Eden's Curse - The second coming 4/5

Reviewed: 4-10-09





Tracklist:

1. Reign of terror (intro)
2. Masquerade ball
3. Angels & demons
4. Just like Judas
5. Sail on
6. Lost in wonderland
7. West wind blows
8. Signs of your life
9. Man against the world
10. Raven's revenge
11. Lost soul, games people play
12. Ride the storm


I've never been a massive fan of the melodic metal genre. Too often, it veers too close to AOR/hard rock territory for my narrow-minded tastes, and conjures up the long-bygone days when I reflexively cursed and turned off the radio whenever Bon Jovi or Cinderella came on. Back in the 80s, it was "us" against "them". The "us" were the few, the proud, the strong, the true metalheads. The "them" were the posers, the hairspray'n'mascara crowd, the vacuous poppy chick-magnet shopping mall acts that got passed off by the chain record stores, radio and MTV as heavy metal in those days. It seems ridiculous now to think in such black-and-white, categorical absolutes, but that's how I honestly saw the world then. So it was with some shame and embarrassment that LPs like Dokken 'Under lock and key', Scorpions 'Love at first sting', White Lion 'Pride', or KISS 'Asylum' wormed their way into my record collection under cover of darkness during my high school days. The existential moral dilemma I faced was that some of this melodic hard rocky stuff was actually quite good, heavy enough in the guitar department to appease my metal mind, even as it was hooky and polished enough to attract the dreaded, loathed and despised Winger and Warrant bandwagons. So it goes to this day. I assiduously avoid much of the "melodic metal" segment of the heavy metal marketplace, but have a profound weakness for bands like Axel Rudi Pell and Pink Cream 69, as well as some of the wimpsters from the 80s that are still kicking around (Dokken, Scorpions, White Lion, etc.), so long as they've got big guitars, big hooks, and monster vocals.

All of that said, this Eden's Curse 'The second coming' CD is among the few recent melodic metal entries to earn my seal of approval. This multinational act features members from Germany, the United States, and England, including renowned keyboard maestro Ferdy Doernberg (Rough Silk, Axel Rudi Pell, etc.), powerhouse American vocalist Michael Eden, guitarist Thorsten Koehne (who used to play with Ricky Van Helden in 90s German metal saviors Attack, if you can believe that), drummer Pete Newdeck (who has worked with legendary vocalist Steve Grimmett) and bassist/songwriter Paul Logue. Behind the scenes, the cast of characters is even more impressive. Backing vocals on this CD are supplied by an all-star ensemble, including Eden, Logue, TNT vocalist Tony Harnell (a genius at backing vocals, as evidenced by his phenomenal work on the Riot 'Inishmore' CD), Evidence One singer Carsten Schulz, and journeyman singer Doogie White (Cornerstone, Yngwie, etc.). Production duties are handled by knob-twiddler extraordinaire Dennis Ward (sort of the melodic metal producer equivalent of Roy Z or Andy Sneap). And the band scored a guest vocal performance from Pamela Moore (aka Sister Mary of Operation Mindcrime fame) on one cut. So the talent involved in 'The second coming' is undoubtedly of the highest caliber.

As I said before, my criteria for a successful melodic metal CD are big guitars, big hooks and monster vocals. Eden's Curse deliver on all fronts. Koehne's guitars are thick and crunchy, are the foundation of every song, and thankfully are placed high up in the mix. Some of his riffs recall Accept, Sinner and Dokken, just to give you a sense. In the "big hooks" department, 'The second coming' is a winner too. Killer songs abound, and from the very first listen I found myself singing along with tracks like "Lost soul", "Just like Judas", "Angels & demons", and so on. From traditional sounding stompers to midtempo melodic rockers to beautiful ballads, Eden's Curse have great songs covering the entire spectrum of the melodic metal genre. And let me pause for a moment to recognize the exceptional vocal performance of Michael Eden. He may not quite be at the Johnny Gioeli level (with apologies to Rob Rock, Gioeli is truly THE voice of melodic metal), but he's not far off either. As David Readman is to Pink Cream 69, so Michael Eden is to Eden's Curse: a fantastic singer who can deliver full-on power, delicate emotion, perfect control and a firm grasp of the nuances of every vocal line. An ordinary song like "Lost soul" is rendered utterly enthralling by Eden's sublime voice, backed up by the Harnell/White/Schulz troika.

I guess what it comes down to is this: If melodic metal isn't your thing, then 'The second coming' can be safely avoided. If you're a total melodic metal nut, then you probably already own this CD and if you don't, you should stop what you're doing and run out and buy it today. If you're like me and are interested in only hearing the very best that the melodic metal genre has to offer, then 'The second coming' fits that bill. I don't like it quite as much as Pink Cream 69's overlooked 'In10sity' CD, but I'd be hard-pressed to think of any other new CD from this genre I've heard in the last 12 months that has impressed me as much as this Eden's Curse CD has. As the weather warms up and I tool around town in my mighty metal Toyota Yaris with the windows down and sunglasses on, 'The second coming' will be a frequent companion in my CD player. It's that kind of CD.



KIT




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