Eden’s Curse, Cardinal album launch and review
Eden’s Curse, Cardinal album launch and review
I wasn’t expecting tonight to be such a big thing but when you add up all the ingredients you can understand why I had a great night:-
1 It has been a long two years since the brilliant “Symphony Of Sin”.
2 We had Paul Logue and John Clelland here.
3 It was compered by none other than Scottish Legend Tom( I have a book coming out) Russell.
4 We have all of the lovely ladies from the album cover here.
5 We are the first to hear Cardinal in its entirety.
The venue is Glasgows Hard rock Cafe and it is very apt with a name steeped in rock legend. We see many familiar faces, we smooze, we have a little drink and we take our seats. The night is split into two parts with one half of the album split between a little Q&A with Paul and John.
We got some great insights behind the band and Cardinal. The best story has to be that the whole concept came from Thorsten purchasing a new guitar which Paul decided was Cardinal red. How they got from that to the beautiful package I am holding in my hands is a leap of faith and also tells you how creative these guys.
I could go into more details around the launch but it was all about middle aged men fighting to get a photo with the girls in full dress and the most important part of getting our ears around the album. Two years is a long time in this industry and I put on Symphony Of Sin before I left my house tonight and I knew it was going to be a real ask to top that.
The First track on Cardinal is “ Prophets Of Doom” and bang…what a way to kick it off. Paul had promised us a much heavier album and this track is the way to throw down that gauntlet. We get our first taste of keyboards from new guy Chrism before bursting into a galloping guitar riff that takes me back to classic Queensryche. A great opener.
Next up is first single “Sell your Soul” and this is scaled back to a more radio friendly number. It will sit happily in any Symph metal fans top 10. It is full to bursting with melodies and reminded me of the kind of switch in sound that Rainbow embraced on the album “Down To Earth”. A nice change of pace and a great hook of a chorus and an obvious sing a long live.
Back to the full on metal with “The Great Pretender” and this is where I really felt the change in keyboard player has had such a difference to the bands sound. It creates another layer and to my ears is much more prominent and melds far better. The chorus again bursts like that Graham Bonnet era Rainbow. It mixes the heavy and the more main stream in perfect ease, it also sees a running battle with Chrism and Thorsten which is sublime and makes the song all the more special.
“Messiah Complex” goes deep into the dark depths of metal and goes from industrial to symphonic in a split second. It amazes me how these songs are strung together via snippets, ideas and emails to come out the other end sounding so complete, though out and fucking awesome. Once again keyboard and guitar scream out for your attention and as this album moves on you can tell the technical intricacies are a leap above anything this band have ever done previously. Every track is masterfully sculptured for your ears. There is so much going on you cannot take everything in with just one play. I have listened to this more than half a dozen times and I flip from speakers to headphones and each time I am picking up something new.
“Find My Way” slows it down again but unlike “Sell your Soul” we are bordering on a ballad. Nikola’s voice is soaring and beautiful and this song alone puts this bands faith in him when he was picked from relative obscurity. This is his song from start to finish.
Now what the hell? I dive at my Ipod and wonder how this flipped onto level 42 when I haven’t even got any on there(honest). No, its ok, it’s only Paul slapping the hell out of his bass. Once the funk calms down “Kingdom Of Solitude” turns into a right little ass kicker. The fast, technical and heavy sound is back with a vengeance. I loved this one and I wonder if this will be brought out live and I wonder if Paul will be notching up his bass strap a good few holes.
“Utopian Dreams” starts like it sounds, a flutter of keys, an early Rainbows story on ivories. It thunders at you from the off, the tempo changes come fast and furious as the song progresses. Nikola’s voice gets higher and higher until I start worrying about the crystal glasses. I do not know if it was the title but this song and its heavily influenced keyboard sound took me to utopia’s RA album.
“This Is Our Moment” has that perfect Eden’s Curse sound and backing vocals, another cracker of a song. “Rome’s On Fire” may be set in the past but could almost be up to date as the whole world seems to be in chaos. America is a global laughing stock, the UK is ripping itself apart as the rich, the elite and the government look on and smile. We may not learn our lessons from history but hey, we got another tied down Eden’s Curse classic.
“Unconditional” is a stroke of Genius. Earlier that night Paul told a story of how he wrote this song With Liv Kristine(ex Leaves eyes) in mind. He had chased up trying to get her on board and although the initial rumblings were good it went very quiet until he was in a pub in Glasgow and he met Leaves Eyes tour manager who told him Liv was there. They talked and the deal was done. For me it was funny to hear this story as I interview Liv that night in the same pub as Leaves eyes were playing in Audio, a venue in Glasgow, right next to the same pub…I just missed history but the end result is fantastic. Liv and Nikola’s vocals work brilliantly together.
“Saints and Sinners” goes full on medieval with some monk chanting and all out speed metal guitars. It has a hook from the 90s and a wondering sound that sets this up as my second favourite track on the album, the favourite being the final and best in “Jericho” and WOW. At just shy of eight minutes this song has everything you can imagine. This has to be played live but boy it is going to be a tough one for the guys with only a weeks rehearsal before the upcoming tour. The sound is huge and the backbone reminded me of Black Sabbath with Dio. The lyrical depth and story telling could be one of Maidens lengthy classics. This song hands down will rock your world. I just hit repeat for half an hour. I cannot recommend this song or this album enough.
Eden’s Curse have done it again, no wait, they have not done it again, they have taken everything they have done before and smashed it to bits, ground it to dust with 12 tracks of technical, heavy and masterful beauty. Go buy it and at the same time get your ticket for an upcoming gig. You do not have long to wait so get off your ass now.
I do not usually rate albums as I feel you pretty much get how I feel from my words but I know the band have a liking for them so if I have to mark Cardinal out of ten it has to get an 11…I mean with 10 you have nowhere else to go…and 11 is one more.
Review and images Ritchie Birnie