EdensCurse_Cardinal_Booklet.inddWait, come back! I know a quarter of you took one look at that lurid, mega-tacky cover and started to turn away in disgust, while another quarter started doing something worse (which results in hair growth in unsightly places). But before you judge this book based on its highly regrettable cover, hear me out. Eden’s Curse is a kind of low-rent “super group” of sorts that’s been puttering around the edges of metaldom since 2007, and despite the absence of household names they’ve released some enjoyably melodic metal albums. The first three of which are rock solid and loaded with numerous earwormy anthems, but their sound changed once singer Michael Eden left and was replaced by Serbian young gun Nikola Mijic for 2013s Symphony of Sin. That platter had a much greater AOR style and it almost seemed they were auditioning to open for Journey circa 1980. Cardinal is a return to their metal roots, but they definitely haven’t shaken their love of radio rock. This makes for a rather scattershot album but hey, diversity is a good thing, right?

Because Eden’s Curse is emotionally attached to several genres, things jump from heavy to light, soft to hard and at times it’s difficult to believe it’s the same band. A lot of this material actually sounds like a teaser for a new Avantasia album, as opener “Prophets of Doom” ably demonstrates. It’s filled to the brim with grandiose power pomp and Nikola does his very best Tobias Sammet impression throughout. The gleefully cheesy theatrics belie the super slick writing which gets under your skin and sticks like tar, and it packs a chorus that pops enough to become instant ear candy for even the most frowny metal fan. And this isn’t a one-off either – “Saints and Sinners” also bears the Mark of Sammet with an over-the-top, quasi-pop delivery you’ll be hard pressed to resist. The high point is epic closer “Jericho,” which is…epic, very Avantasia-like and noodle intensive. If there was a DR-like rating for bombast, this would score an easy 12, but damn if it isn’t rollicking good fun.

Elsewhere, “Messiah Complex” is catchy-as-Hell and sounds like it belongs on an Allen/Lande album with Lord Jorn doing his very best “King of Rock” shtick; and “Utopian Dreams” is very Stratovarius-esque in pacing, structure and keyboard abuse. Then there are the “pretty” compositions like “Sell Your Soul” which could run on any easy rock radio station, “Find My Way” which is power ballad central, and the Diabetes-inducing sweetness of “Unconditional.” The strength of Eden’s Curse is making even these spandex-clad atrocities resonate and gain traction when you’d rather they wouldn’t. Of the lot, only “Kingdom of Solitude” and “This is Our Moment” fail to attach hooks to my dermis.

edens-curse_2016

As per usual, I must take issue with the album length, as Cardinal runs long at 58 minutes, despite the mostly high-level writing. Drop the unsuccessful numbers and you have a tight, mega-hooky platter sans filler rather than one that needs the skip button exercised at times (especially during the craptastical Extreme worship of “Kingdom of Solitude”).

Nikola is definitely the secret weapon making the material as sticky as it is. He has a smooth, versatile voice which can handle power metal and AOR cheddar equally well. I still miss Michael Eden’s vocals but there’s no disputing they upgraded with Nikola. Guitarist Thorsten Kohne (ex-Hardline) and new keyboardist Christian Pulkkinen really get after it on most of the Avantasia-esque cuts, lustily dueling for the title of Wank Master Supreme. Both are very talented and their excess is our reward. This may not be the best known of super groups but their talent and tightness is beyond reproach.

I wasn’t sure which direction Eden’s Curse would go with Cardinal but this is much more of a “metal” album than Symphony of Sin while still featuring slick, catchy songwriting. If you crave something melodic and accessible, this should do the trick. The moral to the story: less Journey, more Jorn.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Websites: edenscurse.com | facebook.com/edenscurseofficial
Releases Worldwide: October 14th, 2016

 

 

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  • AnnieK13

    I was one of the people that started to turn away with one look at the cover but you stopped me with your opening line…I read through and listened to the track..and well, I don’t like it. Track is pretty bad, not something that would make me even consider listening to the rest of the album.

    • Sadly, they didn’t use any of the better cuts as the video.

      • AnnieK13

        Kind of a shame as the vocalist seems pretty OK…it just seemed a bit generic and too “poppy” for me.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      Sometimes you can judge a book by it’s cover.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Cool. The Red Swingline Microphone.

    • Jason

      Wh-where’s my microphone? Have you seen my microphone?

  • Reese Burns

    A 3.0 isn’t worth putting up with that cover. Good on you for sticking with the hard sell though.

    • I like these guys for some reason. Must be old age or dementia.

