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album reviews and artist reflectionsEdenbridge Album Reviews
Sunrise In Eden (2000)
More Sabine Edelsbacher
Beto Vaszuez Infinity (2002)
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Last updated: 13 April 2003
In 2002 and the North American release of Edenbridge's second album Arcana, our editors approached Edenbridge guitar player Lanvall and lead vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher to gain insights into the band's music and their background. This retrospective article includes an exclusive Sunrise In Eden interview with the artists, a review of their first album Sunrise In Eden another review of their second release Arcana and in our most recent update to this page, a review of their third recording Aphelion. A 2003 interview with Lanvall provides insight into the recording. Several territories have been treated to bonus tracks on verious editions of Edenbridge's albums.
The history of Edenbridge begins in 1999 when Sunrise In Eden was recorded in Gandalf's Seagull Music Studio. In the same year, Edenbridge signed a worldwide deal with the German label Massacre Records. In 2000 the CD was mixed in the House of Audio studios (Vandenplas, Pink Cream 69, D. C. Cooper, Axxis) by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69). Impressive artwork for the album was created by Markus Meyer, who has also painted Nightwish covers. In February 2002, Georg Edelmann joined the band as a second guitar player. Edenbridge supported their label mates Axxis and Pink Cream 69 on a European tour.
In 2001 Georg Edelmann left the band due to other job perspectives was replaced by Andreas Eibler. Sunrise in Eden was released in all the important markets of the world (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, South America, North America). Later that year Edenbridge began the recordings for the second album Arcana in the House of Audio studios in Germany. The album was mixed by Dennis Ward and in Europe as the year came to a close. In 2002, Arcana was released North America through Sensory/The Laser’s Edge.
The 2003 Edenbridge lineup is fronted by stunning lead vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher. The band is also comprised of Lanvall (lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, piano, keyboard, bouzouki), Roland Navratil (drums) and Andreas Eibler (rhythm and lead guitars). For Aphelion, Stefan Model guests on bass and D. C. Cooper guests on the track "Red Ball IN Blue Sky."
Interested readers will want to check out our feature article covering the Beto Vázquez Infinity album. The article includes an exclusive interview with guest vocalists Sabine Edelsbacher, Candice Night and Tarja Turunen as well as comments by Beto Vázquez and an in-depth album review.
The Sunrise In Eden Interview. We asked Lanvall about his background prior to Edenbridge. He told us "I started playing piano at the age of seven and took lessons for twelve years. At the age of fourteen I discovered metal and then I learned bass by myself. I played in a speed metal band for a couple of time but then discovered the guitar."
He continued, "I studied at the American institue of music in Vienna graduating with the diploma. At that time I signed my first record deal with the German label WMMS and released three solo CDs from 1994 to 1997. Parallel running I had a band project called Cascade, where Edenbridge developed out of it. When my solo deal ran out I wanted to focuss on Edenbridge. We recorded Sunrise in Eden on a self-finance basis in 1999 and sent the CD out to about 30 labels worldwide."
"Two weeks later Massacre Records contacted us and offered us a deal immediately. We remixed the album in the House of Audio studios with Dennis Ward and the album was released in autumn 2000. It was a great success for a debut and was released on all important markets of the world like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, South America and of course the United States. In November and December 2000 we went on European tour with Pink Cream 69 and Axxis. In July 2001 we entered the House of Audio studios again to record our second album Arcana which was released in November here in Europe, Korea and Japan. United States and South America will follow on the 15th of January and that´s where we are now."
When asked about his favourite bands, Lanvall responded, "Concerning metal my favorite bands are Shadow Gallery, Royal Hunt, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Robby Valentine and Fair Warning. My favorite classical composer is Anton Bruckner and I also like some good new age stuff like Gandalf or Vangelis."
We asked Sabine how she developed her vocal style. She told us, "I think that I've been singing since I can speak. I always sang with my heart and tried to make my voice perfect on my own. In 1996 I took my first lesson in singing. The important thing for me to train the voice is making body and breathing exercises. This can reduce tensions in the body and I can transport the feeling from my heart into my voice."
Edenbridge is actually very varied in their style of music around a central core of symphonic metal with stunning female vocals. We asked the artists who they feel have influenced Edenbridge's sound.
