Eden’s Curse – “Cardinal” (AFM Records)
Battle Helm Rating
With a diverse line up from across Europe, Eden’s Curse are equally varied in their music although consistent in having bunches of melody and catchiness throughout. Think AOR, hard rock and power metal along with fusions and variations you’ll be getting close! Formed in 2007, the band have released an astounding five studio and a live album to date so it doesn’t come as a surprise that there’s a definite energy and upbeat feel to their material. Despite its cheesy cover (and no, that isn’t the band), there’s nothing tacky or puerile about the music on “Cardinal”, with the songs being tightly executed through well played musicianship especially in Nikola Mijic’s high n soulful vocals and Thorsten Koehne’s excellent, virtuosic guitar work. New members John Clelland (Code Of Silence) on drums and Finnish keyboard player Christian ‘Chrism’ Pulkkinen (Simulacrum, Adamantra) need no further invitation to make their mark and thanks to Dennis Ward’s (Unisonic, Pink Cream 69, Krokus, Angra) balanced mix, can certainly be heard doing so right from the opener of ‘Prophets Of Doom’ with its standout futuristic keys and mid tempo double bass drumming! Like I said, there’s plenty of styles here from the AOR Journey like ‘Sell Your Soul’ with its definite 80s sound made all the more sexier thanks to those crooning vocal harmonies and Paul Logue’s deep bass – and just check out his funky slapping on the kick ass hard rock of ‘Kingdom Of Solitude’! ‘Messiah Complex’ is definitely a heavy track with its pumping drums and heavy riffs reminding me of Kamelot while ‘Utopian Dreams’ is power metal along the lines of Avantasia with Mijic’s dexterous vocals effortlessly handling the changes. This is even more evident in the duet with Liv Kristine on the radio friendly AOR of ‘Unconditional’ although my personal fave in ‘Rome’s On Fire’ really captured my heart with its passionate chorus and Koehne’s slick guitar as well as being yet another heavy number! Compared to previous releases, “Cardinal” is more technical and definitely heavier which really works for me, and its a real credit that the band haven’t compromised on their quality, scrutinizing each track over two years for its hooks, lyrics and sound to meet with their clearly high standards, resulting in some of their best songs to date!