      • CarvedInStone

        Don’t feel bad. I’m probably younger than you are and I have a soft spot for these guys as well. They’re not doing anything groundbreaking with their brand of AOR-infused Melodic Metal but they’re doing it well.

  • Are we sure this is not a Jorn album? There is even a Crow on that vomit inducing cover!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      It’s missing blood-red roses.

      • Nag Dammit

        And someone wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Jorn’s face.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    First look I thought it was an all-woman band. What’s with the cover? Does it relate to some theme in the album?

    • Innit Bartender

      Same as me. I thought it was a girls band. I bet some guy is going to buy the album on that premise and boy is he gonna be pissed!

    • Adjudant

      They are purdy

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Shouldn’t they be Mijic’s Curse now?

    • That didn’t test market well: too black metal.

  • Wilhelm

    terrible music, terrible video, slightly enticing, yet awful album cover

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Oh, Steel. NO.

    • Yes!

    • Nag Dammit

      Is it worth switching off Human by Death to view the embedded? I.e. are there hot chicks in the video?

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Depends on your definition of “chicks”… and no.

        • Nag Dammit

          Little yellow fluffy birds of course

  • André Snyde Lopes

    God damn it, Druhm.

  • Nag Dammit

    Don’t get the need for FIVE chicks. Especially as only the middle one is super hot (he says trying to hide unsightly sprouting hairs).

    • Oscar Albretsen

      They may be more than just bandmates…

  • Grymm

    EGADS, that video.

    I half-expected Jani Lane (R.I.P.) to pop out anytime. And the band looked bored. The music isn’t too bad, though. Very “closing credits of an anime”, which isn’t a bad thing.

    • Adjudant

      Jani is a good thing

  • Excentric_13073

    Why does everyone look so bored in the video… Oh wait, it’s the music.

  • Haters all!

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      Dont sweat it – just grab ’em by the pussy, when you’re a star they let you do it!

  • Eli Valcik

    Can we have separate reviews reviewing album’s cover art?

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Great idea! I’ll volunteer! If I was just reviewing the album cover, I probably could keep myself under that 500-word limit, too!

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      I would read that.

      To me, the most offputting thing about the cover, is realizing that it isn’t the band. The shot is clearly implying it’s the band. There is no scene, nothing is happening to cause these women to get together… it just feels so… creepy.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    The album cover looks like it was imported straight out of 1985.

  • Dr. Wvrm

    So who supposedly does the clickbait around here?

  • SelfIndulgence

    Druhm Defense Squad to the rescue…
    Sure violence is ok on album covers, but sex isn’t? Sex is natural…blah blah…and as far as sex goes these women are fully clothed and ready to go to church.
    These guys are from Scotland? That’s got to be worth at least 2 points right there.

    ….now awaiting my $0.50 deposit in my account.

    • Best money I ever spent (and we agreed on $0.25).

    • Jason

      Church? They look like they’re the Little Red Riding Hood Werewolf Slayer club.

      • [not a Dr]

        Powerwolf took the church by storm. So they need to go to church anyways if they want do do any werewolf slaying.

  • Jason

    “She’s my Cherry Pie!” Actually, I’d rather go listen to that right now…

  • Mr T

    Happy Hard Rock Guy… Druhm. This was not good. I feel like I have been sent back in time and then molested.

  • Stuart Stratu

    I agree with duuur’s issue about the cover. I thought naturally that must be the band on the cover. What a low and sleazy marketing tactic. For shame!

  • Here’s Johnny

    I know one of the girls on that cover…i didn’t tell her what i thought of it though.

  • jetblindracos

    Question:Does it have a

    RIVERS OF DESTINY styled song in there?If not,I pass.

  • ElectricEye

    I am glad Eden’s Crush got back together, but man, time has not been kind to them. They look like a bunch of dudes now. Can’t figure out which one is Nicole.

  • Martin Knap

    Five sexy sorceresses on the cover, that reminds me of something *cough, cough*

  • Aguy

    I hate this song. It just sounds bad – not merely poppy but unambitious. And yet, something in the cheese speaks deeply to my sense of nostalgia. I keep wanting to listen to it even though it sucks.

  • red71rum

    The video kind of reminds me of a Robert Palmer video, loved the guy-liner also. Sometimes the song sounded like a mashup of Steve Morse(guitar)Europe to me for some reason.

  • madhare

    Whaaat? 3.0? In what? In cringeworthiness? Especially with the video. :D Or perhaps this is one of those “either 1 or 5 depending on your taste of camp”.