Edenbridge - Solitaire
Napalm Records
Symphonic Power Metal
11 songs (52:46)
Release year: 2010
Edenbridge, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Vrechek

I could make a lame joke about how Edenbridge's new album Solitaire is like the eponymous card game, but I'm a little too miffed at the band to think of something clever right now. The only other album I've heard by this band is 2008's MyEarthDream, which I listened to a few times then wrote off as a second-rate Nightwish clone. I picked this promo in the hopes that it would either blow my mind with how much they've improved or confirm my earlier predictions as to their predictability.

It started out cool enough. On first listen Solitaire sounds catchy, heavy, and epic. What more can you ask from Symphonic Metal, right? Some goddamn originality for one thing: Solitaire is about as generic a face you can put on the sub-genre as any other dime-a-dozen female-fronted string-and-choir-backed barely-Metal band. The whole album is unadventurous, taking cues from the Nightwish's Once school of simple, down-tuned power chord riffing with frilly symphonic layering and restrained vocal performance. While it isn't nearly as lame as the aforementioned Once, it still doesn't make a very good case for itself when there are bands that do the same style much better (Therion and After Forever to name a couple). Yes, there are solos aplenty on this album, and that elevates it from complete drudgery in the Metal realm, but most of the riffs are so boring and predictable that you end up listening to the album more for the orchestrations than for the guitars. That's not necessarily a horrible thing if you're not fussed about hearing a balls to the walls Power Metal album, but when judging it on such a scale it falls short by quite a bit. Vocals are almost not worth mentioning: They sound, as I said, restrained in their range, power, and conviction. Functional, but not fantastic by any means.

The first song after the intro, Solitaire prepares you for an album-long abuse of very noticeable thank you very much verse-chorus structure. It's not a bad opener, but I usually expect something a little better for the song that's supposed to hook and keep you for the rest of the album. The second song, Higher, is almost nauseating in its pop-rock-stylings. Things pick up a little bit for Skyline's End, which has a nifty folk-sounding solo section and a cheesy but effective bridge. From there the middle of the album just drags on and on, the formula rarely varying in any way and almost defining the term filler with its drudgery.

The album finally starts to get (marginally) better with Further Afield's decent riffs and solos, a subtle symphonic presence that allows the guitars to do a little more, and managing to be suitably catchy with regards to the vaguely Eastern feel. It's a little too late at this point to be pulling out a good mid-paced Power Metal song, being track eight and all, but luckily it's followed up by a faster number, the best on the album: A Virtual Dream. This song has what the rest of the album lacks: ballsy Power Metal riffs, intense and pounding drums, and a commanding vocal presence. It's followed up by a slow but still good closer, Brothers On Diamir.

Three good songs. Three good songs in a row at the end of the album. I'm sorry, but if your band isn't even adept enough to put just one of your best songs at the beginning of your album, you don't really deserve any sales. Okay, so Edenbridge isn't any worse than your average Symphonic Metal outfit, but that's just it! They're not any better, and we as listeners should expect more than just barely competent.

Killing Songs :
Further Afield, A Virtual Dream, Brothers On Diamir
Vrechek quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Edenbridge that we have reviewed:
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 - 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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There are 4 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:21 pm
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