Images Of Eden - Sunlight Of The Spirit
Nightmare Records
Progressive Hard Rock/Metal
12 songs (55'04)
Release year: 2006
Images Of Eden, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Marty
Images Of Eden is a progressive hard rock outfit from the U.S. that originally got it's start by as a one-man project by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Gordon Tittsworth. Using a session drummer, he recorded the band's first independent CD entitled Chapter 1 in 2001. Determined to build a quality, touring progressive rock act, Images Of Eden has gone through several members before settling on the current line-up for their second release Sunlight Of The Spirit and their first release for Nightmare Records.

Images Of Eden exists as a three piece band for this disc and besides Gordon Tittsworth (vocals, bass and keyboards), the band also consists of Dennis Mullin (lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards) as well as Matt Kaiser (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Combining some of the best elements of progressive hard rock giants like Fates Warning, Queensryche, Yes and Rush, Images Of Eden covers a lot of ground from classic 70's influenced prog rock to more modern prog metal with lots of metal flavored guitar riffs from the more than capable fingers of guitarist Dennis Mullin. The prominent guitar riffs on the opening track Kaleidoscope are a prime example. With a mix of tempos, some catchy riffs and the Geoff Tate/ Ray Alder vocal style of Gordon Tittsworth, this stuff really reminds me of 90's era Fates Warning especially their Parallels and A Pleasant Shade Of Grey albums. That same Fates Warning guitar style is also very evident with the track Aladdin featuring a chunkier, guitar driven sound and some splendid wah-wah guitar leads. Beyond The Horizon ups the ante melody-wise with a very passionate and emotional vocal delivery over a mix of quiet and heavy passages and more of the catchy guitar riffs. Rush and Yes influences are evident with tracks like To Live Another Day and A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Alex Lifeson and Steve Howe flavored guitar riffs and colorings. Other album highlights include Dream Catcher with it's slow and trudging heavy riffs, soaring vocals and many tempo changes that include the use of piano and synthesizer giving the track a classic Marillion feel. Solid riff-driven prog metal is on the menu for Midnight's Tide, a track that includes a mix of speedy and mid tempo segments as well as some great synth and heavy guitar interludes.

Easily the best track on the album, the title track Sunlight Of The Spirit is split into three parts (Part 1 - Emerald Rain, Part 2 - I Remember When and Part 3 - Through October Skies). With lyrics that deal with someone who seems to be living in the past and is often too reflective and nostaglic about what once was, he finally is able to let go of the past and look to the new skies and the life that is now ahead. Part 1 - Emerald Rain slowly builds using orchestration and passionate vocals by Gordon Tittsworth and finally explodes in heaviness as it morphs into Part 2 - I Remember When with it's guitar driven Fates Warning style. The song finishes with an acoustic flavored October Skies featuring solid vocal melodies and some very tasteful lead guitar fills.

Images Of Eden does their best work with the longer, more progressive rock influenced material rather than the shorter, heavier prog metal styled tracks. They show maturity and a solid grasp on the progressive hard rock genre and don't barrage the listener with excess technical wankery or excessive odd time signature use. Musically, there's very little to find fault with. The only real problems for me are the vocals on a few tracks and the choice of melody to accompany the track. Although vocalist Gordon Tittsworth's vocal range and style is very similar to a younger Geoff Tate and Ray Alder, it doesn't share the same maturity and strength. Although he gets full marks for passion and emotion in his singing style, there's little variety in his delivery and very often sees him straining to reach the higher registers. Seeing that Gordon Tittsworth writes all the music for Images Of Eden, using another vocalist is probably out of the question. Besides that, all of the band members are involved in the design, photography and layout of the CD cover and inside artwork. They seem like a tightly knit bunch that is in it for the long haul. With some changes in the singing styles of Gordon Tittsworth and not straining his voice so much, this band would then have all the elements to be a heavyweight in the progressive hard rock/metal genre. Make no mistake though, there's some seriously solid stuff here on this album and enough to keep my interest until their next album.

Check out the band's MySpace Page for a few full length samples.

Killing Songs :
Beyond The Horizon, Dreamcatcher, Sunlight Of The Spirit and Midnight's Tide
Marty quoted 72 / 100
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