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Images Of Eden - 'Soulrise' Album Review


1. Harvest Day

2. Let Me Die Young

3. Shield Me

4. Only Human

5. Moonrise

6. Godless

7. Once We Believed

8. Twice Upon A Time

9. All Is Now Forgiven

10. Waiting For The Sky To Fall

11. And Then There Was One

12. Soulrise

Images Of Eden's music is often intricate and clever, their approach is one of full-on Hard Rock, a more modern interpretation of the NWOBHM tradition one might say, with nods that suggest Rush, and some 80's Rock scattered throughout, certainly not a bad thing.

I (somewhat unfortunately) found myself not thinking, oh that's a clever (or effective) change, rather I thought, why does this remind me of (insert 80's or NWOBHM reference here)?

Not to say that the band are derivative, fans of the era or perhaps peers of the musicians of that movement, they may well be, but it doesn't sound like they are building something to tickle our nostalgia gland (patent pending). It does genuinely sound like they have all come together with ideas for a thoroughly modern Hard Rock album, part of a series of concept albums which has continued since the band's inception. But in the process, perhaps just down to their influences, the band have created an album that updates a classic sound and a classic style pretty much perfectly.

I feel sure that fans of NWOBHM could probably get in touch and tell me how different this album is to the classic NWOBHM bands and I also feel sure they will be correct. In my defence, I never said I knew a lot about NWOBHM. In my formative years, I got into very few Metal bands overall and only really go back to Black Sabbath and Metallica from the "classic" (pre-2000) metal era. Most of which I like because of the variations and development in the music over the years. I can't say how much Images Of Eden have developed over the years of the band's existence and it's line-up changes (they first came into being in the nineties as the brainchild of frontman Gordon Tittsworth), but I can clearly hear nods to the music of the 70's and 80's here.

There's originality here too, to be sure and I'm sure there will be a lot of people coming back to this album again and again. But for me, while the listening I've given the album has shown me the band are incredibly good at what they do, with a very polished production throughout, what they do honestly feels to me like a more modern early Iron Maiden (not to be confused with current Iron Maiden). I can't honestly say I've listened to much Iron Maiden to generate this opinion (many will balk here as they feel a 40-year-old lover of heavy guitar music cannot exist that does not own nor listen to Maiden regularly), but I've made the choices I made over the years and in doing so strayed from the path of least resistance (instead of joining the multitude of Iron Maiden lovers worldwide, I personally chose to follow a Henry Rollins tattoo and investigate Einsturzende Neubauten) in at least this way.

There are some standout tracks to be sure, for many reasons, songs like the gentle "Moonrise", the balladic "And Then There Was One" and the epic "Soulrise" a thoroughly satisfying closer to the album, whose moods are varied and colourful, not least among them. While these may well continue to prove excellent in any of my future listens to this album and there's perhaps enough in those songs to draw me back to the album time and again, I feel like what the band seems to do most often here (and perhaps what will appeal most to many) is the least satisfying element for me.

OK, so do I recommend the album? Yes, it may not be a game changer for me but it may very well be ideal for you, it's bloody well made, the riffs are good, the vocals are good, the rhythmic inventiveness is evident throughout, the only thing I failed to locate was an element that screamed "This is not the new Iron Maiden album!" (besides the clues on the cover). In conclusion, a great album that I didn't quite "get" but would recommend checking out all the same.

Review - Mike McLaughlin

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