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Cry For Eden: The 11th Hour
"Cry for Eden is a female fronted progressive rock band hailing from Portland, Oregon. The band members include well known artists: Lisa Mann, on vocals & bass; Larry London, on drums; Don Graham, on guitars and James Borst, on piano, keyboards, and orchestration. In addition, Teri Untalan, plays violin & viola, and Samantha Kushnic, plays cello. The album was mixed and mastered by the well-respected engineer Kevin Hahn of Opal Studio in Portland" (http://cryforedenmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-11th-hour, 2012) .
Many have compared Cry for Eden's sound with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Within Temptation, Epica and Nightwish, among others.
Chase Velarde did an excellent job capturing the spirit and power of the music and emotion with his many illustrations for the CD cover and booklet. Finally, Portland has a band to watch on the level with some of Europe's best. Can't wait to see this live. Nothing is missing here. A difficult but important story about preparing well for the future. A future with this band in it, is a good one for the Portland area. I hope they will present this album someday with a full stage theatric presentation. People get this!
Every epic album should have a great "Opening". And this epic debut is no different. However the way they handle it is. This time we hear narration of a mother putting her daughter to bed at night with soft symphonic level piano and strings building into…
"The Prelude, Part I", which opens with Mann's first vocals. "Hush my little child, sleep my little girl. Nothing can harm you, no nothing in the world. Rest in golden slumber, think nothing of the world". The calm before the storm. A moment we all can remember from childhood and probably often wish we could return to in adult life, every now and again.
"Nightmare" begins with the sound of the news on TV. And it's not good. Enough to animate the scary dreams running through the daughter character's head. She wakes up and definitely needs comforting again. The guitars, keys, and powerful drums fire up…
…as "The Prelude, Part II" begins with Rush – level guitar action that later pins even higher heavy metal decibels as the emotions in the music pick up a whirlwind pace. At times you can even close your eyes and envision some of the magic from Dream Theatre's "Pull Me Under", without the speed drums.
"The 11th Hour", opens amidst the increased pace, then…only for one more epic slow - down filled with narration, "Men, since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have been attempted to devise an international process to prevent or settle disputes between nations". Behind this backdrop the full power and instrumentation of the band is unleashed with Mann's vocals taking the lead. This time her vocals are full of fire and power. Another brief pause, with excerpts from Roosevelt's "Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself" speech, laid perfectly between anthem level heavy guitars, bass, and power drums. Followed by a wonderful interlude of Mann's softer vocals and beautiful soft piano. At 7:28 minutes, one of the epics on the album and definitely worth the price of admission alone. The musicianship is on the same level with some of Europe's best heavy metal progressive bands…which is very good news for those of us in the States wishing to find that level locally.
"One Last Hope" calms the flames of emotion with soft string orchestration and piano. Mann's vocals help add more calm as she delivers, "Here in the dark we wait, being too afraid to know, where we should go. Awaiting a sign, a sign that will make it crystal clear, that we're following the one who knows". "One Last Hope to transcend through this terrible night". Teri Untalan's violin and viola solos will take your breath away. Samantha Kushnick's cello adds more wonderful calm to the growing peace. The light is beginning to shine again.
"Echoes of Eternity" brings back more of that epic early Dream Theatre level keys before the dam breaks and pounding drums and lightning guitars rock on. This instrumentation took me right back to Dream Theatre's first release, "When Dream and Day Unite", only this time you have Mann's preferred vocals. Great lyrics supporting a storyline, emerging from the dark night into a brighter dawn. The drum work is some of the best on the album keeping difficult pace and setting its own banter at times. The keys are also immensely creative and full of emotion. Untalan's violin and viola work again shines through the mist and power of the keys, heavy guitars and drums.
"Eve of Revelation" opens with my favorite, rolling piano set to fantastic rhythm. This is a great instrumental interlude full of brilliant piano, again worth the price of admission alone. The strings and supporting orchestration make the track a great album centerpiece.
"Truth Beyond Reason" opens again with that magnificent piano and Mann's beautiful vocals. "Just when you think you've lost your head, you turn the eye inward and find the truth instead. Truth beyond reason, no reason for despair". Yes, excellent lyrics, sung with passion and powerful emotion. That rolling piano is back as the light begins to shine brighter. "Darkness is banished as a voice cries through the gloom".
At 7:06 minutes, "Finally Free" is the epic closer and finale for this story and album. It opens with some of the best solo guitar on the album supported well with waves of synth – like keys and Japanese – like drums. Then some excellent Renaissance – like guitar supporting Mann's soft voice singing, "What joy we might find, when we open our eyes…" "Then peace shall reign, and true love will rule our minds". More excellent guitar solos supported patiently with soft drums and bass. Satisfied, but leave them wanting more.
2. The Prelude, Part I
4. The Prelude, Part II
5. The 11th Hour
6. One Last Hope
7. Echoes of Eternity
8. Eve of Revelation
9. Truth Beyond Reason
10. Finally Free
Added: April 28th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Cry For Eden Bandcamp.com
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