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Edenbridge - The Grand Design
The last time I visited Dynamo Open Air - in 2004 - a lot of bands played that I wanted to see. My major favourite, Dimmu Borgir, would play rather late in the evening, so I decided to take it slow on the booze and just check out several other bands. After seeing kickass performances and bad ones, I came to stand at the main stage where a band performed which I had admired for quite some time; Nightwish. Although the songs were awesome on record; heavy, melodic, head-bang proof; I had to conclude that this particular band didn’t belong at a festival like DOA although their performance was nearly flawless.

What does all of this have to do with Edenbridge, you might ask? Well, I can imagine that when people hear their songs, they’ll say something like: ‘hey, isn’t this Nightwish’? And that’s exactly what I am trying to pinpoint. Even though a band might seem like a perfect fit, it could be the exact opposite. Hence, Edenbridge is not ‘like Nightwish’, Edenbridge is Edenbridge!

Why Edenbridge called their style of music ‘epic angelic melodic metal’ is immediately clear after the intro of the first song ‘Terra Nova’. In choir-like parts the first words ‘welcome life’ are sung, followed by a heavy metal guitar riff. During the chorus the choirs come in again plus the base drum speeds up a tad to continuous battering while Sabine’s vocals form a soothing factor around all the sharp and heavy musical parts.

After the first full listening session, I picked out two of them which aroused my interest quickly. ‘Flame of Passion’ and ‘See You Fading Afar’ consist of catchy, up-tempo riffs that make you like them instantly. The ‘epic’ factor is strongly present in ‘Flame of Passion’, where melancholy and melody (mainly created through the use of soothing keyboards) collide into a firm and catchy guitar-oriented love song. Then again, is love-song really the correct word? Because no matter how melodic and catchy Edenbridge may be, it will always be metal. Therefore, ‘romantic hymn’ may be a word better suited for it.

The Grand Design also has slow ballads as well as an instrumental. The instrumental, ‘Empire of the Sun’, is a bonus-track. I couldn’t help but associate it with a children’s tune. The reason for that might be that I found it to contain little variation in riffs and tempo, thus forming a rather monotonous whole. The ballads are not my favourite kind of songs, but they do add atmosphere and depth. Plus, it is nice to have a diversity of songs on an album.
The songs are heavy metal, but the association with bands like Nightwish can be explained. The female vocals reach high notes, although seldom opera-like. And of course the atmospheric keyboards also create a gothic atmosphere, although the songstructures aren’t set to be as ‘dark’ as the ones of, for example… any real gothic band you can imagine. The most distinctive thing are the lyrics, though. Optimistic and dreamy, they stand in the opposite corner of the dark, romantic words of a gothic band.

Now to conclude this review: with an awesome production, well-composed songs that merrily stick in your mind and a singer who’s vocals distinguish the band from any other in the genre, Edenbridge have done a fantastic job on their fifth studio album. I’m confident enough to say that I’d like to see them play on the next edition of DOA!
Edenbridge - The Grand Design
78/1001Details Massacre Records
Released on Saturday May 27th, 2006
Epic Angelic Melodic Metal

Writer @Bastian Blackrain on Saturday May 20th, 2006

Tags: #Edenbridge
Tracklisting 1. Terra Nova (7:09)
2. Flame Of Passion (5:23)
3. Evermore (3:47)
4. The Most Beautiful Place (3:10)
5. See You Fading Afar (4:46)
6. On Top Of The World (5:05)
7. Taken Away (4:15)
8. The Grand Design (10:17)
9. Empire Of The Sun (bonus) (5:22)
Line up Sabine Edelsbacher - lead&backing vocals
Lanvall - lead&rhythm guitars, 6&12-string acoustic guitar, piano and keyboards, bouzouki, mandolin
Frank Bindig - bass
Roland Navratil - drums

Guest Musicians:
Robby Valentine - backing vocals and choirs on \'Terra Nova\', \'The Grand Design\' and \'Taken Away\'. Piano solo on \'Terra Nova\'
Dennis Ward - backing vocals and choirs on \'Flame of Passion\', \'Evermore\', \'See You Fading Afar\', \'On Top Of The World\'
Karl Groom - guitar solo on \'Terra Nova\'
Martin Mayr - flamenco and acoustic guitar on \'The Grand Design\', additional rhythm guitar
Astrid Stockhammer - solo violin on \'The Grand Design\'