Edenbridge - The Great Momentum - (8.5/10)
Published on March 13, 2017
Led by Sabine Edelsbacher, Austrian symphonic power metal quartet Edenbridge have been around for close to 20 years while never quite gaining the mainstream attention of Nightwish and Epica. The Great Momentum is the band’s ninth album but their first with drummer Johannes Jungreithmeier and second with Steamhammer. They have always been a solid band and a fan favorite but how will their sound hold up after all this time?
The album opens with a bang as the seriously heavy riffs and background symphonics of “Shiantara” give the listener a taste of what to expect from this album. Pretty soon, Sabine’s gorgeous melodic voice comes in, the tempo speeds up and the band launches into the first verse and chorus of this stellar opening track. Edenbridge have always had a slight Middle-Eastern vibe in their music and it comes out briefly on this track, adding a touch of atmosphere to the song. To offset the heaviness of the riffs, you have these stellar guitar solos that pack a ton of melody and also display Lanvall’s incredible skill as a musician.
What really elevates Edenbridge over their peers is their slightly softer, more melody focused approach to this style. The acoustic work on this album is excellent and the keyboards also pack plenty of melodic punch. They also do not dominate the mix which is a trap that many of their peers inevitably fall into. It’s a nice change of pace from the NW inspired hard-hitting soprano style everyone seems to have these days. Sabine’s voice is so smooth but she still packs a punch which is why her voice fits Edenbridge’s sound perfectly. She adapts her voice to the needs of the music so when the band slows it down, Sabine’s lovely voice cuts through the mix to really showcase her diversity as a vocalist. Not only is her voice melodic but the lyrics just flow from her lips like an ever flowing stream on a warm spring afternoon.
There are a number of standout tracks on this beautiful album but the one that really leaves a lasting impression is “Return to Grace.” Why? Not only does it open with a fun Middle-Eastern melody, it contains full on galloping power metal riffs that rival those of early Nightwish. When was the last time you heard those on a symphonic power metal album? If you are struggling to think of an answer, it is because after NW switched to a more groove-oriented riff style, all the new bands copied that mold and forgot all about the classic power metal gallop. Edenbridge have not forgotten this though so kudos to them for bringing it back!
The drumming is pretty standard fare for this style but songs like “The Moment is Now” and especially “The Visitor” have some pretty cool percussion moments. Johannes mixes it up pretty well and keeps the rhythm of these songs going at a good steady pace so he fits the band’s sound quite well. While The Great Momentum may not pack quite the same punch as an album like The Grand Design, it is still a fantastic album that is quite heavy for the genre. They may not have the fame of Nightwish but Edenbridge have certainly shown a great deal of consistency over the years and are still doing things most of their peers are not, continually elevating themselves above the fray.