodic hard rocker. “Wings of The Wind” starts out like it is going to be the best track on the album. After this short but cool intro the song slips into clean guitar accompanied by tiny angelic vocals…it lost me right there and only again caught my interest during the middle of the song where there is a progressive sounding section then solo. “Midnight At Noon” is another example of a great song, nearly as good as album opener “Cheyenne Spirit”, one of the album’s more upbeat tracks that is again ultimately spoiled by the vocals. The album closer “My Last Step Beyond” is a 10minute plus track that begins out very promising with sort of a Dream Theatre feel. The song wanders into different territories and does not drag out too much as it meanders along through different sections making for one of the albums better tracks and a nice way to close the album.
Although I like some of the material that Edenbridge have I do have some problems with this CD. They make bands like Stratovarius or Rhapsody seem brutal! So who’s gonna like this stuff? Obviously someone out there must like it a lot because the album has been getting good reviews in many of the European publications (for example 8.5/10 in Germany’s esteemed Rock Hard!?!). If you like some power metal but find most of it too speedy and too heavy for your tastes and you like melodic/angelic female vocals then you will love this band!!
More information on the band can be found on their official site at: http://www.edenbridge.org