Lanvall told us, "I think primarily the bands and artists I mentioned earlier. My aim was always to write music with a unique style not to be a copycat of anyone. It´s great that the music that comes straight out of my heart attracts so many people around the world."
Lanvall explained the sequences he goes through when writing his music. "Normally I start with a vocal line that comes into my mind. Then I work it out with the harmonies. I start to program drums, bass and keyboards on the computer and then develop the guitar lines. I make a whole pre-production of each song and then everyone gets a tape and rehearses his parts at home."
He continued, "With a higher budget we could record the new album in the House of Audio studios in Germany. I was producing the album and we had an engineer to record it. Dennis Ward then mixed the album, cause before he was very busy with the production of the new Angra record."
We asked about their careers outside music. Lanvall told us, "I was teaching guitar and keyboards till last year. But Edenbridge were taking more and more time so I gave it up. That was always my dream to do music the whole day. Meanwhile I am totally busy with the band with songwriting, organisation, interviews and so on. The other members have their regular jobs."
About live performances and video, Lanvall told us, "There´s no video currently. I am really awaiting our next European tour which will be in March and April. We will support a very big band but it isn´t 100 % fixed up just yet. The audience reactions are always very positive, but still there is a lot to improve concerning our shows. After our next album we should be ready to make a headliner tour and then we have to think about a good concept with visual effects and much more."
We asked about the inspiration behind Edenbridge's lyrical messages. Lanvall told us, "The most important thing is positive energy, which I want to transport to the listener. The lyrics deal a lot with nature, dreams and positive aspects of life. I am a big Star Trek fan, especially of The Next Generation where I find a lot inspirations concerning esoteric and spiritual influences. But we are NOT a christian or religious band, to say this very clearly."
Lanvall shared his views of the internet with us. "The internet is perfect to communicate with fans. There are so many magazines in the internet nowadays, which is also very cool cause all of them have the chance to be up to date. We have a lot of visitors on our homepage and it´s wonderful to read the entries of fans from around the world in our guestbook."
Sunrise In Eden. The debut album from Edenbridge is entitled Sunrise in Eden (Massacre Records (Germany) MAS CD0248, 2000). Categorised by the label as 'angelic bombast metal,' the album features nine metal-edged progressive tracks featuring the stunning vocal work of Sabine Edelsbacher. The band were founded in 1998 by guitarist and songwriter Lanvall in Linz, Austria. Kurt Bednarsky (bass) and Roland Navratil (drums) round out the lineup. Astrid Stockhammer provides additional backing vocals. Superbly produced in every respect, the album was recorded at Segull Music Studio in Austria by Gandalf; he also contributes sitar parts to the recording. While Lanvall also plays keyboards on the album, the band is actively searching for a full time keyboard player to support their forthcoming live performances.
Sunrise in Eden has already captured significant critical acclaim throughout the European rock press. Impressed by the band from the first listen of mp3s on their website their album quickly became one of the year's favourites at Musical Discoveries headquarters. You'll find super-catchy hooklines, melodic and brilliant guitar solos, fast double-bass smashers and emotional ballads. The album opens with the "Cheyenne Spirit," a symphonic rocker that serves as a perfect introduction to the prowess of Edenbridge and the Sabine's crystalline vocal textures. The epic title track "Sunrise In Eden" is a classic rock track that blends gentle and agressive guitar styles with Sabine's powerful lead vocal line. After several verses, the late arriving chorus—demonstrating the range and power of the lead singer's voice—will hook the most critical listeners.
"Forever Shine On" is the first of the album's ballads. Sabine sings gently over light keyboard and melodic guitar which builds as the track develops. Her vocal part soars over the instrumentals in the chorus, delicately hitting the highest notes on the album illustrating her virtuousity. An upbeat rock track with rythmic variety and multiple tempo changes, "Holy Fire" blends metal-edged lead and bass guitars with orchestral keyboard arrangements, soaring vocal part and lovely choir-style backing vocals. Lanvall's guitar solos are tremendous. The first half of the album is summarised perfectly by the lead guitar in the highly varied textures of the Nightwish-style "Wings Of The Wind." In addition to the Sabine's tremendous lead vocal, the depth and quality of the backing vocal parts are as impressive as the dynamic guitar solos and symphonic keyboard textures.
