Edenbridge - Shine
Massacre Records
Operatic Progressive Power Metal
11 songs (59'56)
Release year: 2004
Edenbridge, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Marty
Austria's Edenbridge are back with their 4th studio album. Last year saw the release of the live CD/DVD set Livetime In Eden, recorded while on tour in support of their last album Aphelion. I was first introduced to this band with their Arcana and Sunrise In Eden albums; both of which I enjoyed very much. The operatic and progressive edge to their brand of power metal was unique even though many have unfairly called them a Nightwish clone. Aphelion, released in 2003, saw the band taking a more speedier and heavier power metal approach to their sound and the results, at least to my ears, were less than favorable. The very thing that made this band unique was tossed aside in favor of an album that aside from a few tracks, was simply another speedy and generic power metal album but with female vocals. Reviews were mixed and in comparison to both Arcana and Sunrise In Eden, it just simply didn't match up to the quality of either of those albums. The band's new album Shine, thankfully sees the band returning to the sound of Arcana and Sunrise In Eden and building on the foundation laid down on those two excellent albums. Still at the helm of this band is guitarist/songwriter Lanvall as well as the angelic voice of Sabine Edelsbacher. Bass player Andreas Eibler has left the band and has been replaced by Frank Bindig. A second guitarist will be used on the upcoming tour in support of Shine which begins in February with a European tour with Angra and Manticora.

With the recent success in the last couple of years of such female fronted bands like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence, it's pretty obvious that with this album, Lanvall and company have targeted this album for that particular audience. All the essential ingredients are there as far as the Edenbridge sound but this time, the progressive edges have been softened, the arrangements more simpler and there's more of a gothic and melancholy edge to their music this time that's quite likely to result in a much wider appeal. The opening title track, Shine is a prime example of this. With it's slower and pounding heavy orchestrated sound, Sabine's voice has a more gothic flavor. The verse sections are simpler and more streamlined and the chorus gives the song a certain catchiness to it. Lanvall lays down some great melodic lead guitar on this one as well. The almost "fragile" nature of Sabine's voice in the face of an otherwise very heavy backing track may seem a bit out of place to some. The same thing came to mind with the track Wild Chase. The march-like celtic flavored riffs complete with violin accompaniment set the atmosphere for a great sounding track that Sabine's voice just doesn't quite gel with. Move Along Here, with it's Eastern flavored riffs complete with sitar and guitar is a more up-tempo track with some speedier sections and features a "lighter" and more commercial edged chorus section with lots of melodic hooks throughout. Centennial Legend begins with a beautiful angelic vocal from Sabine accompanied by piano and has a Blackmore's Night baroque/chamber music style. The track gets heavier for the chorus and features some great building lead soloing by Lanvall. This track again points out the more simpler approach to songwriting that they've taken with this album.

The progressive styles of earlier albums makes appearances on tracks like And The Road Goes On and the 2 part track The Canterville Prophecy/The Canterville Ghost. And The Road Goes On uses a slower hypnotic pace with a dreamy vocal style that eventually gets faster and heavier and is highlighted by great guitar interludes and leads. Sabine's vocals blend perfectly with the track and the result is one of the better tracks on the album. The Canterville Prophecy is a short eerie and haunting intro to The Canterville Ghost, a track with a very busy arrangement that uses richly layered vocals. There's lots of variety on this track and with Sabine's passionate voice, this is Edenbridge at it's best. October Sky uses some Stratovarius style speediness with the fast guitar and drums sprinkled with keyboards and features some Yngwie (Trilogy) style pull-off riffs. The melodies are great with this track and it has a solid catchy chorus. A couple of the "moodier" tracks are What You Leave Behind and Elsewhere with the former being a lighter sounding track with some heavier parts and Elsewhere being a haunting ballad with Sabine accompanied by piano and orchestration. For the European release, the bonus track On Sacred Ground is included (Anthem for the Japanese release). A very touching and haunting track; it mixes acoustic guitar segments with heavier ones and again, Sabine's voice just soars.

In comparison with their last album Aphelion, this album's a much better effort and a more varied one as well. Sabine's voice sounds as great as ever and this time, they've taken advantage of her amazing voice and written music more suited to her singing style. There's still a couple of instances where I feel her vocal style is a bit out of place with the style of music but overall, an outstanding effort. I really like this band a lot but I still believe that they would be better off concentrating on more moodier and atmospheric compositions and leaving the speedier power metal style to the hundreds of other bands out there already doing that. Sabine doesn't have the strongest voice but it still has it's unique qualities and the band would be better off playing to her strengths. Edenbridge has released easily their most commercial sounding and accessible album of their career in hopes of expanding their appeal and riding the wave of popularity of female fronted metal bands. The target has been set.......Let's see if they hit their mark....

Killing Songs :
Shine, And The Road Goes On, October Sky and The Canterville Ghost
Marty quoted 82 / 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 - Aphelion reviewed by Crims and quoted 94 / 100
Edenbridge - Arcana reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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