After their second album “Arcana” I somehow lost sight of Austrian EDENBRIDGE and with that also their third output “Aphelion“ in 2003. The Linz-based quintet around guitarist, bassist, keyboarder and song writer Lanvall has hardly changed, which is not a bad thing, as they have found their relatively own style, staying true to the sound they had laid the foundation for four years ago with the debut “Sunrise In Eden”.
Ever since their beginnings EDENBRIDGE had to face the accusations of standing very close to NIGHTWISH, who were just breaking through majorly with “Wishmaster” and paved the way for a true legion of stylistically comparable bands. As you could read in my review for the debut, there always had been enough difference between the Finns and Austrians to put the claim of being a clone out of existence and with “Shine” the quartet once more proves to have found their own niche.
One of the main differences was and still is singer Sabine Edelsbacher, who is somewhat less operatic than Tarja, with an overall a bit softer, warmer voice, which definitely has a big effect on the basic atmosphere of the songs. Another factor is that they act less Power Metallic, putting more emphasis on atmosphere and altogether sounding a bit “tamer”, but without this being a negative thing, as they neither drown in sappiness nor get technically flat or boring, as the opener “Shine” proves right off the bat.
The first real hammer comes in form of “Wild Chase“, which is introduced by a lonesome far eastern melody (most probably taken from Japanese folklore), which then is continued by the whole instrumentarium, giving the composition a very own character, which clearly showcases the compository maturity of Lanvall. And these atmospheres continue throughout the rest of the album, as right after on “And The Road Goes On“, not as obvious, yet still shining through.
While “„Elsewhere“ with its purity of piano and vocals sets a quiet highlight, EDENBRIDGE set the guitars, drums and keyboards loose on the following “October Sky” and let lots of energy flow through the speakers, setting an immediate counterpoint. “The Canterville Prophecy”, the intro to “The Canterville Ghost”, could without any problems stand in a soundtrack, mystical keyboards together with the ethereal vocals, the following song itself has an Irish touch in the rhythm and the melodies, including a very calm interlude, and gives the album another interesting colour.
Even though I, as said, do not know “Aphelion“, I still dare to say that “Shine“ without a doubt has turned out to bet he best EDENBRIDGE album so far, with great atmosphere, dynamics, character and an absolutely fitting, clear production, also courtesy of Lanvall, with the outstanding performance of Sabine as crowning element. This band without a doubt has found its place in the Metal spectrum and stands in the first line of Symphonic Metal! (Online June 15, 2005)