Edenbridge - The Grand Design
Before dismissing Edenbridge as another Nightwish-clone, have in mind that they released their debut album already back in the year 2000, and they were formed two years earlier. The Austrian quintet has proved to be a very productive one, since The Grand Design is their fifth album in just seven years.
In spite of being around for so long, the band seems to have slipped under many metal-fans' radar, including my own. Luckily for Edenbridge, there are a couple of songs here that could change that. For example, Flame Of Passion has a chorus so addictive that I wonder if Edenbridge should perhaps consider doing a Lordi, and compete for Austria in the next year's Eurovision Song Contest. Then again, Nightwish tried a similar thing a few years ago and didn't even qualify to the ESC. But let's also not disregard that the Estonian girl-group Vanilla Ninja got their breakthrough when competing for Switzerland with their Nightwish-similar hit Cool Vibes last year. Don't ask how I know all this, by the way.
In terms of song value, The Grand Design does its job. Especially the ten minute long title track is very ambitious, and contains a large variety of instruments. The best tracks are still the ones that are more straightforward, like Evermore and On Top Of The World. Disappointment-wise, it's strange to see that the ballads on the album are so pale. These tracks are usually the safe bets in woman-fronted metal (a beautiful voice can often carry a weak song) but these don't get to me at all.
The keyboardist/guitarist Lanvall might not be on par
with Tuomas Holopainen when it comes to song writing, and Sabine Edelsbacher
might not have a voice as distinct and characteristic as Tarja Turunen,
but they still do their job well enough to lift this solid release slightly