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Tartarean Desire

Discussion in 'Eden's Fall - Reviews' started by Eden's Fall, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Eden's Fall

    Eden's Fall METAL

    Dec 9, 2005
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    Eden's Fall - Harmony Of Lies
    Nothingheart Records, 2006


    Three years after pre-production of the album began, two and a half years after the start of recording, Eden's Fall released Harmony of Lies in January 2006 on their own label, Nothingheart Records. The long germination of this Chicago-based band's debut was a result of both setbacks and the pursuit of perfection. Their dedication to making the album as strong as possible is evidenced not only by the amount of time spent but by their decision to have it mixed by Dan Swanö at Unisound and mastered by James Murphy at The Saferoom. A blend of traditional heavy metal and US-style thrash with some death and prog, Harmony of Lies is touched by the influence of various bands--Overkill, Testament, a little Iced Earth, Forbidden, and Arch Enemy, among others, but its stylistic mixture and lyrical themes are most reminiscent of Nevermore, albeit with less elaborate orchestration and less stellar musicianship.

    Eden's Fall's music is comprised of some fine individual elements: a militant beat set by mid-tempo double-bass drumming, dual-guitar heavy riffing and harmonies, good (though not dazzling) solos, moody and atmospheric passages, intensity, and intelligent lyrics--but to absorb the words listen closely; otherwise, you'll have to put up with the supreme annoyance of the letter-by-letter vertical printing in the booklet. The badass tone created by the music is pleasing, but the vocals send it too far over-the top. Although John Barr has been compared to Warrel Dane, the only significant similarity I hear is in the vocal melodies themselves. Aside from the exclamatory inflections he sometimes uses and an occasional slight raggedness in his otherwise squeaky-clean voice, Barr has none of Dane's idiosyncrasies and doesn't approach his level of variety. In fact, Barr's somewhat high-pitched, pugnacious ranting is quite one-dimensional, becoming increasingly tiresome as the album goes on, and is at its most cartoonish in the slow, musically spare sections of "Bleed" and, particularly, "Nothingheart," where he makes little effort to modulate his delivery appropriately.

    Providing a welcome diversion are a gang of bellowers led by bassist/quasi-growler Dan Gronowski. Although nothing out of the ordinary, these deeper vocal parts provide an effective counter-punch, especially when trading lines with Barr, as in the choruses of "Dead Thought Matrix" and "Blur the Lines." But when "harmonized" with the lead and non-choral, the low bray is like a drunk clumsily trying to chime in when someone else is speaking.

    There is also a degree of awkwardness in the way the music's stylistic and rhythmic changes are executed. The album has a jerky feel which initially seemed exciting, but on subsequent listenings comes across as a lack of sophistication and skill. Eden's Fall never really get a groove on, never really rock out except in brief spurts, like the abbreviated stretch of heavy propulsion at the beginning of "Blur the Lines," the best part of that track, in my opinion. While portions of songs have a sense of cohesion--mostly in the case of interludes focusing on guitar solos, like the lengthy one in "Blur the Lines"--there is an overall absence of fluidity. On any given track, it's as if they're trying to pack as much complexity as possible into four-to-five-and-a-half minutes, but don't have the technical prowess to pull this off. Eden's Fall need to find a way to make all the variations more organic and/or focus on their classic heavy metal side. There are too many bands who have set a high standard for progressive and technical thrash, one to which Eden's Fall presently fall short. Their unquestionable ambitiousness alone makes this band seem promising, however, and I hope the wait between Harmony of Lies and a sure-to-show-improvement follow-up album will be shorter than that which preceded this debut.


    Song listing:

    1. Blur The Lines
    2. Planet Hate
    3. Lost Again
    4. Chemical Dreams
    5. Bleed
    6. Dead Thought Matrix
    7. Liquid Christ
    8. We Betray
    9. Nothingheart

    Playing time: 43.22

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