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Edenbridge - The grand design 4/5

Reviewed: 6-30-06


1. Terra nova
2. Flame of passion
3. Evermore
4. The most beautiful place
5. See you fading afar
6. On top of the world
7. Taken away
8. The grand design
9. Empire of the sun (bonus track)

Austria's own suspiria - Sabine Edelsbacher and guitarist/keyboardist Lanvall have engaged in the wild chase and hunt on sacred ground with their wings on the wind, following their perennial dreams; attempting to fly on a rainbow in starlight reverie. Terra nova excelsus conjures hopes and dreams revealing this most prepossessing palace of Eden, with its resplendent bridge reaching to the top of the world and beyond, radiating with the velvet eyes of dawn; that it may shimmer and shine over the undiscovered land. This grand design is a paragon of beauty and wonderment for evermore, for your eyes and ears only; like a sonnet sung for a moment of time in the rain or for a lifetime in Eden.

Edenbridge have existed for almost a decade having formed in 1998 from the shards of Cascade. This was the pinnacle time when female fronted bands were becoming exceedingly popular. Their earlier efforts like 'Arcana' & 'Sunrise in eden' were decorous and pure in heart, but they could not compare to the majestic material of Nightwish, Dark Moor, Within Tempation, or even the unique public glory/secret agony of White Skull. Now in 2006, when all of these benevolent bands have either lost their fervor or femme fatale, Edenbridge are in an propitious position to fly at higher game, with the kiss of eternity and shine on evermore. Each release just seems to improve, becoming more expressive and euphoric. I have not had the privilege to hear all the music from 'Aphelion' or 'Shine', but I have heard several tracks from each. The siren song of Sabine or the holyfire flame of passion played by Lanvall is just jostling and jaunty. The newest release 'The grand design' is just that, grand in its design and decorum. This magnum opus was recorded in only 3 months at the Farpoint Station studio in Austria, and at the Thin Ice facility in England by Threshold's Karl Groom (Power Quest), who also provides a solo on the opening track. There are several guest musicians including Dennis Ward, who has produced previous efforts, and Robby Valentine who contributes a myriad of vocal arrangements, as well as providing assistence with the choirs. A unique ingredient comes from the flamenco flourishes of Martin Mayr. Astrid Stockhammer, Arne's (Lanvall) little sister plays violin. The band truly reap the whirlwind, while forging this bombastic masterpiece. Thomas Ewerhard created the CD artwork to mirror the creative concept. According to Lanvall in an interview with Lords of Metal, "(The grand design) is about the beginning and the end of the earth and of life in general. Both opening and closing tracks "Terra nova" and "The grand design" are the macro-cosmos and the middle songs are the micro-cosmos, and express the different feelings that humans beings are running through." Napalm records plans to license and release this epic for North America audiences in the immediate future.

Edenbridge may not play fast neo-classical epic metal much anymore; but their music is still quite tenable and palatial. There are essentially no spiritless, vapid tracks on this release, when the final curtain falls, this is truly their most splendid spectacle. The limited edition digipack comes with the instrumental bonus track "Empire of the sun". The single for "Evermore" includes 2 awesome renditions of "For your eyes only" the James Bond soundtrack theme-song popularized by Sheena Easton in the early 80s. The title track itself is just a majestic undertaking, clocking in at just over 10 minutes. Since Lanvall writes all the music and lyrics, this song epitomizes the core correlation for the entire CD, and the bandwidth in general. With Sabine's sweet, vitreous vocals and eloquent pellucid quietus this is the perfect marriage of mettle and metaphysical superlatives. There is a triune division segmenting the song, each aria expressing an aspect of global culture and world music. First there is a celtic kindling and gaelic gallantry; next the arrangement is oriented toward ancient Japanese shinkiro acoustic accompaniments, followed by the Hispanic flamenco flair. There is a guitar sojourn in the mid-section which just elevates you to the most beautiful place in your heart. This song's effluential engagement is an eventide of eviction and conviction; a friction fresco frequently fricative; never tiring or tedious, ennobling and expressive with a pallet and foundation of blush and brindle to color my sky with it's cheyenne spirit and captivating qualities.

Overall this CD has my soul seized and taken away to the celestial skies. The mellifluent melodies take you back to the roots of reality, ever since time began, when everything beheld wonder, power, and magniloquence. A wealth of ideas mesmerizing and meaningful as far as eyes can see. 'The grand design' is itself a centennial legend.




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