Edenbridge - The Grand Design
Massacre Records
Operatic Progressive - Power Metal
10 songs (49'32)
Release year: 2006
Edenbridge, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Marty
From the multi-talented Edenbridge mastermind, Lanvall, comes yet another in a long line of solid releases from this female-fronted band. This Austrian epic and bombastic metal band has given us such great albums such as Sunrise In Eden and Arcana as well as Aphelion and Shine. The Grand Design marks the band's fifth full-length album and although they have wavered a bit in style over the years, have pretty much stuck to the melodic and progressive, neo-classical edged power metal. Aphelion, released in 2003 saw Lanvall and company taking a more traditional European power metal approach that was met with mixed reactions. Things got back on track with the follow-up album Shine but I've always had the feeling that they were still capable of doing better and hadn't yet peaked. One of the main reasons was trying to fit just the right balance of heaviness and melody to fit Sabine Edelsbacher's voice. With a strong angelic voice, the exact way to take full advantage of her unique talents had not been achieved. With The Grand Design, Lanvall has finally found a way to blend and weave the guitar riffs and melodic structure of his songs around Sabine's voice in a way that's both captivating and stunningly beautiful at the same time. With Nightwish on hiatus while still looking for a new lead vocalist, the time is just right for Edenbridge to finally emerge from their shadow and establish themselves as a world class female-fronted metal band.

This new album is written and produced by Lanvall with Threshold's Karl Groom having both recorded and mixed the album. He even contributes a guitar solo to the opening track Terra Nova. One thing that's right up front about this track and most of the album is the rich multi-layering of the vocals with Robby Valentine providing backing vocals and choirs for this track and several others. With Sabine's angelic voice and heavy guitar, this one takes on a very epic and operatic feel that has some proggy interludes featuring some explosive lead guitar work by Lanvall. Flame Of Passion continues with it's mid tempo feel and stuttering riffs. The chorus is catchy with solid melodies and more of Lanvall's expressive lead guitar work. Evermore uses more power metal styled riffing and combined with Sabine's soaring voice, works very well. The Most Beautiful Place brings us to the point where we witness one of the finest vocal performances ever by Sabine Edelsbacher. A hauntingly beautiful piano ballad, we witness the true form of the human spirit in an honest display of emotion through song and voice. Her voice absolutely soars on this one to the point where it gives you goose bumps and my only complaint...it's too short! See You Fading Afar gets back to the operatic power metal style with some classic heavy metal riffing with a track that has a decidedly neo-classical edge complete with epic instrumental interludes. On Top Of The World once again shows the result of the perfect blend of melody and voice with Sabine's vocals sprouting wings and lifting up to the heavens for the chorus to this track. With Taken Away, we get another haunting piano ballad with "swelling" orchestral interludes and leads into the tour-de-force title track. The Grand Design is a 10 minute epic that uses booming orchestrated riffing as well as lots of tempo changes including some very Pink Floyd-ish interludes and others that have a decidedly celtic feel. With some versions of this album, an instrumental bonus track entitled Empire Of The Sun is included. This one's a showcase for the awesome expressive lead guitar talents of Lanvall with some very David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Andrew Latimer (Camel) styled lead guitar playing with amazing use of root notes and arpeggios alternating between the "happy" keys of "D" and "G".

I've been enjoying this album very much over the last few weeks and the overall take on this one from my standpoint is that they've finally produced an album where everything comes together beautifully with no filler tracks. It's also more accessible and catchier from a melodic sense than ever before and would be a great starting point for those hearing the band for the first time. The power metal and heavy metal aspects are not overbearing either and although some might find this album a bit on the "soft" side, it still has lots of solid guitar riffs and amazingly expressive lead guitar work. Much better than the previous two albums (Aphelion and Shine) The Grand Design sees Edenbridge putting out some of the best material of their career. Continued progression down the path laid out with the style of this album will ultimately produce even better results. The best Edenbridge album is still yet to come.............

Killing Songs :
Terra Nova, The Most Beautiful Place, On Top Of The World, The Grand Design and Empire Of The Sun
Marty quoted 84 / 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 - Shine reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 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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