Empires of Eden - Songs of war and vengeance 2/5

Reviewed: 10-9-09





Tracklist:

1. Dawn of fire
2. New hope
3. Empires of Eden
4. The reckoning
5. Throught eternity
6. Scars of innocence
7. Dark religion Blood of an angel
8. Blood of an angel Chaos in black
9. Chaos in black
10. Fires of torment
11. Black Endings/Echoes of oblivion


Empires of Eden is an "all star" project masterminded by Stu Marshall and primarily consists of songs never used while he was in Dungeon. It features numerous guest musicians from bands like Lord, Vanishing Point, and Enter Twilight to name a few. The vocals are handled by Louie Gorgievski (Crimsonfire), Mike Zoias, and Chris Ninni. I like Chris and Mike's vocals fine, but have to admit to finding Louie's vocals a bit hard to listen to - and therein lies my big problem with Empires of Eden since Louie handles the lion's share of the vocals.

Musically, Empires of Eden is pretty strong. It's melodic, catchy power metal with a bit of guitar hero worship thrown in. The lead guitar work is very good, with lots of spellbinding neo-classical solos mixed with nice harmony leads. The songs themselves are all pretty catchy and satisfying albeit occasionally stretched out too far. As noted my main issue is with the vocals of Louie Gorgievski who handles most of the singing. Empires of Eden's website compares him to Bruce Dickinson, but to my ears he most closely resembles Ricky Van Helden (Attack). The problem isn't that he is unskilled (he is), but that he has a nasal, whiny voice that just grates on my nerves and makes otherwise enjoyable songs less so. "The reckoning" and "Blood of an angel" are my favorite tracks by default, since they don't feature Louie's vocals.

The CD ends on a somewhat tepid note with closing tracks "Fires of torment" and "Black endings/Echoes of oblivion". The first is an excruciating 8+ minutes long and is a mostly moody quiet piece with spoken word vocals. The latter is a nondescript ballad featuring you-know-who on vocals. I just come away from the CD thinking that there is a great CD here, but it's marred by the execution. Having said that, I recommend everyone check out the band's website and judge for themselves. Vocal preference is often a personal thing and I suspect many won't have the issues with the vocals that I do. One thing's for sure, most of the songs are very strong, and with a different vocalist handling most of them, I would enjoy this CD a lot more.



JOHN




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