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Edenbridge
Arcana
April 2002
Released: 2002, Sensory Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos

Although I have not read a lot of reviews of Edenbridge, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get slagged – unfairly – as a Nightwish copy band. To dismiss them on that basis would be a big mistake. Yes, they’re power metal; yes, they’re symphonic/melodic in nature, and yes, they have a female operatic vocalist, Sabine Edelsbacher; but Edenbridge delivers a powerful, punchy and utterly enjoyable slab of metal with ARCANA, one that this Nightwish fan would recommend as on par with the classic Finnish croonsters with whom they will be inevitably compared.



Things start off on the right foot with “Starlight Reverie,” a rollicking and ultra-melodic tune that manages to at least light the burners for what is to come. All of what follows remains firmly entrenched in a melodic mode, sometimes alternating from slower ballads (“A Moment Of Time,” “Into The Night”) to faster and indeed pretty powerful stuff, such as the album’s most energizing track in my opinion, “Color My Sky.” All of these tracks have a very bright, airy sound to them. I’m sure some metal fans will be turned off by that, but it fits well with the music here. From a band like Edenbridge, did you expect gut-churning doom riffs or something?



Edenbridge are generally good musicians. Ms. Edelsbacher has a good range and a healthy set of lungs, but she doesn’t seem to have quite the all-consuming power of some of her contemporaries. In practical effect that doesn’t end up mattering much here, since the production characteristics of ARCANA seem to cover for that most of the time. Guitars and keyboards are also excellent, though not groundbreaking. Edenbridge work together very well as a unit. With material like this, that is absolutely essential. You can’t have lone wolves and prima donnas in a band like this, and Edenbridge seem to understand that, to their advantage.



ARCANA is unlikely to make converts in the world outside of progressive/power metal and symphonic metal. It may not even make converts among the more die-hard fans of that N-band I mentioned before, although I think probably most aficionados of that genre in general will find something of value here. Edenbridge is good stuff on the whole and they’ve put out a very good album. Probably a good investment.
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