I am going to lose points for political correctness, but I often recall my old professor’s and Ph.D. advisor’s point of view on some of the Asian, particularly Japanese, scientific ethics. While pointing out their undeniable drive to succeed and work hunger, he often questioned their ability to come up with a seminal idea. His Japanese students were often brilliant in taking someone else’s proposal and perfecting it, but often wilted when the original plan had to be born in their own heads. Perhaps the old man was bitter, having been betrayed a few times by the Japanese postdocs taking ideas right out of our lab.
In modern metal the situation often repeats itself. Aside from Sigh, a truly original band, and noisemongers Boris, the Japanese offer little genre leaders, but have imitators galore. Shadow was one-and-done attempt to create a Japanese Arch Enemy, and now Lost Eden takes a stab at modern metal/metalcore of Massachusetts via Gothenburg variety.
Having sneaked into the Boston metal patent vault, Lost Eden come up with ten short, around 4 min long, groovy rockers, where their thrash is laden with breakdowns, harmonic guitars, proficient solos and hooky choruses. Sounds like something you can recognize straight from the likes of Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall? The picture is further complete when you hear vocalist Norio go from growl to vomitous shriek, his spitting out monosyllable word enunciation on Time Damages Me strongly reminiscent of Brian Fair and Howard Jones. To reach for more power Norio double tracks his vocals, but his clean singing leaves a lot to be desired. While not the whiny emo, some of his worst clean lines, with some weird croaking effect to boot, damage the playful thrash of Planetoid.
Lost Eden guitarists Adachi and Run can hold the rhythm, and play some decent melodeath solos and riffs, albeit not of their own original making. An interesting twist is the use of some ever so subtle electronics adding atmosphere in lead-off hit Squeeze, Equation 999 and Forsaken Last. In order to periodically get out of the box, Lost Eden go for slightly out of tune and stumbling acoustic instrumental on Sandglass (although its melodicism is nice) and experiment with keyboards and blasting on the closer Before Burning to Ashes. Female drummer Mako does not go 200 BPM, but at least whatever she does is possible to replicate live.
Original product or not, the Japanese know how to present it, so the stuff is ready for immediate market introduction. The songs on Cycle Repeats are Headbangers Ball prepared, and would fit right in with what an average American teen to mid-20s person considers the “killing” modern metal. The question is, however, as to what would be left if the production “makeup” is erased, but that issue I am sure would not be raised by many.
The truth is, if you are a fan of this type of material you could do a lot worse than Cycle Repeats. Lost Eden is confident and on-point, its songs are filled with catchy hooks (Squeeze, Forsaken Last, Story and Reality). So, as much as I would like to criticize this for the copycat syndrome, I have to refrain from knocking the album off on listenability and execution factors. Just deep down inside I wished In Flames and Arch Enemy not to be stepping on this commercially friendly slippery slope.
Killing Songs :
Squueeze, Forsaken Last, Story and Reality
|Alex quoted 64 / 100|
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