Speaking with my British Metal Musician and Fan’s hat on (available from all good retailers kids…), it’s slightly irksome that the UK has given little to the Metal World of major influence since the early 80’s. It’s OK, it’s fine, our lot put in the leg-work before then – let the rest of the world take a turn eh?
But that’s not entirely true is it? It might not have been particularly earthmoving over here at the time, ironically, but in the early 90’s while Southern England seemed to be worshipping American Grunge or burgeoning Death Metal, the North was cultivating it’s own underground misery. The grey, windswept, rain-soaked hills of West Yorkshire were the perfect spawning ground for My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, whilst the equally grey and drenched Liverpool threw Anathema into the mix. Those few initial years whilst each band was forming the basis of Gothic/Death/Doom Metal (call it what you will) have had a lasting impression on the rest of Europe – even though each of those bands has changed considerably since. I still hear their influence 20 years later, and Edenian have it too, in spades, along with twenty years of other genre-tweeking influences – this is Gothic/Death/Doom (call it what you will…still) 2014. Better produced, slicker, more European…and now, even from the Ukraine.
Plenty of other bands have pitched in since those early days and there are elements of Draconian, Ebony Ark and Swallow The Sun immediately evident in Ukraine band Edenian’s initial sound, with their harsh vocals over slow(-ish) heavy melancholy riffs, but as the album progresses the Gothic Metal slants of early Tristania, Sins Of Thy Beloved and early Therion unveil themselves. The band have many layers (come on, I’ve managed to get Anathema, Tristania, Therion and My Dying Bride into one review so far!) and although the combination of harsh male with operatic female vocals is nothing new, Edenian’s balance is much more to the male vocal. Also the female vocals aren’t always operatic – tracks like ‘I Desolate’ have a more ethereal quality to suit the even slower, even more melancholy feel of that epic track.
Epic really seems to be the goal of Edenian, every song has that “big” quality that you need in this style. If it’s emotional, it has to be VERY emotional, and there will be few bands in this genre that manage to pull off the intensity and sincerity that Edenian manage. The musical side of the band is the key of course (I’ve kind of covered the vocals). The guitar riffs are HEAVY! The lead-work melodious, but gloomy and the drums are solid (intellectually and sympathetically programmed – I would never have guessed that they weren’t real), with the bass slowly driving the whole thing. Nice touches like the synthesised violin on ‘A Farewell Rose’ are great mood-enhancers and to be quite honest, the fact that all the instruments bar the solos are handled by Max Molodtsov, is note-worthy indeed. The lyrics by the way, are all adapted from poems by Lord Byron, St. John the Divine, Bruce Baird and more, which is another nice touch.
On the whole this is impressive stuff that shouldn’t disappoint if you are already a fan of the genre. No specific song or passage leaps out, which let’s be honest, is the point of the band’s style. Edenian build a mood, a feeling, a big looming black cloud…and then make sure the thunder rolls, the rain pours and the lightning flashes, just that bit more than they allow the sun to break through. And THAT is the true spirit of West Yorkshire, Northern England.
(7/10 Andy Barker North Yorkshire, Northern England)