Eden Shadow was initially the creative outlet for vocalist, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Elliot, a young musician from Wales. Ryan took his compositions to their debut album Phases in 2014, together with band members Alex Broben on bass and Tom Burgess on drums. For their 2016 release Melodies For Maladies however, drummer Burgess saw himself replaced by Aled Lloyd.
As it is, Melodies For Maladies is my first acquaintance with this promising trio and listening I regret I kind of missed their debut album. Melodies For Maladies shows us a very sophisticated blend of compositions, influenced by the likes of Steven Wilson, with the addition of more straight edge metal guitars, acoustic twists and a seventies feel. The album opens with Ventriloquist, a track that immediately reminds me of the Italian band Kingcrow, just for the main guitar riff itself. But the rest of the composition shows its own face; prominent and great sounding guitars form the base for a very solid song. Vocal wise, Haken as well as Porcupine Tree seem to sound through, but all nicely fused to a retro seventies atmosphere, including the recognizable keyboards of the era. What stands out for me is the way the music, as technical as it is, still has a very open sound. False Prophet has the openness of the trio that is playing, added with occasional extra guitars, an atmospheric part where synth and guitar meet and the impressive voice of main man Ryan. I just love the guitars at the seven and a half minute mark, where powerful riffs shift into a space jazzy part, just to heavily return to a metal part that takes you to the end. Ok, I guess I am hooked now, just after two songs, but in a way it just gets better, Burden Of Power takes the seventies vocal style to our twenty-first century. Building on a solid and sharp sounding base of drum and bass, Ryan can excel on his guitar. Sorry if I am repeating myself, it's the majestic overall sound that makes the whole album sound amazing and highlights the musical qualities of these young musicians. The album's force majeure is the song Introspect, divided in two separate parts. Part One is a strong atmospheric piece that takes you to the dark depths of hell, a haunting atmosphere is created by a subtle piano and a threatening synth. Part Two takes over when the guitar kicks in, taking you to a dark progressive journey, where psychedelic elements go hand in hand with jazzy parts and early Pink Floyd type soundscapes. Theo Travis lends his sax and flute for the total psychedelic experience and does a brilliant job. The album's final track Logos will appeal to the more moderate progressive rock fan, Logos still holds one of the best guitar solos on the album, but lacks the metallic touch the first three songs had. Nevertheless a worthy song to end the album.
Eden Shadow has released an amazing album, a powerful first half and a more psychedelic and progressive rock touch indicates the second half. Overall an album that will keep on requesting their fair time of spins in my player. Btw, did I mention the more that wonderful overall sound?, I did, did I?
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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