Edenbridge – “The Great Momentum” 2CD (Steamhammer / SPV)
An Austrian symphonic metal band, Edenbridge have been around for close to 20 years and delivered a respectable 8 albums during that time, being recognized internationally – even in far off exotic places like Vietnam, where they are scheduled to perform on Vietnamese national TV this year! Centered around the composing talents of Lanvall, a multi-instrumentalist who plays Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Bass, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Nylon Guitar, Piano & Keyboards, Hammered Dulcimer and Bouzouki, the vocal delivery is carried by the astonishing range of Sabine Edelsbacher, a natural singer who while being classically tutored, is not an opera singer. Together they form the symphonic splendor of Edenbridge, bringing spirited melodies into the power of metal that go well beyond the reach of their genre to reach wider audiences who would probably balk at the idea of being into rock. That said, Edenbridge are not a commercial band, far from it in fact and rather for connoisseurs appreciative of superior compositions executed through masterful performances. Opener ‘Shiantara’ has a stylish film score feeling like something out’ve James Bond, with big orchestrals from the Junge Philharmonie Freistadt laying the groundwork for Edelsbacher’s soulful vocals, although you could almost imagine the number confidently without them, and indeed, that’s exactly what the 2nd bonus CD is made up of – all 9 tracks as instrumentals! It doesn’t take long for the power to get injected though as ‘The Die Is Not Cast’ soon comes raw riffing in, yet with Edelsbacher’s serene vocals unbelievably sitting comfortably alongside clearly showing that the musical interaction between her and composer Lanvall is in perfect synchronicity along with his fluid neo classical guitar work – awesome!! Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T., Nordic Union) guests splendidly in the duet with Edelsbacher on ´Until The End Of Time`, a smooth ballad flowing with heaps of passion and delicate melodies from Lanvall’s strings, proving that even with a new voice, the material accommodates this comfortably and without effort. But for me the pièce de résistance had to be the masterful ‘The Greatest Gift Of All’, a 12 minute concerto that finished off the album perfectly. Made up of different pieces, in its quieter moments you can feel Edelsbacher touching your heart with her voice, with Lanvall gracing through subtle keys then more prominently via wailing guitars, added to by heavier choirs and dark horns during its more dramatic moments. Elsewhere, the piece illuminates through uplifting and heavenly melodies, as drummer Johannes Jungreithmeier gently ups the pace with some light double bass drumming as Lanvall takes center stage for a moving solo passage before it all comes together for the faded ending. A perfect finale. The embodiment of symphonic metal equilibrium, Edenbridge have delivered another ambitious album that is so seamlessly connected I can see why East Asian audiences are lapping it up!