The somewhat misleading term ‘symphonic metal’ is usually where the complex rock of Edenbridge is pigeonholed…I tend to disagree as, when I bought my first album of theirs (Arcana in 2001) I couldn’t find a suitable, all-embracing term; instead, I classed them then, as now, as a power/progressive(not prog)/heavy/melodic band with a tendency toward classical. As that label doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, let’s just call them symphonic metal!
Throughout their existence, this Austrian band has always had a close and friendly relationship with their considerable fan base; so much so that for the ‘best of’ albums, they asked the fans which tracks they should include and ensured there were tasty rarities included. That was true of the first instalment, The Chronicles of Eden, which covered the first four studio albums and is true of the second instalment suitably titled The Chronicles Of Eden Part 2.
Covering albums five to ten, this twenty six track feast includes three previously unreleased acoustic versions of popular songs, adapted so that we can all appreciate the lightness of touch and compositional skills in the band…and, with the jazz flavoured piano work behind the vocals on the rather lovely (in both incarnations) Higher, it looks like another genre will enter my definition!
With so many tracks, I am restricting myself to selected highlights and leave it to you to see if you agree. The first is the already mentioned Higher; I love the duet of Lanvall’s piano and Sabine’s crystalline vocal…slow, not rock (symphonic or otherwise) but still quite beautiful. The original rocky version kicks the collection off, but I like this one better now.
If, however, you want to hear the full majesty of this band then the epic The Greatest Gift Of All paints across so many palettes that you can hear and feel what this band is really about. The same could be said for the fifteen minutes of The Bonding; this shows the symphonic side of their complex menu the best and has bombast, tenderness and vocal and instrumental prowess by the bucketload.
MyEarthDream Suite has long been a favourite of mine as the acoustic and electric guitar melange is inspired and inspirational (not that my clumsy fingers can replicate it…tried and failed!) and the orchestral passages brilliantly realised. The album concludes with MyEarthDream which has very little in common with the former except in name and, if you listen carefully, some clever melodies will echo through both even though this one is seriously heavy and typically lovely vocals and insightful lyrics from Sabine.
I have to also include the short and very sweet Inward Passage; less than two minutes of sweeping piano…a glorious interlude. The heavy rock/metal abilities are, perhaps, best appreciated on the excellent, riffy Mystic River; plus, after the horny symphony of the bridge, we get an example of sensitive, imaginative and (non-shreddy) complex guitar soloing that could and should have lasted at least half an hour!
I could go on, but the best thing to do is listen to it yourself without attaching any preconceived genre ideas…there’s lots to enjoy and, if you already own the albums and a sucker like me, it’s worth it for the unrealised stuff.
To conclude: the late great Ken Hensley wrote, “today is only yesterday’s tomorrow” sage words indeed that Edenbridge add to with the similar and equally essential “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift”…worth thinking about each and every day.
Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – A Wonderful album to give you a start on the catalogue of this wide-ranging rock band and a few bonuses if you’re already there.
01. Higher (3.51)
02. On The Other Side (4.51)
03. Shiantara (5.51)
04. Alight A New Tomorrow (3.53)
05. Until The End Of Time (4.35)
06. Shadowplay (5.24)
07. The Greatest Gift Of All (12.16)
08. Dynamind (Easter 2020 Version) (2.07) *previously unreleased
09. Brothers On Diamir (6.51)
10. Paramount (Acoustic Version 2020) (3.39) *previously unreleased
11. Tauerngold (5.36)
12. The Bonding (15.25)
01. Live And Let Go (4.30)
02. Mystic River (7.13)
03. MyEarthDream Suite (For Guitar and Orchestra) (6.47)
04. The Moment Is Now (4.23)
05. Skyline’s End (5.31)
06. The Memory Hunter (5.02)
07. Remember Me (3.38)
08. Inward Passage (1.19)
09. Paramount (4.21)
10. Higher (Acoustic Version 2020) (4.40) *previously unreleased
11. Into A Sea Of Souls (4.58)
12. Bon Voyage Vagabond (5.52)
13. Eternity (3.03)
14. MyEarthDream (12.37)
Current line up:
Sabine Edelsbacher: Lead vocals
Lanvall: Lead- & rhythm guitars, bass, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, piano, keyboards, orchestration, Dulcimer, Kacapi, Bouzouki, Mandolin
Dominik Sebastian: Lead- & Rhythm guitars
Johannes Jungreithmeier: drums
Stefan Gimpl: bass
(The iTunes run on track served up the superlative Edgar Winter and the (surprisingly) successful Frankenstein followed by a seventeen minute (yes, 17) glorious cover of Tobacco road.)