Released: 2010, Napalm
In December of 2008 I reviewed Edenbridge’s last effort (LIVEEARTHDREAM) and suggested it is a bit of a stop-gap until the new studio platter arrives on our table.. Well, here is the main course, SOLITAIRE. Initial studio reports were that the band were going to be slightly more melancholy this time around. I can certainly hear that trend, although it is a subtle difference. If anything this is a shade faster, heavier album than they have done in a while.
SOLITAIRE is a just slightly less symphonic and grandiose than the last few as well, most songs falling in the 4-6 minute range. After a short symphonic styled intro called ‘Entrée Unique’ (complete with swirling violins and choral voices) the band is off to the races with the title track. The band later revisits the musical theme on the instrumental outro called ‘Exit Unique’, book-ending the album nicely. The songs still have many elements of choirs and big back-up harmonized vocals are depth to the songs.
To my ears Sabine has the best operatic/soprano styled female voice in Metal. The band was very early in the female vocal/symphonic realm and don’t get enough credit. They were a part of the first wave of bands along Nightwish, After Forever, Within Temptation and so on, but are seldom acknowledged as such. Her voice is so sweet and her relaxed delivery makes it sound so smooth and easy.
The songs are engaging from the faster, heavier ‘Bon Voyage Vagabond’ to the more expansive ‘Skyline’s End’ the band go from strength to strength. Even the slower cuts are very fine, like ‘Brothers On Diamir’. That song initially showcases Sabine’s voice alone before gradually adding more elements like acoustic guitar and then eventually an increase in tempo with the addition of electric guitar.
Sonically speaking the album sounds great, Lanvall’s guitar are crunchy and show some taste and restraint in the soloing department, most songs coming across as quite elegant. He still writes everything as has always been the case. Edenbridge never gets too frantic or over the top, always heavy but maintaining sophisticated composure making for a seamless and engaging listening experience. The production is clear and loud, with lots of atmosphere, a nice mix and a good balance between guitar and vocals.
SOLITAIRE is the band’s seventh album and 10th release overall. It must be lucky #7 because the band has begun to chart in Europe for the first time, and wider-scale public recognition is long overdue. This would be a good album to start your collection with and I hope more and more people start to hear the magic in this truly under-rated band.