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Review: Edenbridge - Aphelion

Label: Massacre Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 52:23
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal


Review online: March 22, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 3.19/5 (63.75%) (16 Votes)

What we have here is the 3rd CD from Austrian "Bombastic Angel Metallers" Edenbridge. This is a band that has released three first-class albums, managing to raise the bar on songwriting and performance a little each time, and "Aphelion" is no let-down. Lanvall and Co. have once again brought forth a superlative disc of their signature orchestral, faintly proggy power metal.

The first thing that hits you with opener "The Undiscovered Land" is that Edenbridge have kicked up the heaviness a bit. Not a lot, but just enough. It sounds good too, as when the crunchy riffs hit on "Fly At Higher Game" and the oddly-titled epic "Red Ball in Blue Sky". Edenbridge don’t normally induce headbanging, but they do a fair share here, and it adds some much-needed punch to their sound.

Now fear not, for the band hasn’t changed their sound that much. The differences between "Aphelion" and "Arcana" are more subtle that overt. Besides the aforementioned increased heaviness, there’s a more mature and introspective turn to the songs, with more use of minors and odd chord progressions that gives a slightly more melancholy vibe to the album. (Witness the mind-boggling riff from "Red Ball") There are still Sabine’s beautiful vocal lines, but the recording method on her vocals must have been different, using longer takes would be my guess. She sounds just as good as she ever did, but she sounds like a human instead of an angel, with more emotion and soul than before, and even the occasional mistake. As a whole the production on "Aphelion" is looser and heavier than "Arcana" and that much more emotional for it. In places "Arcana" was too perfect, like music assembled by elves in zero-g, but "Aphelion" has more heart.

The songs are pretty much all between 4-5 minutes, excepting "The Undiscovered Land" and "Red Ball in Blue Sky" (Which features a duet with ex-Royal Hunt singer DC Cooper) which are longer. I miss the sprawling progressive feel of "Arcana", but I can’t argue with the high quality of the music here. At its best, "Aphelion" is the best stuff Edenbridge have done, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

The CD package is as good as we have come to expect from this band, with a beautiful cover painting and a very nice layout inside. Lyrics are very good, though not always comprehensible. Band pics show Sabine looking cute as ever, and the rest of the band looking like the Scowly Triplets – what’s the matter guys, did your dog die?

This is another excellent Edenbridge CD, showing a lot of growth and maturity in all the right places. They have managed to improve without changing the style we know and love, and if they keep on this way, I see no end in sight for this stellar band.

Standout Tracks: The Undiscovered Land, The Final Curtain, Fly At Higher Game.

More about Edenbridge...
Review: Arcana (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: MyEarthDream (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Shangri-La (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Shine (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Solitaire (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Sunrise In Eden (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Grand Design (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Great Momentum (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with Lanvall (Guitar/keyboards) on May 5, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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