Empires of Eden - Reborn in fire 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-1-11





Tracklist:

1. Of light and shadows
2. Enter the storm
3. Total devastation
4. Prognatum ut obscurum
5. Reborn in fire
6. Beyond daybreak
7. Death machine
8. Searching within
9. Rising


Australian melodic power metal band Empires of Eden is quickly joining the ranks of top Aussie metal acts past and present, standing alongside Black Majesty, Crimsonfire, Deströyer 666, Virgin Black, Dungeon, Voyager, Eyefear and Vanishing Point on top of the mantle. Empires of Eden is a relatively new Aussie metal band, forming in 2008 but have already released 2 CDs. The first was released in 2009, entitled ‘Songs of war and vengeance’ while the 2nd is their latest; 2010’s ‘Reborn in fire’.

The man behind the band, the creator you might say, is ex-Dungeon guitarist Stu Marshall (he also plays bass guitar), a guitar legend around these parts and also quite well known internationally. The remainder of Empires of Eden include drummer Jason Manewell and vocalist Louie “Lewis” Gorgievski. Empires of Eden also have 2 session singers (Chris Ninni and Mike Zoias) who performed lead vocals on one track each on the debut CD and have also shared the lead vocals on the title track of the new release ‘Reborn in fire’.

There is an international flavour on the latest achievement by Marshall and the gang, recruiting some guest vocalists to participate on particular tracks. There are 5 in all – Carlos Zema (ex-David Shankle Group/ex-Heaven’s Guardian), Sean Peck (Cage), Steve Grimmett (Grimmstine/Grim Reaper/ex-Onslaught), Mike Vescera (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen/ex-Killing Machine) and last but certainly not least Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle/Machine of Grace/ex-Savatage). All 5 guest vocalists perform on one track each, while Louie Gorgrievski performs on 3 tracks on the new CD. The influx of so many varied vocalists gives off such a diverse sensation when listening to the CD, creating depth, mystery and maturity into the mixing pot. And it goes without saying that Stu Marshall is a guitar wizard on the release, with everything he does containing 100% passion, energy, exuberance and enthusiasm.

While certainly not a Dungeon clone, Empires of Eden is indeed Stu Marshall’s band. The excitement and intrigue surrounding the group that he has created with the inclusions of international stars has adamantly worked in his favour. The thing it all comes down to however, is quality; and that is determined by the 9 tracks. The CD starts off with the thundering “Of light and shadows” (featuring Mike Vescera) and with a hint of progressive metal flowing through the track, Vescera’s mighty melodic vocals and Stu’s impressive guitar work makes the opener the first kick-ass track right off the bat.

Sean Peck’s unique raspy-tinged high-pitched vocals soar through the track “Total devastation”, with the sound likeness very much to that of a typical Cage song, including crushing heavy guitar riffs and a brutal double-bass pummelling on drums. This one’s a sure fire, blood-pumping winner that will get the head banging furiously and rigorously. Next up is the mid-paced fury “Beyond daybreak”, featuring metal veteran Steve Grimmett. His bold and versatile vocals works well in any situation and this track is no exception. With another heavy blast from Jason Manewell’s drums, Stu Marshall goes on a guitar rampage with numerous solos and exquisite riffs.

The final 2 guest vocalist songs include “Rising” which features Carlos Zema and “Prognatum ut obscurum” which features Zak Stevens. “Rising” is the final track on the CD and is an emotional slower ballad-esk song, full of harmony and power, while the prog-laced “Prognatum ut obscurum” is another mid-paced track with crunching heavy and complex riffs. Zak Stevens makes the track his own, with emotional hearty vocals; and I truly believe that he is still one of the best vocalists going round right now. From the final 4 tracks on the CD, the best of the bunch (in my opinion) would be the speedy and frantic “Enter the storm” and the furiously heavy “Death machine”.

Overall, ‘Reborn in fire’ is an excellent and consistent melodic power metal release, not only infused with an international spice and appeal, but also with the Aussie hardworking grit and determination that made the abovementioned bands what they are. Stu Marshall is a tremendous asset to not only Empires of Eden, but also an ambassador to the other metal loving countries of the world and also an inspiration to local Australian guitarists battling to make a name for themselves. ‘Reborn in fire’ is highly recommended for any melodic power and progressive/power fans alike. Well done, Mr. Marshall and friends, you have hit the nail right on the head.



SEAN




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