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Eden’s Curse – Symphony of Sin
It’s probably fair to say that the past couple of years have been a rollercoaster ride of soaring highs and crushing lows for international Melodic Metal masters Eden’s Curse.
Back in 2011 the band released Trinity, their third and most successful album up to that point. It was quickly followed by a support slot on a UK tour with none other than the mighty Dream Theater. Just as it looked like the band was set to the cement its place in the pantheon of heavy music they were rocked by the departure of original vocalist Michael Eden. Disappearing off the radar for a while the Curse resurfaced the following year with a new singer, Italian vocalist Marco Sandron, and a new single and video entitled Time to Breathe. Unfortunately Sandron’s tenure in the band was to be short-lived and he was gone in a matter of months and once again the band was forced into a Hiatus.
Well here we are in 2013 and the Curse are back with a new singer, a new keyboard player and a kick-ass new album called Symphony of Sin.
Probably the first question on everyone’s lips is who is the new singer? Well it is in fact a young gent by the name of Nikola Mijic, a Serbian who has previously sung with Euro metal acts Alogia and Dreyelands. Vocally Mijic has a powerful clean tone with a decent range and is not a million miles away, in terms of style, from Journey’s Steve Perry. Mijic hits the ground running on the record’s title track opener and then proceeds to stamp his authority over the remaining 12 tracks in no mean fashion. It’s clear from the word Go that this guy is not prepared to live in anyone’s shadow.
The other new addition to the Curse Crew is English keyboard wizard Steve Williams who is a former member of both Power Quest and Dragonforce. Steve replaces the departed Allessandro Del Vecchio who reluctantly had to resign from the band to focus on his work as a producer and sound engineer.
So that’s the new additions to the roster dealt with but what about Symphony of Sin itself? Well the good news for fans of the band is that it is classic Eden’s Curse and, with the obvious exception of the new vocalist, it is immediately recognisable. All 13 songs are chock full of memorable melodies, soaring guitars and pseudo-religious lyrical themes. Sound familiar? I assume just about every Eden’s Curse fan will be sitting nodding their head emphatically in response to that question. Mainstay member and principal songwriter, Scotland’s very own Paul Logue, has put together a fantastic collection of songs that harks back to the late 80s glory days of the melodic metal scene and tips a reverential cap to bands like Dokken, Lillian Axe as well as more progressive outfits like Queensrÿche.
Putting aside Mr Logue’s songwriting talents for one minute I want to focus on what I believe is the glue that binds this whole record together and that is the extraordinary guitar work of Thorsten Koehne. Not only is he capable of shredding with very best of them when it comes to solos, but his rhythm work is second to none. He never compromises tunefulness and melody for the sake of complexity and that is a trick that many of today’s metal guitarists could learn from. TK’s fretwork is also perfectly complemented by the keyboard playing of newcomer Steve Williams who manages to utilise his synth almost as if it were another guitar as he duels with Thorsten for the listener’s attention.
The album isn’t without flaws, albeit minor ones. Sign Of The Cross is the one weak track on here in my opinion; it just really didn’t do it for me. I could also have done without the sound effect intros and outros used on some of the tracks. That’s a personal preference though and I would have the same gripe with any album that tried to utilise those kind of effects.
Symphony of Sin is without a doubt a great Melodic Metal album. It spans a range of styles; from the big-hitting metal numbers like Evil & Divine and Rock Bottom to ballads like Unbreakable, all the while retaining that signature Melodic Metal sound that the Curse are famous for.
But in my mind it’s even more than that; it’s a statement of intent. This is a record that says to the fans “we’re back and we’re not changing for anyone”, and let me assure you, if you weren’t Cursed before, you will be after this.