1. Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
... Edenbridge was founded as a studio-project by guitarist / keyboarder Lanvall, bassist Kurt Bednarsky and vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher. By the entry of drummer Roland Navratil the line-up was completed for the production of their debut album Sunrise in Eden.” Edenbridge is a symphonic metal band from Austria. Solitaire is their seventh studio album, along with two live and one Chronicles double album, since their debut on September 25, 2000” (Edenbridge‘s My Space page, 2010).
Entree Unique – It’s always appreciated when a band goes through the extra effort and expense of creating both an entry and an exit overture for their new epic album. It definitely adds to the power of the album. This is one of the best overtures I have heard in a while. The Solitaire Orchestra and Choir provide a great epic opening for this album.
Solitaire – The story begins and Sabine’s vocals rise high to deliver the power of these lyrics. A dark starting place. “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.” Sabine, the drums, keys and guitars set the path well with an exciting and dramatic opening worthy of the overture which preceded. The orchestration that fills the middle of this song carries on the power of that opening overture. Everything well connected and designed to set the listener’s ear on fire with sound and they bolt from the gate with excitement. The lead guitar riffs are stunning with the keys and power drums providing perfect support. One of my favorites. Sabine has a unique power to her voice. She can deliver power with such warmth. You can feel the emotion in her voice as she delivers the lyrics throughout this masterpiece. “The diamond in your chain.” Yeah that hits the mark.
Higher – Piano opens the first single with its accompanying video for the album. Power and beauty are brought together well with these opening key strokes. Then the power of guitars and drums take over. Sabine’s voice lifts the lyrics off the page and into your ear with, “Give a little try. Never fall in line for a fleeting moment. Be and end all. I am aiming high.” Her voice is so inspirational and asks us all to “Reach a little higher.” The driving guitars work so well with the power of those drums and the bristling cool keys surrounding all of this magical music. The lyrics are so inspiring and challenge us not to surrender to the monotony of every day existence. “You can shine or resign. Lay it on the line and run the mile.” The mid section and the whole album are orchestrated so well. The choir supports throughout all of the dramatic parts of this album and you hear it well on this song. The instrumental middle is fantastic, filled with each musician’s signature parts and all is well timed.
Skyline’s End – Pounding drums, soaring guitars and an atmosphere of an epic endless journey. The drums, guitars and Sabine’s siren vocals call out. “Where are you? Where have you gone to?” The orchestration supporting this soundscape is wonderful coupled with those massive keyboard sounds. “We followed traces into freedom. Out of this forlorn place to our home.” Mandolins charged with drums and keys. The choruses are unforgettable, “For a moment, for a spell, skyline’s ending, and the last farewell.” The power and drama communicated so effectively.
Bon Voyage Vagabond – Power lead guitar grinding slowly with wonderful synths surrounding. Then those power drums and heavy metal guitars rush forth. Sabine launches, “The heart of discoverer. A poet in your soul. The moving force inside you. A vision and a goal. The advent of an era. At a cracking pace.” Just incredible inspiration, especially in the manner with which she delivers the words. The guitar solo work in the middle is incredible, along with the piano. If this doesn’t move you, what will? The power of those keys matched with the blasting guitar will stay with you long after the album finishes. The orchestration so perfectly supports all of the masterful playing of the main members. The lyrics are incredible. “The valor to explore the other side of darkness. To open the door. Vagabond go on. Endeavor to reach a new state.” Then they close with, “Go deep inside don’t hide your light. All over the place you’ll shine bright.”
Come Undone – Heavy synths and power guitar open this one. Then Sabine, “I came from miles around to holy ground.” The melodies are so powerful and hook the listener instantly. Sabine, “Wherever you are mine. Above the timberline. I’m bound for you. A flame with my desire.” The guitar solos and Sabine’s lone voice surrounded by synths, “I turn and I steer. It’s all hope and fear. The current of time. The only port of call.” The vocals and all that is surrounding them built with time and patience.
Out of this World – Very cool synths and dreamy effects make this one of the best synthesizer songs on the record. The atmosphere is dark, but the synths are magical. The acoustic guitar adds perfectly to the effect. Sabine’s voice is a powerful instrument not only driving the story and lyrics but shaping the emotions with each sound. She can lift to inspirational heights and warm from the depths of what sounds like despair. The guitar solo in the middle is just fantastic. Sabine delivers the powerful ending lyrics, “This treasure, we call liberty. Boundless dreams have no end. They just depend on your will to be free.”
Further Afield – Bouzouki and guitars open this one. The heavy guitars and drums paint a portrait that matches the will power in the lyrics in this song. Sabine’s choruses are wonderful, “A soul stirring journey to be free. Unconfined we are. To see behind. Out of this world afar. A vermillion sky to my naked eye.” The highs she hits rise so far and take you with her. “It’s the eleventh hour. It is no mystery. All by sheer will power.” The guitar work in the middle of the track is dynamite.
A Virtual Dream? – Power drums and guitar set an angry pace. The synths kick in to weave their incredible magic. Sabine supplies the storyline, “Part of the machine. Is all a virtual dream?” Then the synths ignite along with those smashing drums and angry guitars coupled with the power choir and they build to an epic sound. The lead guitar weaves a magical web of glory before the chorus is repeated. The power choir takes us out dramatically.
Brothers in Diamir – Strings, electric lead slowly plucked and synths welcome us to the closer. At 6:52, it is the longest song on the album. A tribute to the story of Reinhold Messner’s legendary ascent of Nanga Parbat and his experience trying to tackle the Diamir face with the loss of his brother. Sabine’s vocals open the story, “The Kashmir sky. The biggest face in the snow. Sixteen thousand feet. Reaching from top to toe.” Sabine continues, “A site of blinding splendor. When destiny calls. Straight on the path to fame.” The guitar solos are accentuated with the power rhythm flowing along with them. The choir echoing in support bringing the drama. Sabine, “It’s an icebound tragedy, the fate of Diamir.” Dramatic and powerful tribute to this tragedy.
Exit Unique – The epilogue like overture repeated only double the time and power.
Rating: 10/10 – I honestly don’t know how they could have made this one any better. The music is epic. The choir and orchestra add to the power of the music provided by the artists in the band. A story of overcoming the odds. An endless journey to make a mark. If you are not inspired by it, like a great movie or novel, then surely you must appreciate the musicianship. One of my favorite albums of 2010.
Reviewed by Prof on August 8th, 2010