Review : EDENBRIDGE – "Solitaire"

EdenbridgeSolitaire
Release Date: 2010Jul17 (US)
Label: Napalm Records
Rating: 4/5

Edenbridge are a great example of how a band may be grandiloquent, while functioning with common purpose.  In no sexist terms, placing a woman in front of a metal band is enough to send most running in the opposite direction.  There is a long line of mediocrity for every To-Mera and Nightwish, which fuels misogynistic ignorance.  Luckily, high-caliber class like Sabine Edelsbacher helps dispel notions perpetuated by self-absorbed hacks, whose names I shall respectfully conceal.  Oh, what the hell, here’s an anagrammatical hint:  she is evil in skirt.

Part of the Austrian quartet’s success lies in founder Lanvall.  Besides writing nearly everything and scoring the orchestral arrangements, he also plays the following instruments: lead, rhythm & acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards & piano, bouzouki, mandolin, and percussion frog (I have no idea where this last one surfaces).  It is so easy to get lost in the lush soundscapes, with a bevy of interesting harmonies that manage to balance each other out, rather than overpower.  Basically, Edenbridge never loses sight of the fact that they’re a band, however much attention may be drawn to a particular member.

I feel like this band is getting heavier, too.  Did they ever approach the thrashiness of “A Virtual Dream?” before?  One thing that certainly improves their delivery is the use of the Czech Film Orchestra in places like the title track (a trend that started a couple of albums ago).  And they can carry a song as punchy as “Come Undone” or epic as “Further Afield” with equal skill.  Unfortuanately, intro/outro tracks like “Entree Unique” and “Exit Unique” are inevitable when dealing with music like this-—and may be perfectly appropriate for anyone that wants to be sonically engulfed—but I recommend avoiding the bombastic bookends.

This band has persevered and evolved over the past seven albums into an impressive symphonic gothic metal ensemble.  I love to be pleasantly surprised by music I find reflexively off-putting, and on Solitaire, Edenbridge truly stand alone as leaders of the genre in their home country, and frontrunners in the movement worldwide.

FCC OK
Try: 2, 3, 6, 8, 9

01. Entree Unique
02. Solitaire
03. Higher
04. Skyline’s End
05. Bon Voyage Vagabond
06. Come Undone
07. Out Of This World
08. Further Afield
09. A Virtual Dream?
10. Brothers On Diamir
11. Exit Unique

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