Standing at the crossroads of catchy hard rock and traditional metal, Eden’s Curse has been quietly killing it since 2007. Founded by vocalist Michael Eden, this quasi super group (composed of players from bands I mostly never heard of) has released three albums of high quality, hook-filled, anthemic music similar to Leverage, Masterplan, Starbreaker and the Russell/Lande albums. Though the members have ample musical chops, they eschew wankery in favor of simplistic, rocking tunes with memorable choruses and their approach invokes the charms of 80s style, bluesy, quasi-hair metal. Their Second Coming album was especially infested with earwormy tunes and I spin it often when I need something light (and it boasts one of the most cheese-tastical metal videos of all time for the song “Angels and Demons,” into which they cram every metal cliché imaginable). Though founder and band namesake Michael Eden left for greener pastures, his mates soldiered on, recruited Nikola Mijic (Alogia, Expedition Delta), added the keyboardist from Power Quest and Dragonforce and came back with Symphony of Sin. While you still get slick, hyper-accessible rock/metal delivered by talented musicians, the writing isn’t as consistent as usual and things are a lot less heavy this time. In fact, some of this sounds like Journey worship and I need way more metal in my metal than that.
I had high hopes for Symphony of Sin based on the strength of the first three songs. The title track is classic Eden’s Curse; leveraging big vocal hooks and a beauty of a hard rock chorus into an easily digested, uber-melodic winner with just enough metal to leave you satisfied. “Break the Silence” amps up the metal factor and Nikola proves himself with a commanding performance and again, the chorus is a keeper. Likewise, “Evil and Divine” sticks close to the band’s roots with a mid-tempo, rocking slice of metal with an Avantasia flavor and more hooks than Pinhead keeps in his kinky leather jumper.
Things get way too mellow thereafter, starting with “Unbreakable” which sounds exactly like something Mike and the Mechanics would write. I mean seriously, this sounds like “All I Need is a Miracle” in almost every way and that’s not metal, folks. From there we get other classic radio rock homages like the Journey-esque “Rock Bottom,” where Nikola sounds uncannily like Steve Perry. It’s nice and all, but far too light-weight for my tastes. The Perry Tribute Show continues on tracks like “Great Unknown” though fortunately, the music backing him up is heavier and more engaging.
Though they cross back into Second Coming territory on tunes like “Sign of the Cross” and “Devil in Disguise,” the former feels tepid while the latter is too watered down and flat. While none of the songs are outright bad, several leave light impressions. The album’s first half is also significantly stronger and by the end things feel overlong by two songs.
Nikola is a fine singer and he shows good versatility, but when he drifts into his Journey vocals, it doesn’t really work for me. I much prefer his more metallized delivery on tracks like “Losing My Faith” and “Evil and Divine” and as things rolled along I found myself missing Michael Eden’s more traditional metal voice, though Nikola could sing him under the table.
As always, Thorsten Kohne’s fret-board antics are classy and provide a vintage melo-metal swing. He can tear off some wicked solos, but exercises admirable restraint and sticks to the hard rock script. He throws out some sharp riffs at times (“Evil and Divine”), but a lot of his playing here is too laid back and it gets boring at times. New keyboardist Steve Williams does a fine job and doesn’t bury the songs under too much key fluffery, though he gets into a few nice duels with Thorsten.
I can’t say I’m totally happy with Symphony of Sin since I want it to be heavier, but the songs are mostly solid, regardless of how lightweight some may be. If you love truly melodic hard rock and metal, this may enthrall you. If you prefer more metal in your metal, check out their Second Coming and Trinity albums instead.