Released: 2005, Black Lotus Records
Hailing from the northern U.S.A. (Minnesota to be exact) Under Eden play melodic death/thrash metal. The band formed in 2000 and were able to get their debut album, THE SAVAGE CIRCLE, out in 2005 via, the now defunct, Black Lotus Records.
Of course, mentioning melodic death/thrash I’m sure a lot of people are automatically registering that as the dreaded Gothenburg, though it’s not completely within that realm. Under Eden don’t really bust out the dual lead guitars and attempt to serenade you, they’ve taken actual death metal and actual old school thrash metal, melded it together and given the sound a slightly interesting melodic take. Sometimes the music is rather “epic” in nature and at times it’s violent, but containing a certain melodic sense that, well, makes sense. One horrible thing the band does, which they really shouldn’t, is use clean vocals, they are absolutely atrocious on “Behind Blue Eyes” (no, not a cover). The overall tone of the album is rather lacklustre, the recording sounding very amateur with lots of open space and almost sounding like a demo.
THE SAVAGE CIRCLE starts off strong with “Six Feet Under Eden”. The choppy opening rhythm works well to allow the drums something to work under as well as change and morph. The main verse riff comes in shortly and while it’s not terribly impressive, a lot of the following riffs aren’t too shabby. The song generally works in a faster tempo but the band quickly show they can switch tempos, without much trouble. “Zealot” is the highlight of the album, showing the band has an incredible amount of potential. The riffing is somewhat epic, especially the riff that first comes in at 0:36, while still retaining the death/thrash sound. The drums work in a rather straight thrash beat for much of the song that does well to accent some of the faster riffs as well as the mid-paced thrash riff at 2:10. The band seemingly knows when to change and progress the song for maximum effect.
Both “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Veil of Twilight” suffer greatly because of the horrible clean vocals. The clean vocals are not strong at all and have no confidence behind them and it really detracts from the songs. Although it isn’t only the vocals that makes “Behind Blue Eyes” a weaker track, the metalcore tinged riffs are not something to be happy about and reek of a band still trying to figure out what they want to do. When it comes to the last half the album, nothing stands out and it seems as though the band ran out of ideas by the end of “Curse Made Flesh” so it’s rather nice to have a solid song like, “Most Low Gods” end off the album as it’s definitely the band sounding at their most confident.
Under Eden are still young and inexperienced and it shows. They do things, like the clean vocals, that are beyond their capabilities and don’t play as well to some of their strengths. Plus it feels like the band ran out of steam not too far into the album. While there’s promise shown on THE SAVAGE CIRCLE, this isn’t an album worth picking up… maybe when the sophomore release comes out Under Eden will be a band worth talking about.