Reviewed by Angie K. Released by Napalm Records in August 2017.
If you are a fan of female fronted symphonic metal, you know what to expect: music similar to Tarja Turunen, Evanesence, Epica. Exit Eden, a newly formed international band from four different countries, will completely meet your expectations in terms of vocal style and quality of pipes; however, this is not quite the kind of music you would expect to hear. If you are anything like me (fan of rock and metal, but not an ounce of pop music), you will end up wondering: this is a good tune, but why the hell does it sound familiar? …only to realise that its original belongs to some ridiculous pop star such as Backstreet Boys (‘Incomplete’) or even Lady Gaga (‘Paparazzi’).
This album could well end up being like marmite: you either love it or hate it. Rhapsodies in Black is a colourful compilation of international super hits. You will hear anything from Madonna to Depeche Mode. As the band claims, it became their unique plan to raise their very own edge: to show the world that almost every song classic can be transformed into a solid metal-rock song. Somehow they manage to achieve this. I absolutely loathe some of the tracks in their original version (prime example being Katie Perry’s ‘Firework’), and, yet, ironically ended up humming along their interpretation by Exit Eden, reluctantly admitting that, eh, yes, this isn’t actually too bad. They somehow manage to turn cheesy pop songs into real metal hymns.
This is a typical cover album, and yet doesn’t quite sound like one. It has its own taste and angle. The girls have chosen to turn some pop songs into melodic metal tracks – very finely done (Madonna’s ‘Frozen’, James Arthur’s ‘Impossible’, etc). Others, though, they have decided to keep as close to the original as possible (007’s ‘Skyfall’; Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse’), and they do it just as good. This is where they adopt the “normal” singing style and show that they do music just as any other vocalist and musician. This is when I am tempted to classify the CD as a cover/tribute album, as this is not where its strength lies. Where it is unique is the symphonic/opera/classical interpretation of pop and rock songs, making them beautiful and enjoyable for metal fans who wouldn’t normally listen to this type of music. This is where they prove that what they have released is not just another compilation of hits.
Intriguing, interesting and well presented. Fine, beautiful vocals, gathered from musicians with extensive history. All this makes it a very special project worth a listen – even if you are not quite into this type of music, just to broaden your horizons and demonstrate to you how things can be done differently.
Would this release remain on my playlist for a long time? Probably not: simply because these songs are not really my cup of tea. What is important, however, is that the idea and its realisation deserve all the credit they can get. Well done, girls; now go and make your own music, as you can shred and sing bloody damn well!
- Question of Time
- Total Eclipse
- Fade To Grey