Released: 2012, Lycan Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
For the record, symphonic metal, and female operatics make my mosh-addled brain cringe somewhat. When UK-based Winter In Eden’s Echoes Of Betrayal quietly slipped through my letterbox though, I pacified said brain with the promise of the hard stuff later and swept it clean of misgivings.
Their third release since Winter In Eden’s formation in 2009, Echoes Of Betrayal is not quite as bleak as its, or the band’s, name make out. Grand grinds against grit, heavy riffing makes way for strings; the album is a slippery customer that might at least tempt the average listener to take a bite of.
‘Possession’ kicks off with a horribly-school-glockenspiel sound, but when these parts tone down the song could easily be the one to catch the commercial ear. Just lose the plinky-plonky please. The solo on ‘Trapped’ nestles itself perfectly into the heavier song, and gives something for the standard ‘metal’ fan to lock into, whilst the haunting and atmospheric ‘Eyes Of A Child’ slows the pace right down until you almost feel as though you’re revolving in the midst of its spell.
‘The Awakening Chapters III through V’ is the continuation of a concept laid down in Winter In Eden’s former album called the Awakening funnily enough. In the context of Echoes Of Betrayal all three tracks flow beautifully in sequence, each a chapter snippet in its own right that doesn’t rely on the before or after, but to bring them together with those of Awakening adds further fuel to the thought process.
It seems like an odd complaint to make, but whilst the vocals are stunning on Echoes Of Betrayal, the inflated nature of the genre and the powerful voices at its forefront, means that you can imagine Vicky Johnson being drowned out by those more operatic forces. Shifting away from glass-smashing pitch though is what makes Winter In Eden a more interesting contender. In example, the groove of ‘Lies’ and sexy turn to Vicky’s voice makes it one of the album’s stand-out tracks for me, and by showcasing another way for symphonic vocals to work, it’s one I’m likely to return to.
Winter In Eden deserve to be recognised, and whilst it’s not a fall on the same scale as Adam and Eve’s, it’s not something that I’d really have expected myself to say. The darkest parts may resonate to leave you with a shared cold feeling, but in essence Winter In Eden are closer to the clarity of winter’s beauty than its unpleasantness.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs