EDEN’S CURSE – TRINITY

Out now on AFM Records

“Trinity” marks the third strike from melodic metallers Eden’s Curse who to be honest are an outfit I’ve always had a hard time getting into.  Granted they have never delivered a stinker but on the flipside never really produced anything above average to these ears.  So it was with a little trepidation I approached “Trinity”.  Fortunately this is easily the best work to date from the band.

Aided by a strong production from Dennis Ward (who rarely fails to deliver the sonic goods), “Trinity” is a general cruise through enjoyable tracks with a keen sense of melody and upbeat delivery.

Vocalist Michael Eden will always be an acquired taste and his voice again doesn’t blow me away with its shaky pitch and lack of depth in vibrato; but he can pen a decent hook as exemplified on the standout cuts such as the title track, “No Holy Man” (with guest James LaBrie), the storming euro metal of “Dare To Be Different” and the darker Savatage feel of “Jerusalem Sleep”.

A tribute to Ronnie James Dio is served up with a cover of “Rock n Roll Children” where it would be unfair to compare vocals between original and cover, yet its a nice addition to the package.

Overall an agreeable release and recommended for fans of melodic metal.  Lets hope we get more like this on album #4.

Rating – 80%

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JORN – DIO

Out now on Frontiers Records
 
Jorn has taken a lot of flak for this album already. It may seem like a quick cash in but let’s be realistic, they had to have been working on this album long before Ronnie’s death.

Opening track “Song For Ronnie James” is extremely corny, a bit longwinded and lacking focus. All of the other tracks are covers of some of the tunes that made Dio the legend he is. Jorn has avoided covering only the most obvious songs (well, “Kill The King” is present) and gone for a couple of surprising choices. “Push”, Lord Of The Last Day”, “Sunset Superman”… Not the first tunes you expect on a Dio tribute, no?

Obviously production is impeccable, as are the performances of the musicians. Most renditions remain faithful to the original. It’s not like they’re going to improve the arrangements. Jorn himself does justice to the songs, at times outshining himself. No he doesn’t sound like Dio. Nobody does.

A fitting tribute to the biggest voice in rock.

Rating – 88%
Review by Sancho

SYMPHONY X – PARADISE LOST (ARCHIVE REVIEW)

Symphony X return after 5 years with the highly anticipated “Paradise Lost” which many fans hoped would see the band return somewhat to their classic “Damnation Game”/”Divine Wings Of Tragedy” sound.  It more or less goes without saying that the bands rapid fans will buy this regardless of what critics say so this review is aimed more for the un-initiated.  Simply said Symphony X have proved over the last decade or so that they are one of the best bands in the progressive metal genre and “Paradise Lost” is an excellent starting point for anyone yet to sample the bands brand of metal.  Gloriously pompous with lush orchestral keyboards arrangements by Michael Pinella, sublime guitar riffs and solos from one of Metal’s best players in Michael Romeo, a superb rhythm section of drummer Jason Rullo and bassist  Michael Anthony LePond all topped off with arguably one of metals best vocalists since Ronnie James Dio in Russell Allen

Instrumental opener “Oculus ex Inferni” is complex and film score like before “Set The World On Fire (The Lie of Lies” comes hurtling out the gates of hell with an intensity and purpose that it totally satisfying.  “Domination” begins with a complex bass guitar part which is then backed up Romeo and crew and it’s another all round sonic delivery with massive riffs, soaring vocals and a tightness rarely heard – this is metal with spirit and a highlight.  “The Serpents Kiss” repeats the previous tracks overall hugeness with its scolding main riff yet the band allow melody to also shine in tandem.  The title track “Paradise Lost” is another in the line of magical Symphony X compositions that the band throw into nearly every album which is a very special own brand of melodic progressive with numerous sections and beautiful melody which grows as it progresses and Russell Allen’s vocals are truly mesmerising.  “Eve Of Seduction” sees the band work through some complex instrumental patterns before another manic riff which even Pantera fans would get a massive kick out of.  “The Walls Of Babylon” is complex in arrangement yet quite digestible thanks to one of Allen’s best vocals on the album and its a definite highlight with all the Symphony X ingredients here in abundance.  “Seven” sees some neo-classical inflections which is sure to please fans of the bands earlier releases.  Here Romeo’s guitar and Pinella’s keyboards are unleashed to dramatic effect before Michael Anthony LePond lays downs a complex bass line, Romeo surprisingly delivers a very short and relatively simple solo before launching back into the main riff.  “The Sacrifice” sees the band return to grand epic majestic tone which again is a sheer sonic treat in all respects and another vocal master display from Allen.  “Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia)” ends the album on a definite high with a riff count high enough to win gold medal at the riff Olympics, yet luckily this is also backed up by more delicious melodies all topped with a grandiose extended middle instrumental section where each band member shines.

With “Paradise Lost”, Symphony X has made the album many fans felt they needed to make.  After 2 relatively ordinary albums (by their own standards) with “The Odyssey” and “V: The New Mythology Suite” this new work seems them return to the quality heard on their classic earlier albums yet with the best elements from the aforementioned “Odyssey/New Mythology”.  Simply said the wait has been worth it and this is an essential purchase for long-term fans and newbie’s alike.  Welcome back.

RATING  – 94%

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