The album's remaining ballads, "In The Rain" and "Take Me Back," are lovely tributes to the lead singer's range, supported by symphonic keyboards, featuring melodic and dynamic lead electric or acoustic guitar solos respectively. "Midnight at Noon" is a fast-paced, heavily percussive, metal-edged rocker where Sabine's vocal energy once again delivers the goods. The album concludes with an epic length bombastic metal rocker entitled "My Last Step Beyond" that effectively summarises the content of the album that precedes it. Driving melodic guitars and symphonic keyboard textures provide a foundation for the final stunning lead vocal part. Listen for Gandalf's gentle sitar part during the dramatic instrumental bridge and Sabine's soaring lead and the backing vocal lines as the track concludes.
With an extensive variety of musical textures and Sabine's stunning crystalline vocal work, the debut album from Edenbridge is certain to delight a wide range of female vocal enthusiasts. Listeners will immediately be drawn by rich sound and superb production quality, evident in the depth of the instrumental arrangements as well as the clarity of the vocal mix. Read more about the band and listen to soundbites at their website. Now available from a variety of sources, Sunrise In Eden is worth a trans-Atlantic Journey and is by all means a must listen!
Arcana. The runaway success of Sunrise In Eden brought Edenbridge a lot of attention and the rapid release of a followup entitled Arcana (Massacre Records (Germany) CD0306, 2001; Sensory (USA) SR3013, 2002). The album, recorded by the same lineup as their debut featuring Sabine Edelsbacher (vocals) and Lanvall (guitar), has eleven tracks. One member of the former lineup—Georg Edelmann—left the band due to other interests and was replaced by Andreas Eibler. The band's informative website (click on image left to link to it) has had a complete makeover and is worth a visit.
One will immediately notice the increased depth of instrumental arrangements and progressive style tempo / volume variations in Arcana. The album is a blend of shorter tracks and longer, epic-length, numbers. With their strong classically trained lead singer and significant instrumental prowess, it is no wonder that Edenbridge have been favourably compared to Finland's Nightwish (reviews).
The album's opening track "Ascending" is an extremely rich and classically influenced symphonic introduction that precedes the 'angelic bombastic metal' sound. Hard driving guitar and percussive energy in the album's romping metal-edged rockers comes close to being too much for Sabine's crystalline lead vocal. However, her voice is actually never over-powered by the instrumentals and she carries off the lead without multi-tracking, a significant achievement for a singer with a metal-edged band. Sabine's solos in "The Palace" and during the intro of "Fly On A Rainbow Dream" are simply tremendous.
The album's anthems are lushly arranged with guitar and keyboard excursions providing a firm foundation for the lovely vocal melodies and powerful solos that illustrate the individual players' virtuousity. The title track offers the widest variation in textures with elements of anthem and ballad woven around lush guitar- and keyboard-based instrumental foundations. Sabine's powerful lead is contrasted here with lovely backing harmony layers.
The North American release features two bonus tracks: "Velvet Eyes Of Dawn" shared with the European release and "The Whisper Of The Ages," which is included in the Sensory (a divsion of Laser's Edge) version. Rich symphonically metal-edged instrumental arrangements and vast guitar excursions provide the foundation for Sabine's anthemic lead vocal.
We especially enjoyed Arcana's ballads. While the energy of the instrumentals is still evident, Sabine's voice comes to the fore, standing out, soars above the instrumentals and explores her vast range. While the rockers and anthems are well written and exceptionally produced, the ballads "A Moment Of Time," "Velvet Eyes Of Dawn" and the everso gentle "Winter Winds" are certainly among the album's standouts.
Click on the images to visit the artists' website where further biographical information, photographs and additional soundbites reside. The site is frequently updated with tour information, lyrics, new photographs and plenty of mp3 downloads.
Find out further information, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. Like their debut, Arcana is worth a trans-Atlantic journey. It is certainly a must listen!
