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Winter In Eden: Echoes Of Betrayal

A good friend of mine suggested that when I was confronted by UK symphonic metallers Winter In Eden at last year's excellent Fused Festival, I would immediately be queuing up at the merch stall to purchase their albums. Well in truth I was slightly underwhelmed. Whilst there was little denying that the band had put in a solid display, there wasn't too much to suggest that they had the songs to really stand out in an incredibly over-populated genre. A quick listen to that band's second album Awakening proved I had maybe been slightly too hasty to dismiss this UK five-piece out of hand. Something I'm glad to say that album number three Echoes Of Betrayal confirms completely.

For those giving this album a passing listen, influences such as Within Temptation or Nightwish would be all too easy to throw out. However give the twelve tracks on Echoes... a more concerted hearing and you'll discover that WiE are actually using some fairly recognisable ideas to walk their own path. Yes, the riff are bold and guttural, the themes bombastic and grandiose and the vocals of the female variety. However the basis for this album stands on strong slabs of guitar that for the majority of this album refrain from being too obviously symphonic. Yes, the synthed strings and choral stabs offer up a rich tapestry of classical influences, but the riffs are more often than not reliant on a more back to basics metal standing. Now that may sound like a step back, but in truth it is anything but with songs like "Lies", "Possession" or "The Secret Room" all sounding like they could stand with, or without the broader musical themes. However Echoes Of Betrayal doesn't lack for subtlety, with sharp arrangements and interesting little snatches of glockenspiel, chimes, or piano adding colour and structure that strengthens already strident songwriting.

Many bands in this area of music stand or fall by their frontwoman, however for Winter In Eden, this has never been an issue with the less theatrical, or classical strains of Vicky Johnson proving to be rather captivating. Rather than shatter glass, or sound like a classical singer desperately searching for a grittier tone, Vicky uses a more natural approach to bring her full, rich, deep tone to the forefront of the songs. With Samuel Cull providing the weighty guitar attack and Steve Johnson (no relation to Vicky) constantly embellishing with his tasteful keyboard work, the songs still leave enough room for the vocals to sit easily in their surroundings, never having to jostle their way through to prominence. The album does add more classical variation through the string laden "Eyes Of A Child", or the piano led "What We Leave Behind", but it is never a case of style of substance. Something confirmed by the sweeping, forceful three song chapters of "The Awakening", which continue where the first two chapters left off from the band's previous release.

Echoes Of Betrayal is a real step up in quality and class from Winter In Eden - a band that deserves to finally see The UK put on the symphonic metal map!


Track Listing
1. For The Few
2. Possession
3. The Awakening Chapter III - Regret
4. The Awakening Chapter IV - Torment
5. The Awakening Chapter V - Descension
6. Trapped
7. Lies
8. Suffer In Silence
9. Eyes Of A Child
10. What We Leave Behind
11. Stone Cold
12. The Secret Room

Added: May 12th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Winter In Eden Official Website
Hits: 1087
Language: english

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