Cry For Eden call themselves a progressive orchestral rock band. They hail from Portland, Oregon, USA. Recently they released their debut album The 11th Hour, a concept album that deals with both the contemplation of the human condition in modern times, and the promoting of the positive values in life. The band want to emphasize that this project was created to promote awareness and understanding of the times in which we live and to share a positive view about the changes we can make in our life to positively influence other people. Changes occur when we look within ourselves first. With this album they also want the listeners to question their own life: what is our purpose for living, for the things we do in life, and how does it affect other people, the environment and the animals? In a positive or a negative way? They hope that the music they created will inspire at least some people and will contribute to help us to learn and develop the great journey of life which we're all part of.
The people responsible for translating this message into music are Lisa Mann (lead vocals, bass), Larry London (drums), Don Graham (guitars) and James Borst (piano, synthesizers, orchestration). The musicians who contributed to the creation of this project were Teri Untalan (violin, viola), Samantha Kushnick (cello), Mark Davis (acoustic and electric guitars), Kevin Hahn (electric guitar), John Long (bass, guitars) and Chris Finster (electric guitar). Obviously the question rises if they managed to reach the outside world with this musical concept. After listening to The 11th Hour I have to admit that they succeeded in creating a very special record. The sound fragments in combination with the strong compositions lead to a story that never gets boring. Involuntarily I had to think about the concept album by Telergy reflecting the biblical story of The Exodus (see review). However, the sound fragments on that album overshadowed the musical parts, which gave the idea that I was listening to a radio play wherein some music for distraction had been included. This wasn't the case at all with The 11th Hour. I even felt that the 43 minutes of this musical concept were way too short.
The music can be divided into two different styles. On the one hand you get the heavy guitar parts shifting in a direction of gothic bands like Epica, Within Temptation, After Forever, Evanescence or Kamelot. The first four bands also have a female singer and you can hear those typical gothic female choirs in their music as well. However, Lisa Mann doesn't sing like the mezzo-soprano voices of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) or Simone Simons (Epica), but more as a rock singer like for instance Amy Lee (Evanescence). She has a rather strong voice that lifts the music to a higher level. On the other hand Cry For Eden has a softer side as well. You could even say that they've been strongly influenced by classical music. This especially applies to the way James Borst plays the piano and the orchestral keyboard parts in combination with the string section. Because of that the music often tends towards a classical style. Throughout the album a blend of both styles can be heard. This is very tastefully done and in my imagination I saw a conductor in front of a classical orchestra to accompany Cry For Eden. It's not necessary to mention some special tracks since all songs are worthwhile listening to; never a dull moment, so to speak!
People who enjoy a mixture of heavy guitar parts and classical influences are recommended to give The 11th Hour a listen. Especially people who like the above-mentioned bands will most likely appreciate this debut album by Cry For Eden!
***+ Henri Strik (Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013