Faith by Eyes of Eden
Release date : August 2007
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
Straight from the brainchild of underground metal mainstay Waldemar Sorychta, Eyes of Eden comprises one of the German musician's two new projects (the other being Enemy of the Sun). Unless you are an obsessive reader of liner notes or listen exclusively to heavy music, then Sorychta's name may not be instantly recognizable. However, as soon as the names of such revered groups as Grip, Inc. and Despair enter the conversation, the memory lapse gradually fades. Furthermore, he has produced and co-written songs for the likes of Sentenced, Moonspell, and Samael. Besides these weighty contributions, Sorychta has forged a long term relationship with Italian Gothic metal gods Lacuna Coil via the production chair. Whether you know him by name or not, his material undoubtedly graces every true Metal obsessive's music collection in some form or another.
In the guise of Eyes of Eden, Sorychta can feel comfortable in the knowledge that he has assembled one of his best lineups to date. Alla Fedynitch (Pain, Dillusion) undertakes bass duties, a vacancy he equally fulfils as part of Enemy of the Sun. Although the initial choice, Sandra Schleret (Siegfred, Elis) couldn't finish vocal recordings for Eyes of Eden's debut full length as a result of health issues. Unknown singer Franziska Huth became the chosen replacement, whereas Tom Diener (Lalu, Tomorrow's Eve) steps behind the drumkit during live commitments. Sorychta's hired gun, Gas Lipstick (of mainstream Goth rockers H.I.M.) laid down drum parts in support of the record. From the initial seconds of the opening track to the closing moments of the album's final number, Lipstick's presence is certainly felt. Lipstick and Fedynitch's respective contributions team together to form an overall groove, something one can only hope Diener will retain during live performances.
An unquestionably Gothic Metal affair, Faith is an album very much in the vein of Leave’s Eyes and Lacuna Coil. It leans heavily into its musical grooves, lending the inspired tones an opportunity to displace the average listener's surrounding environment. Eyes of Eden lacks both the technical proficiency apparent in groups such as Dutch Symphonic Metallers Epica, and the overt aggression present in outfits such as Finland's Nightwish. Despite this, all of the aforementioned artists will appeal to many of the same listeners. Bridging a gap between the two chosen paths, Eyes of Eden doesn't stray too far into either chosen territory. Wasting no time, the group immediately seizes the listener's attention. The opening chords of inaugural track “Winter Night” make a vigorous statement on behalf of Eyes of Eden, and that statement immediately declares the fact that a seasoned songwriter handles the reigns. Second number “When Gods Fall” marginally extra “crunch”, establishing the overall tone which the rest of the album undertakes. In comparison to its predecessor “Winter Night”, the song tends to fall into more of a groove. Although string orchestration develops into a fervid aspect of the quartet's flavour during Faith, “Sleeping Minds” provides an opportunity where it can distinctly shine. Slightly more Pop oriented than its respective counterparts, strings form the song's integral component. Elsewhere though, the strings presence merely accompany the tracks in question. Another standout composition, a solitary listen of “Man in the Flame” will undoubtedly show how Eyes of Eden can thoroughly compete with the likes of Leaves' Eyes and After Forever.
Gothic Metal at its finest, Faith never loses the music's heavy foundation (ie. the “metal”). Thanks to the rich voice of Franziska Huth, the full length beautifully soars. Much like Annette Olzon or Liv Kristine, Huth sounds confident and up to the task of handling vocal arrangements - her delivery never seems pretentious, or obnoxiously trained. Sorychta surprisingly stays largely devoted to the Gothic Metal format, and only modestly experiments (one such example being the quickly paced acoustic guitars which are interspersed throughout “From Heaven Sent”). While Sorychta has certainly chosen the safe option, it works very, very well. Thus far, and on a more personal note, Eyes of Eden’s Faith is easily yours truly's favourite work from Waldemar Sorychta. Boasting excellent songwriting, multiple hooks burst forth from virtually every song. Blessed with a likely prosperous future, let's hope this project stays firmly active for many years to come.