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Edge of Haze: Illumine

I love it when albums connect with books, particularly books that sound so interesting that I want to rush out and read them immediately. The book behind this album is called Escape from Camp 14. I haven't read it yet so I won't pretend to know much about it. What I do know is that it depicts an unflinching account of a young man's escape from North Korea after having a vision that his city is burning. According to the reviews on (and elsewhere), the book is a gripping, dark, and fascinating account. Listening to this album—and learning about its source text—make me want to read the book and to make connections between the music and the book even more deeply. I suppose this is probably a concept album, but the band's promotional materials do not describe it that way. Let's just say the book inspired the music and leave it at that.

As for the band, Edge of Haze plays heavy rock / metal with a strong overlay of progressive materials. According to their own promo materials, they compare best with Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, Junius, and Ghost Brigade.

The band's melodic music, particularly through the occasional use of keyboards, gives things a slightly otherworldly quality, something almost dream like. From time to time, this sound is broken up by a much heavier groove and growl, the stuff of extreme metal. I thought this dance of styles worked pretty well even though the band favors the melodic material much more. The one advantage to the band's melodic style is that the lyrics are more or less easy to understand, an important factor considering this album's source material. I tend to prefer a slightly darker tone to my music, but I think the emphasis here is not on the horror of the story but on its overall positive aspects. In that sense, the band is right to resist the darkness and focus, instead, on what makes this story inspiring. My favorite track was the rather haunting "A Storm at the River." That track really captures the best of what this band does. I also really enjoyed "Into the Red Sun" and "The Newfound Horizon."

Fans of melodic metal will probably enjoy this album; those who prefer a heavier style may like it as well. There are occasional nods to the more extreme side of metal here, but the album does not dwell on them. As a reflection on Escape from Camp 14, this is a compelling and fascinating album.

Track Listing:
1. Drawn
2. The Pyre
3. Urban Reverie
4. Crushed
5. 3:30 A.M.
6. Into the Red Sun
7. Unlearn
8. A Storm at the River
9. Rainfall
10. The Newfound Horizon

Added: December 10th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1398
Language: english

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