Tomorrow's Eve - Tales from Serpentia 4/5

Reviewed: 6-12-09





Tracklist:

1. Nightfall
2. The years ahead
3. Dream diary
4. No harm
5. Remember
6. Succubus
7. Warning
8. The curse
9. The tower
10. Faces
11. Muse


For the 2nd time this year, I've been very impressed with a progressive metal CD. The first time was with Seventh Wonder's phenominal 'Mercy Falls', and now Tomorrow's Eve's 4th CD 'Tales from Serpentia' becomes the 2nd. Both of these high-quality CDs are released through the popular Lion Music and I don't consider that to be a coincidence, as I believe the label has picked these fairly original and high-caliber bands out of the many in existence. Since the label isn't entirely known for their progressive metal bands, Seventh Wonder and Tomorrow's Eve will definitely bring something special to Lion Music. Thankfully, the label is great at providing worldwide distribution, so 'Tales from Serpentia' is easily available to fans around the world.

While Sweden normally provides the high-quality progressive metal bands (like Seventh Wonder), surprisingly Tomorrow's Eve is a German band. This is especially surprising for me, as I'm used to the heavier German power metal bands like Wizard, Gamma Ray, Stormwarrior, Paragon and so on. Plus, while Tomorrow's Eve can easily be labeled progressive metal, some of their sound could be considered pure melodic metal, and the band overall has a unique style that will not only bring something new to Germany, it will offer diversity worldwide.

'Tales from Serpentia' is a concept album (dealing with psychological problems) and the CD as a whole is somewhat dark and even dramatic. I should mention that there is some narration (spoken words) at the beginning of some of the songs, and at the end of others. I'm personally not a big fan of narration, but I don't think there's too much of it on display here and I guess it does help move the story along. Anyway, know that not everyone will be pleased with the narration, but others may appreciate it.

Musically, the CD wanders between soft and aggressive, and it's actually quite heavy/crunchy for being progressive metal, yet is melodic throughout. There are some moments on the CD that remind me of Evergrey (another Swedish band), and others that remind me of the aforementioned Seventh Wonder, but there's definitely not one particular direct band comparison, as it's a truly unique listen. I wouldn't call this an overly complex CD, but it remains interesting and, for the most part, isn't rhythmically simple. Guitarist Rainer Grund is superb, and not only is the guitar work catchy, there are also some fantastic solos. There isn't a lot of speed present, but unless you're purely a power metal fan, this will be fine, since the CD is heavy enough to satisfy. Keyboardist Oliver Schwickert mixes things up nicely, providing both atmospheric parts and some terrific solos (upfront in the mix) as well.

Just like the music, vocalist Martim LeMar can be both soft and aggressive. His performance is excellent too, matching the quality and variety of the music. My favorite songs are the very heavy/catchy track 4 "No harm", the emotional track 5 "Remember", and the intense track 10 "Faces". The closer "Muse" is nearly 20 minutes in length, but is actually one of my favorites too, as it changes direction many times, but in an interesting (as opposed to unsettling) manner and is a powerful finish to a consistently excellent CD.

Though Seventh Wonder's 'Mercy Falls' has hit me harder than this (that CD will probably end up in my top 5 for the decade!), what we have here is a CD that brings us something a bit fresh and certainly of high quality. There's know doubt that they'll be a hit here in the U.S. (if they aren't already), and since 'Tales from Serpentia' is easily available, their talent can be shared with many.



CLINT




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