Edenbridge - Dynamind - (5.5/10)
Published on October 21, 2019
After a semi-successful return to the fold in 2017 with The Great Momentum, Edenbridge now ensure that that album’s title now holds a sense of irony. Said ‘momentum’ seems to be depleting almost instantly upon the release of their newest record Dynamind. The Austrians have long since abandoned the flowery, up-tempo European power metal style of yore in favour of a more grounded and symphonic timbre. This has its strengths and weaknesses. The possibility for more earthy, pounding, heavy riffs is palpable, but the slower tempos often drag the energy of the albums right down through the floor. Dynamind is showing the first muddy brown shoots of stagnation, but is in no way a ‘bad’ album.
Proceedings kick off precisely as they mean to go on, albeit on the more vibrant side of things, with “The Memory Hunter”. The opening riff is chunky and will have any fan of the genre nodding with approval. But it doesn’t take long before those signs of waning energy appear. The chorus is indicative of most of the album: no big, bright shining melody which soars above the clouds as most power metal should. The melodies are subdued, slightly angular and often make odd decisions regarding chord structure – making this is a difficult record to sink into the brain. Some refrains are catchier than others and therefore jut out like much-welcome sore thumbs. Follow-up track “Live And Let Go” is among the best of these, recalling memorable choruses from previous releases like the brilliant “The Moment Is Now”.
Twenty-one years into their career, the Austrians are all performing well. Original members – multi-instrumentalist Lanvall and vocalist Sabine – are on top form. Lanvall’s guitar work is solid and all the added symphonic layers he utilizes are effectively sprinkled, though they could do with carrying a melody once or twice, rather than just being pretty background timbres. Meanwhile, Sabine’s vocals are always angelic, warm and soothing. She may not be exercising as much of her upper range as before, but she is never less than tuneful and silken. Upon closer listening, there is so much going on, instrumentally, throughout Dynamind. The more analytical among us will hear a veritable cavalcade of instruments permeating the background. This is especially true of the jig-like “On The Other Side” with its whistles, tambourines, hurdy-gurdies and god-know-what-else! In general, this is one of those ‘sore thumb’ tracks with a peculiarly happy atmosphere (despite its brief, and strange, foray into a minor key).
Dynamind shines when at its biggest and heaviest. The fast pace, distant synths and eastern melodies of “When Oceans Collide” and “All Our Yesterdays” make them clear album highlights; whereas the opening riffs of “The Edge Of Your World” and “What Dreams May Come” are totally headbangable, particularly when combined with the big orchestral accents of the pre-chorus. Beyond this, the whole affair drags and becomes sluggish. The bloated “The Last Of His Kind” can’t hope to compare to its 2017 counterpart “The Greatest Gift Of All” and the closing title-track is almost completely worthless. I’m slowly but surely losing interest in Edenbridge, despite their moments of greatness here and there. The next effort will have to be a big step up in energy and passion to hold my interest. For now, I’ll stick to the celestial shine of Arcana and let this one slip under the carpet.