The Aphelion Interview. We
caught up with Lanvall just after the album's release. Our interview with
Musical Discoveries: What changes have Edenbridge had between Arcana
and Aphelion? Lanvall: Aphelion is the next step in our history. My goal is to get
better and better every time. I think the new album is our most mature one with
the best production. Dennis Ward did the engineering this time and this helped
a lot to make everything sounding bigger. From the musical point of view I would say that the new album is heavier,
the guitars are more in front than on our previous releases and the album is
also more symphonic. How would you say that your material has developed in the new album? Edenbridge stands for a certain style but is always open for experiments.
"Where Silence Has Lease" is quite an experiment with its atmospheric arrangements,
where the drums mainly consist of toms. "Red Ball In Blue Sky" is by far the most
complex song I've ever written and sees the appearance of one of my favorite singers
D.C.Cooper. "The Undiscovered Land" is the slowest song we've ever done according to its
basic tempo and we wanted to start with a slow song this time. "Perennial Dreams"
also can´t be compared to any song we've done before so I think there is a lot of
development. How would you say that the vocal arrangements have evolved in the new
album? The vocals always stand in the centre of the song. I think Sabine also made
a big step forward because her voice was never that emotional and powerful on
an album before. This is also a question of the right microphone and the one
she used in the studio this time seemed to fit perfectly. What was the inspiration for the material both instrumentally and
vocally? Aphelion is not a real concept album, but the title--which means
"outermost point"--is leading like a red line through all the songs. This
outermost point appears in the space sense, the human sense, the universal
sense and the time sense. When I had written the first songs and lyrics and
then discovered the title of the album I saw this title in every single song,
so I continued with this theme. What kind of new guitar and keyboard techniques did you use this
time? Well, there were no special new techniques we used. Edenbridge is a
two-guitar band, so I wrote a lot of twin guitar lines, and I think there are
some great harmony solos on the new record. Concerning the keyboards I searched
a lot to find new great sounds to bring in but you also have to be careful
because there are sounds that are great standing alone but in the mix they don't
Musical Discoveries: What changes have Edenbridge had between Arcana and Aphelion?
Lanvall: Aphelion is the next step in our history. My goal is to get better and better every time. I think the new album is our most mature one with the best production. Dennis Ward did the engineering this time and this helped a lot to make everything sounding bigger.
From the musical point of view I would say that the new album is heavier, the guitars are more in front than on our previous releases and the album is also more symphonic.
How would you say that your material has developed in the new album?
Edenbridge stands for a certain style but is always open for experiments. "Where Silence Has Lease" is quite an experiment with its atmospheric arrangements, where the drums mainly consist of toms. "Red Ball In Blue Sky" is by far the most complex song I've ever written and sees the appearance of one of my favorite singers D.C.Cooper.
"The Undiscovered Land" is the slowest song we've ever done according to its basic tempo and we wanted to start with a slow song this time. "Perennial Dreams" also can´t be compared to any song we've done before so I think there is a lot of development.
How would you say that the vocal arrangements have evolved in the new album?
The vocals always stand in the centre of the song. I think Sabine also made a big step forward because her voice was never that emotional and powerful on an album before. This is also a question of the right microphone and the one she used in the studio this time seemed to fit perfectly.
What was the inspiration for the material both instrumentally and vocally?
Aphelion is not a real concept album, but the title--which means "outermost point"--is leading like a red line through all the songs. This outermost point appears in the space sense, the human sense, the universal sense and the time sense. When I had written the first songs and lyrics and then discovered the title of the album I saw this title in every single song, so I continued with this theme.
What kind of new guitar and keyboard techniques did you use this time?
Well, there were no special new techniques we used. Edenbridge is a two-guitar band, so I wrote a lot of twin guitar lines, and I think there are some great harmony solos on the new record. Concerning the keyboards I searched a lot to find new great sounds to bring in but you also have to be careful because there are sounds that are great standing alone but in the mix they don't come through.
What was the recording process like?
I did the pre-production in my home studio and the whole album was recorded again in the House of Audio studios in Germany. The songs are totally worked out before we enter the studio so we did the new album within 25 days, I think that's quite fast. I hate being in the studio for longer than one month.
How have the band's live performances been received?
