The Second Coming by Eden's Curse
Release date : October 2008
Reviewed by Anthony Morgan
Eden's Curse's full length debut arrived in the form of an eponymous titled album, issued in August 2007. Released November 30th, CD / DVD boxset All For Metal featured the track “Fly Away” upon its compact disc. A mere one week later on December 7th, another AFM Records compilation was issued. Entitled Heart Breakers, the number “The Voice Inside” figured amongst its track listing. In June 2008, the EP Seven Deadly Sins - The Acoustic Sessions was issued exclusively in North America via Metal Mayhem Music. Initially receiving two acoustic bonus songs, the label reportedly loved them so much that the recording of this acoustic EP was requested. Boasting seven tracks, all were lifted from the group's inaugural studio release. Production and mixing was handled by bassist Paul Logue, whereas mastering duties went to Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69 bassist). With artwork from Thomas Ewerhard (who has designed artwork for the likes of Edguy, Avantasia, Masterplan, Jorn, and Asia), an autographed collector's edition was made available for purchase via select music outlets. Its imminent issue was announced during the previous month, as well as the fact that Eden's Curse were in the studio cutting songs in support of a sophomore album.
Bassist Paul Logue penned forty songs, all of which were whittled down to thirteen. Video footage of studio sessions surfaced in mid June, and in late July it was announced the album would be named The Second Coming. Once again, Dennis Ward handled production. Upon the whole album, Tony Harnell (boasting stints in TNT, Starbreaker, and Westworld) donates backing vocals. Erstwhile Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen frontman Doogie White (current mainman within Cornerstone and Empire), alongside Carsten Schulz (known for being part of Evidence One, Midnite Club and Angel Eden), provide choir backing. The track “Angels & Demons”, meanwhile, comprises a duet between vocalist Michael Eden and Pamela Moore, known as Sister Mary upon Queensrÿche's 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime and 2006's Operation: Mindcrime II. On September 29th, the track was made available for streaming via the group's official MySpace. Ewerhard handled artwork yet again, whereas photographic obligations were undertaken by Steffi Veenstra.
An instrumental passage in the guise of “Reign of Terror” inaugurates the full length, spanning little more than a minute and a half. Grandiose and elegant in nature, the stylings hint towards a masquerade ball, where attendees don colourful masks whilst merrily dancing. A gunshot is fired, and glass breaks. Screaming ensues, and bleeds into the next cut. Appropriately dubbed “Masquerade Ball”, this sophomore number forms The Second Coming's highlight. Anthemic, hook-laden choruses emerge in various instances throughout the album, the likes of “Angels & Demons”, “Just Like Judas”, and “West Wind Blows” comprising such examples. However, none surpass the initial blueprint established via “Masquerade Ball”, though “Just Like Judas” constitutes a commendable rival. Whomever views the group within a live setting needs resilient pipes, since each chorus is remarkably addictive, and to not chant along is a difficult task. Should radio stations choose select tracks to air, then a cult following will likely develop.
More melodically refined, Eden wholeheartedly opts towards a clean approach. The traditionally oriented Eden can actually hold a tune, and the mix rightly places his contributions amongst the forefront of each respective track. Admittedly a minor complaint, Ward's production stylings upon this specific endeavour could benefit from a crisper bite. Had these compositions been cut in support of a live radio session, their general potency would be greatly enhanced. In addition, it would showcase each number's actual live potential. As an example, a producer such as Kevin Shirley or Rob Z would spearhead the sonics of each track towards this direction.
Tuneful yet capably supported by evident pace, Koehne's guitar solos copiously feature, and form another genuine highlight. In terms of Koehne's contributions, “Lost In Wonderland” is the most replete, a track which concludes via a Middle Eastern influenced acoustic outro. Select solos executed via Koehne's guitar are defined by a more synthesised vibe, lending those specific solos a sedate, reflective guise. Whilst lacking distinctive components, Koehne's solo stylings prove immensely gratifying. Unfortunately though, several numbers possess an audible familiarity, and lack sufficient individualism to undergo separate assessment. However, The Second Coming's later tracks aim to address the issue. A lonesome piano twinkle underpins “Man Against the World”, and is gradually accompanied by similarly gloomy acoustics. The ballad is a marked shift in pace when critiqued against its fellow counterparts, though its optimistic lyrics might be excessively saccharine to win plaudits.
Whilst the tracks cannot be deemed mediocre by anyone's measures, nothing immediately strikes a rapport with the listener's heart however. Upon repeated listening though, certain tracks experience a more genial welcome. Eden's Curse's musical spirit faithfully lies within the eighties, a decade when both stadium oriented material and AOR outfits reigned supreme. Mature fans who boast a penchant for that golden period may possibly find solace in The Second Coming, not to mention younger fans who additionally hold affection towards the era. Should even a cursory mention of Metal's ancestry incite apathy amongst your attention span, then those folded notes should firmly remain in your wallet in the hope of a more appropriate purchase.