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Old 03-29-2012, 12:17 PM   #1087 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Trinity --- Eden's Curse --- 2011 (AFM)


Well, talk about a cosmopolitan band! No, I don't mean they all read mags on how to satisfy your man in bed, idiot! Lead singer and I guess namesake for the band, Michael Eden, is a native of the US of A, while his bandmates Thorsten Kohne (guitar) is from Germany and Alessando Del Vecchio is, from --- anyone? --- yeah, Italy. The two other members of Eden's Curse come from the UK, so that's four nationalities in one band. Interesting. This is their third album, their debut self-titled having been released in 2007. Eden's Curse base themselves in the UK, and are best described as a mix of melodic metal and heavy AOR.

The album kicks off with an instrumental opener, “Trinitas sanctus”. Now, I don't know latin, but I think even I can hazard a decent guess that that translates to “holy trinity”, but it's weird, with spoken vocal lines that seem like they're taken out of some movie or something, someone closing a door, walking upstairs, then a powerful choral vocal and synth, with an aria that seems ripped right out of Arena's “Opera fanatica”, though maybe that was not originally theirs. It's short, only a minute and a half long, but seems totally pointless. Unlike Axxis' “Paradise in flames (intro)” which opens the album of the same name, it's not an overture, it's not an introduction; in fact, if anything, it sounds closest to those rather annoying intermezzos you find on some Kamleot albums. Very confusing.

However, your confusion is quickly forgotten as the title track blasts its way out of the speakers, with tight hooks, catchy melody, powerful AOR-style guitar and banks of keyboards as the song rocks along with perhaps odd lyrical content: ”Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost/ Which is the one you fear the most?” I guess on first listen you might think, hey-ho, another christian metal band, but I don't think that's the case. I don't think Eden's Curse are trying to convert, just using unusual themes in their songs. In any event, it's a powerful opener and certainly gets your attention, with a great guitar solo from Kohne and clear, punchy vocals from Michael Eden, great, well-timed backing vocals too, and then we head into “Saints of tomorrow” (yes, I know, but I'm fairly sure they're not God Squad material), with a short flurry on keys before the guitars take the song in, and then some solid piano backs more excellent close-harmony vocals in another radio-friendly metal song that just has you punching the air and singing the chorus ”We are, we are/ The saints of tomorrow!”

The keys under the control of Allesandro Del Vecchio really carry this song, and I'm gratified to see that Eden's Curse are another band who follow the school of thought that says why play more than one instrument? Just be exceptional on what you're best at. And they are. The solid rhythm section of Pete Newdeck on drums and Paul Logue on bass really do form the backbone of the songs, while Kohne looks after all guitar duties with consummate ease, leaving his keyboard playing bandmate to excel in his chosen instrument. Over it all strides, like some general surveying his troops before the battle, the controlled and disciplined vocals of Michael Eden. Everyone here knows their job, and carries it out to the very best of their ability, leaving no weak links.

The religious imagery continues in “No holy man”, a rock cruncher that stomps and pounds along, kicking up dust as it goes. Great keyboard lines, superb vocal harmonies --- which seem to be one of the main hallmarks of this band --- and carefully timed guitar riffs fashion this song into a real classic. In fact, that seems to be one of the main strengths of Eden's Curse, their almost telepathic sense of timing, each member intuitively aware of exactly when to come in, and when to hold off, in any one song, so that no-one crosses over or grates against anyone else. To demonstrate that understanding, there's some fine interplay here between Kohne and Del Vecchio, and it works perfectly.

But what do metal bands do best, better often than even pop bands? Yep, there's a ballad on the way, denoted by some seriously symphonic keyboard work from our man from Italy, joined by lovely acoustic guitar and then piano, as “Guardian angel” gets under way, Eden proving that though he has without doubt a powerful set of lungs, he is just as capable of reining that voice in and reeling off a tender love song with the finesse and heart of Bon Jovi, Gary Hughes or the late Brad Delp. As ever though, it's the incredible vocal harmonies that really add the extra layer of warmth to this song, fashioning it into something destined for stadiums and rock arenas across the world, should Eden's Curse make the big break that, on the basis of their third album, they deserve.

