Edenbridge - Aphelion
Massacre Records
Melodic Power Metal
11 songs (57'29)
Release year: 2003
Edenbridge, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Crims
Album of the month

When speaking of Edenbridge, immediately images of Nightwish come to mind. Indeed, these are two similar bands; both bands have female singers who sing in an operatic style, both bands have a similar keyboard sound, and both bands are heavily melodic. However, despite these striking similarities Edenbridge do break the mold of a Nightwish copy band with quality song writing and a certain touch to the music that just makes it feel like Edenbridge, and not Nightwish. Hell, I hear just as much Stratovarius in them as Nightwish.

Their last release, Arcana, received mixed reviews. Some enjoyed it and others didn’t, there wasn’t much middle ground. I personally liked it, however, as even the major fans of the CD will admit, it did sound a little wussy. Unfortunately, Aphelion falls into the same trap, though depending on your tastes this will be a bad or a good thing. With that being said, the guitar sound is a little beefier and the drums seem a little more powerful in the faster tracks. Ballads aside, most of the tracks on here are speedy, if not slightly progressive. Which makes it kind of interesting that the band opens up with The Undiscovered Land, which features a lot of build up and progressive tendencies, which in turns provides us with an excellent ending to an above average song. With Skyward, however, the band plays their most typical style: fast, melodic Power Metal. This style works very well for the band, as it’s easy to pick out some of best songs on here: Perennial Dreams, Deadend Fire, and Fly At Higher Game. These tracks are all much in the same vein as Skyward, although don’t think they just rehashed themselves. It’s just simply that a similar tempo is used, but of course, those progressive tendencies do show up with some clever breaks and extended solos as well… so nice variation in the song writing is present and thanks to the quality musicianship, the songs don’t get boring or tired, assuming you like this kind of Metal to begin with. Three ballads are also present: The Final Curtain, As Far As Eyes Can See, and Where Silence Has Lease. The Final Curtain is a darker track with really good keyboard work and vocal melodies, meanwhile, As Far As Eyes Can See puts the wuss meter off of the scale, and lastly, Where Silence Has Lease is definitely the best of the bunch as it has a slight folk feel. As with any ballads on a Metal CD, you either like ‘em or hate ‘em. So if you can’t stand ballady type stuff, don’t even bother, but then again, if you do like a well done ballad here and there mixed with heavier and faster stuff, then you should enjoy the break in the music. Aphelion ends with Red Ball In Blue Sky, which features D.C. Cooper (Silent Force) as a guest singer. Cooper has an excellent voice and his duet with Sabine is fantastic. The actual song is 9 minutes plus and is very progressive. It also features the most obvious musical reference to Nightwish via the keyboards.

I had mentioned the quality musicianship, and with good reason. Sabine has an excellent voice; it’s not quite as operatic as Tarja from Nightwish, which is a good thing because it gives Sabine her own feel, and most choruses are very catchy. The keyboards are the other highlight, using very symphonic synth, piano, and epic melodies that layer very well with the music, as they don’t overpower the guitars and lend quality textures to the music. The guitars, drums, and bass are semi-technical at times and are very tight from a rhythm stand point. Moreover the production is solid, with no complaints in that department.

Surprisingly, or maybe not so, the bonus track, The Whispering Gallery is actually the weakest. It is not really a bad song, but it has that more-of-the-same feeling. One of my only complaints come from influences Edenbridge should have explored more. On The Undiscovered Land there is a decidedly middle-eastern feel to the guitars and it worked very well. I think it’s an influence they should use more often, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming but just a slight feel on a more regular basis would do a lot for the band. Also, this CD may not have enough “balls” for some of you and while there is no filler or stinkers on here, there are a handful of songs I definitely prefer over the others. Otherwise this is a commendable, early in the year, offering into the Melodic Metal camp and it will be interesting to see who can beat it. But be warned, this is not for everyone, be weary of the flowery content within.

Killing Songs :
The Undiscovered Land, Skyward, Perennial Dreams, Fly At Higher Game, Farpoint Anywhere
Crims quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Edenbridge that we have reviewed:
Edenbridge - Solitaire reviewed by Vrechek and quoted 65 / 100
Edenbridge - My Earth Dream reviewed by Pete and quoted 84 / 100
Edenbridge - The Grand Design reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Edenbridge - Shine reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Edenbridge - Arcana reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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