Very well. We did an European tour for Arcana and then played two shows in Korea, one on the "International Busan Rock Festival" in front of 20,000 people. This show was broadcasted in a cable-channel in wide parts of Asia and could also be seen via internet live. We were supposed to do a Brazilian tour but this was cancelled because of the economic crisis there.
The Aphelion tour starts in one month and covers many countries in Europe. It will be a triple-headliner tour with Sirenia and Trail of Tears. In the summer we will play some festivals and in autumn it'possible to do a second tour mainly in Southern Europe. Our Japanese and Russian companies are also very interested in doing some shows there, so there's a lot to do.
Has there been any further guest work by the artists outside the band?
Sabine did one song on the Missa Mercuria album, which was released last year. And last week she recorded two songs for a concept album called "once and future kings" by Gary Hughes (Ten), which is dealing with the Artus legend. One song is a duet with Bob Catley the great Magnum singer.
Is the group planning to release a DVD with video footage either doing music videos or a live performance?
We are currently collecting material for a DVD, but it's still too early to say when we are doing a DVD and what it will comprise. I would say this might be interesting after the fourth or the fifth studio album.
Has your website done a good job for you over the last year?
Of course. We have a lot of people there daily. We have a new forum on our page and the fans and their comments are very important for us. Just so everyone knows, the address is www.edenbridge.org.
Aphelion. The third Edenbridge entitled Aphelion (Massacre Records (Germany) MAS CD0348, 2003) is basically a ten-track collection of new material. The European release includes "The Whispering Gallery" while the Japanese release includes "On The Verge Of Infinity." Neither of the bonus tracks can be sampled on the band's website. We review the European release below.
An unequalled progression from Edenbridge's debut and follow-up, Sabine Edelbascher's vocals are recorded more powerful--mixed way up above the instrumentals, much better than on Arcana--and are certainly more varied. Production duo Dennis Ward and Lanvall have done an outstanding job. The mid-tempo opening track "The Undiscovered Land" clearly demonstrates the tightness of the band with instrumental solos even more reminiscent of Nightwish than on former albums. Speed and power build with rapidfire guitar, double bass and percussion in "Skyward."
The first Edenbridge ballad of the album is a lovely track entitled "The Final Curtain," which builds in power instrumentally above piano as Sabine's crystalline lead vocal soars above the rhythm and solo lead guitar parts. "Perennial Dreams" picks up the pace again, in typical Edenbridge style, Lanvall's energetic electric guitar parts supported by the rhythm section and piano. Again speed and power build in "Fly At Higher Game," vast guitar excursions between Sabine's lovely vocal lines. A delicate piano introduces the lovely ballad "As Far As Eyes Can See." Keyboards and supporting guitar add lovely texture to the arrangements supporting Sabine's soaring vocal and backing harmonies in the chorus.
European audiences will be delighted with the bonus track "The Whispering Gallery." Guitar parts clearly show Lanvall's virtousity--symphonic keyboards and crisp percussion add texture--while powerful do not run over Sabine's melodic vocal. "Deadend Fire" is most reminscent of the classic Edenbridge bombastic angelic metal style, and clearly transcends their three albums. "Where Silence Has Lease" continues in a similar vein but at a much faster pace driven by high energy percussion.
The album's third ballad is the gorgeous track "Where Silence Has Lease." Supported by amplified acoustic guitar, and light keyboard washes, Sabine's tender vocal introduces the lovely melody. Lanvall's dramatic guitar solo during the instrumental bridge builds the intensity of the piece yet Sabine's lead vocal soars above it as the track fades to completion. Her experience and vocal training are evident. The epic rocker "Red Ball In Blue Sky" featuring D. C. Cooper (Silent Force) as guest vocalist is the album's concluding track. Here Sabine sings in her finest soprano style alone during the first few verses before being significantly contrasted by the guest vocalist. Listen for Phantom Of The Opera-styled keyboard riffs in the bridge. Thick progressive metal-edged instrumental arrangements vast guitar solos and lush vocal harmonies also work perfectly.
Find out further information, listen to soundbites and order the European version of the album from amazon.com here. The Japanese version is also available. Like the first two Edenbridge offerings, Aphelion is worth a trans-Atlantic journey. It is certainly a must listen!
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