Reviews by Woody and Julian Handley
Ed: It’s happened before. Our reviewers fight and fight and fight about album scores. You’d think they’d be all grown up about it wouldn’t you, but no! This time, Woody and Julian Handley refused to let the other review Symphony of Sin, the latest from Eden’s Curse (out now on AFM Records), all by themselves. And so there they sat, either side of the one desk in the office with four legs, staring each other down as they listened intently, breaking their gaze momentarily to make a quick note on what they were hearing.
It was quite the sight to behold, I kid you not. The only respite came when they were dragged away, fists a-flying and legs a-kicking, at the close of the album to type up their review in the solitude of their kennels. Y’know, for health and safety and all that. Anyway, press play on the video above, sit back and let battle commence.
First up, Woody’s wise words:
It has been a tumultuous few years for multi-national power metallers Eden’s Curse, which has seen the departure of original singer Michael Eden and his successor Marco Sandron. With a revamped line-up, the band return with their fourth album, Symphony Of Sin. Taking up the mic is Serbian Nikola Mijic and also joining is former PowerQuest Keyboardist Steve Williams following the departure of the insanely-busy Alessandro Del Vecchio.
I have struggled in the past with some of the progressive and more aggressive elements in Eden’s Curse’s previous output, so I have always sat on the fence with my appreciation of them. Symphony Of Sin almost feels like a totally different band to me in many ways. The most immediate thing is how much more commercial this album is as a whole in comparison to the older albums. Balancing symphonic, pompous epics with more straight-ahead hard rockers with a strong emphasis on monster melodies and hooks aplenty have really ticked all my boxes with the Prog touches very much less apparent.
You of course feel the Eden’s Curse vibe in the song writing. First single ‘Evil and Divine’ bears all the trademarks of what we have come to expect from the band. Outside of this track though they seemed to have stretched out their sound and have unashamedly gone very commercial. ‘Unbreakable’ is beyond radio-friendly and easily the most commercial thing they have ever released. It’s also one of the stand-out tracks on Symphony Of Sin and the lyrics seem to be very much about the upheaval in the Curse camp in recent times.
New singer Nikola Mijic is a very different type of singer to Michael Eden and is one of the most distinct changes in the sound of the band. A very smooth singer with a great ear for melody, Mijic has done well entering an established band in a very prominent role and making his own mark and the band has definitely found themselves a strong replacement. I’m a huge fan of PowerQuest so the recruiting of Keyboardist Steve Williams is very exciting as I loved the highly commercial keyboard-heavy nature of Steve’s writing; on a couple of tracks his style is apparent and the thought of him been more involved in the song writing on future Eden’s Curse records is one worth relishing. Paul Logue and Pete Newdeck sure know how to write an attention-grabbing hook and maximise impact through well-placed and well-balanced harmony vocals. One of the most obvious remaining traits is guitarist Thorsten Koehne’s instant and memorable guitar licks which harks back to the band’s beginnings but even they seem more streamlined and commercial.
A strong and consistent album, which sees the Curse go a little less power metal and a little more heavy rock with a mega dose of melody. The sound of Symphony Of Sin marks the start of a new chapter for Eden’s Curse and it’s a powerful radio-friendly start. The stronger commercial edge will win over more melodic rock fans but it still has enough power to appeal to power metal fans.
8 out of 10
Ed: Wise words from Woody there, I think you’ll agree. So let’s see what Julian Handley has to say on the matter shall we?
The eagerly awaited first release since the unceremonious split with the egotistical, control-freak Michael Eden is one that has had the battle-hardened soldiers of Eden’s Curse quaking in nervous anticipation in the hope that a new dawn delivers the goods. Since Michael Eden burst the exit door clean off its hinges, the future of the Curse looked pretty grim. But realising their immense talent, the remaining band members set about a quest to find a fitting vocalist to build on an impressive yet relatively overlooked discography. A careful and patient, selection process culminating in ten agonising months of auditions was brought to a conclusion, when it was announced that little known Serbian, Nikola Mijic was to become the new vocalist. Also joining Eden’s Curse is Welsh keyboard wizard Steve Williams (ex-Power Quest) who replaces session player Alesandro Del Vecchio.
With the injection of new blood, Eden’s Curse are on a more determined mission to succeed with a greater hunger than ever before. With the first listen to Symphony of Sin, the band appears to be playing with a noticeable freedom. And upon lending your ears to the opening title track, you know something very special has been created. Indeed, the instrumental intro to the seven-minute epic has the hallmark of perfection firmly stamped upon it, running for almost a full two minutes teasing with every chord as you eagerly await your first encounter with the voice of Nikola. Then the Eastern European power-pipes assault the senses as the vocals compete with a crescendo of heavy, melodic excellence. With Paul Logue (bass), Pete Newdeck (drums) and Thorsten Koehne (guitars) casting off the chains of slavery, they have served up the performance of a lifetime with a personal swipe at the former vocalist contained in the lyrics, ‘Divide us, Unite us, whatever it takes we believe in us’. Justice served. The energy surges on with ‘Break the Silence’, a heavy yet harmony-drenched belter of a track with a classic, sing along chorus. The guitar in turn wrestles with the swirling, tumbling keyboards whilst being mercilessly driven by the relentless drumming.
The production is crystal clear and exudes a dynamic quality fitting of the material presented. A massive sound, smooth delivery, and heartfelt harmonies, this release is without question the band’s finest moment. A mix of power and passion, heavy and light, the moody and emotive results in a uniquely well balanced AOR monster of the modern age. Of the thirteen tracks contained within the album, it’s safe to say that there isn’t a single filler. And the complexity and diversity displayed is deserving of greater attention this time around by a band that has been reborn.
8.5 out of 10
Ed: Only half a point in it. Who’d have thunk? And so, with the room tidy again, back in their boxes, these two reviewers are taking time to prepare for the next battle. In the meantime, check the band out over at these links:
- Symphony Of Sin
- Break The Silence
- Evil & Divine
- Fallen From Grace
- Losing My Faith
- Rock Bottom
- Great Unknown
- Turn The Page
- Sign Of The Cross
- Wings To Fly
- Devil In Disguise
- Where Is The Love?