First things first. Edenbridge is a long running, very professional and entertaining female fronted, epic/symphonic band from Austria. Now, as we prepare for the release of Solitaire, their seventh album, it’s time to face some inconvenient truths. As good as these guys (and girl) are at what they do, this is not metal and it strains sense and sensibility to be reviewing this on a website called Angry Metal Guy since there is nothing here the least bit angry, or metal. This is not an attack on Edenbridge and I mean no negativity since I actually like Edenbridge quite a bit, from their debut up to and including Solitaire. It’s just time to cast them out of the metal universe and into the world of mainstream music.
As the whole symphonic movement goes, Edenbridge always floated along stylistically with Epica, Within Temptation, Nightwish and After Forever. All the key elements for the style are locked firmly in place and on display – this continues on Solitaire. From the near operatic, ever-so-melodic and beautifully enchanting vocals of Sabnine Edelbacher to the melody drenched keyboards, the subdued guitar and drum work and a production so clean you could eat off of it, it’s all here in shiny, happy abundance. This is a band that exists to create beautiful melodies and catchy, hook laden, memorable music that’s easy to listen to. It’s especially easy to listen to Solitaire since Edenbridge has almost become a new age soundscapes band here. This is enchanting stuff but so completely non-aggressive and so totally docile, you may want to pet it and call it Mittens.
I can’t fault Edenbridge for playing to their strength, which is clearly the smooth as silk, sweet as saccharine siren song of Sabine. Each track is essentially a musical movement designed to complement her soaring vocals and the production is ideally suited to the cause, putting her way out front in the mix. Not to give Sabine all the credit here, since band mate Lanvall Lanvall handles guitars, keyboards and apparently, the production itself.
Sabine and Lanvall, along with the rest of Edenbridge, have created ten tracks of memorable, immediate and in most cases, beautifully rendered symphonic music on Solitaire. Take one listen to the lushness of “Higher,” the catchy as hell “Come Again,” or the interesting Middle Eastern influence on “Skyline”s End” (featuring a Bouzouki to excellent effect), and you can’t help but respect the class and gorgeousness of the music. What you won’t find much of is, well, metal. There is little edge to the music to begin with and what there was has been rendered inert through overproduction and a crystal clean mix. You won’t throw this album on when you want something dangerous or sinister and it won’t help much when you need a little aggression in your day (only “A Virtual Dream” packs any metallic punch and it’s more like a jab). Hell, my girlfriend loves this album’s sound and even my mom wouldn’t be annoyed by it and that should tell you everything you need to know.
I always enjoyed Edenbridge and I continue to enjoy them here on Solitaire. It’s top quality symphonic music and yes, there is a time and place to enjoy it. Like, when you are trying to fall asleep or if you find yourself lying in a grassy field gazing up at happy, fluffy clouds. Just don’t be fooled into thinking this has anything to do with metal. It doesn’t, not even close, and it couldn’t be further away from angry. If you are fine with symphonic music without edge or bite, Solitaire will be a worthy investment. It sure is pretty.