Powerful, emotional guitar solo from Kohne, a little reminiscent perhaps of Poison's “Every rose has its thorn”, though not in any way copied from it, but it's Del Vecchio's soulful keys and piano that really create the theme on which this song rides along. Should have been a classic. Back to rockin' rollin' and riffin' then with “Can't fool the devil”, some great organ from Signor Del Vecchio powering the track along, Eden's vocal raw and unbridled on a real headbanger, evoking the likes of Axxis, Balance of Power and the great Dio, then “Rivers of destiny” opens on deep, humming synth as the guitar comes up slowly, then Del Vecchio switches to organ and then piano as the song gets going, with snatches of Journey and Bon Jovi in its makeup.

Although respected metal website Encyclopaedia Metallum has Eden's Curse listed as melodic heavy metal, I'm not so sure. For me, they're more in the AOR side of things (and I mean that as a compliment), with the likes of Millenium, Balance of Power and Night Ranger. They are heavy, yes, but I find their melodic elements far outweigh their heaviness, as it were, putting them more in the style of a heavier Bon Jovi or Europe really. But there's no doubt they're one hell of a band, and I wonder why I haven't heard of them before? No, I don't: there are tons of bands out there whom I'm sure are great and I have yet to hear, but you would still think with quality like this they would have at least troubled the charts by now.

Big, heavy guitar opening with accompanying organ riffs to get us into “Dare to be different”, which hops along at a great pace, some lovely keyboard melodies throughout the song, a sumptuous guitar solo from Thorsten Kohne, more flawless vocal harmonies, then we're into “Children of the tide”, with piano, acoustic guitar and flute sounds on the keys which makes this sound like it may be another ballad? Aching vocal from Michael Eden, joined again by those by-now-familiar harmonies, minimal percussion, humming synth... hold on, what's this? Sharp, heavy guitar riffs and the drums come pounding in as the song looks to be taking a left turn...

Yeah, now it's more a cruncher than a ballad. Driven on the dynamic guitar work of Kohne, it's certainly taken off, though I have to admit I could live without the child's voice right at the end. Still, it's a small complaint, and on we go into “Black widow”, a fast rocker with heavy prog overtones and a lot more metal leanings than anything else on the album so far. There's a lot of eastern influences brought to bear on this track too, and you can definitely see the impression Dio have made on these guys, Eden even sounding a little like the great man on this song. Scorching guitar solo propels it along, while the keys keep up a very Night Rangeresque melody behind Kohne's flying fingers on the frets.

Keeping the eastern influences, “Jerusalem sleeps” is another rock cruncher with what sounds like sitar, but is probably made on Del Vecchio's keyboard, and at six and a half minutes it's the longest track on the album. Four minutes in it kicks into second gear, Pete Newdeck's drums firing off a real salvo to take the song to the next level, while Kohne joins in with a precision burst of guitar fire, then it slips back into its previous groove, the perfect vocal harmonies taking the song to its shattering conclusion.

The album ends on a cover, and considering the obvious influence Dio have had on Eden's Curse, it's not that surprising that they choose to cover one of RJD's standards to round off an excellent album. Taken from an album I don't completely rate, it's nevertheless one of the better tracks on “Sacred heart”, and they put in a spirited and fervent rendition of “Rock'n'roll children”. Of course, there's no way anyone will ever sing Dio better than Dio, but it's a very impressive attempt, although I would have preferred one of their own songs to close the album.

Another important find, “Trinity” gives the lie to this myth about downloading music. I would never have known about, or bought, this album except for the fact that I happened to download some guy's metal collection, and within in was this album. Even then, I have listened to little of that collection, and it just so happens I decided on this one to review, hoping it would be good. It wasn't. It was great. But I would never have known about it if it wasn't for those bane of the record label execs, torrents. Now I'm going to buy all their albums, so how can that be seen as exploitation or freeloading? Really, torrents can be a great way to get into new music you wouldn't otherwise have known about, and Eden's Curse are the proof of that theory.

Well, whether you torrent, purchase or borrow a copy of this album, make sure you listen to it, as I firmly believe that bands like Eden's Curse are the future of hard rock and melodic rock. If you ignore my advice here, and fail to hop on this locomotive now, don't be surprised when it hammers through your town and you curse your luck for not having a ticket. All aboard!

TRACKLISTING

1. Trinitas sanctus (intro)
2. Trinity
3. Saints of tomorrow
4. No holy man
5. Guardian angel
6. Can't fool the devil
7. Rivers of destiny
8. Dare to be different
9. Children of the tide
10. Black widow
11. Jerusalem sleeps
12. Rock'n'roll children
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