7.5 out of 10
It seems that these days, well really since the thrash and true metal scene of the 80's/early 90's stopped being part of the mainstream media, a lot of what is often called metal in the US has almost nothing, if even anything, to do with true metal. I'm not saying that there weren't any true metal bands in the US, I'm saying that most of what was called metal by music outlets were as far from metal as can be. We've had the grunge of the early to mid 90's from bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, the nu-metal scene of the late 90's to early 00's from bands like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Korn, and now we have the whole hardcore/metalcore and emo movements from bands like Atreyu, As I Lay Dying, Bury Your Dead, AFI, and Fallout Boy. But one thing they all have in common is, that they were some of the worst bands and trends to ever curse the metal scene. Those bands make glam look good by comparison, which is quite a feat!
Now that some of my bashing needs have been released, I can continue.
It now seems that there are some bands in the US that are sick and tired of these trends. One example is Chicago's Eden's Fall. Instead of the hardcore cliches being thrown up all over them (like with the aforementioned "core" bands), such as chugg-a-chugg riffs, pointless breakdowns every other second, gang vocals that somehow manage to still sound wimpy, girly whining that is supposedly "emotional" which cries out about their girlfriend from high school dumping them etc. Eden's Fall opts for thrashing riffs, galloping drum work, ripping guitar solos and the like on their 2006 album, Harmonies Of Lies.
There are many parts of the album that will make you think of the more recent material from thrash veterans like Exodus and Destruction as well as some Swedish style melodic death metal.
The riffs are razor sharp, heavy as hell, melodic and actually pretty technical at times. Somewhat reminiscent of the more modern thrash metal releases.
The lead guitars are also quite impressive. They hearken back to the melodic death metal scene of old, when bands like In Flames and Soilwork still had solos that would just make you go "wow". There are even some acoustic guitars and soft guitar strumming that are used very effectively throughout the album. The tone of the guitars is also very clean and crisp.
The rhythm section is very well done. The bass is pretty good and adds a lot to the weight of the music. The drum work is fast, but doesn't just rely on simple, non-stop double bass patterns and crappy breakdowns like the trendy bands today all seem to.
One thing that I don't really enjoy too much are the vocals. They sound pretty good in some places (check out the album's second track, Planet Hate), but they remind me too much of Rob Flynn from Machine Head in other spots (check out the album's first track, Blur The Lines), whom I happen to hate for the most part. Although this guy is far better than Flynn. There are times when he sounds a little similar to Schmir from Destruction, which I have absolutely no problem with. Eventually, you do get used to the vocals though.
The songwriting is pretty good. There are a lot of interesting melodies and the music can actually get pretty complex at times. The band makes good use of tempo changes with more dramatic/somewhat epic guitar harmonies, soft guitar strumming and acoustic guitars.
On the first few listens, this may sound like a rehash of the more modern thrash albums of the past few years, so I did not really think too much of it at first. But the more I've listened to it, the more I can hear that this band is trying to do their own thing and make their own sound. Granted, a lot of the riffs will remind you of modern Destruction, Sodom and even bands like Arch Enemy and Dew-Scented, Eden's Fall makes sure to add some variation in their sound. I am also impressed that this is a somewhat new band and the music is quite focused and seems like they know which direction they are interested in going. Not to mention that they are also very good musicians. Trivium fans, if you want to know what a real modern thrash band with talent should sound like, listen to Eden's Fall. This is no rehash of Metallica riffs that were never even so great to begin with.
The album is far from groundbreaking, it may not be the greatest thrash metal album ever released, and it will probably not be the nail in the coffin that will finally kill off the "core" scene, but it is definitely an album worth checking out. I also think they deserve respect for not wasting their skill on playing the crappy trend metal that the even once amazing, legendary bands like In Flames and Soilwork are playing around with. Eden's Fall plays metal the way it is supposed to be, loud, unapologetic and full of power and energy.
A solid thrash metal album, 7.5 out of 10. Enjoy.