|Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2012||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 75%|
We often judge the credentials of a melodic hard rock album by starting with the basics. It must present with commercial hooks in abundance and the radio friendly sensibilities to match. A healthy balance between heavier rocking numbers and ballads is also essential. A soaring vocalist with the ability to hit a high note goes without saying. The rest? Polished production, shredding guitar leads and intelligent lyrics complete the package.
Now take this melodic hard rock checklist and apply it to the 2012 self-titled debut from Eden’s Realm:
What Eden’s Realm brings to the table is a heavier take on the genre, exuding a bit more muscle than typical of most melodic rock and AOR in almost approaching metal territory. Despite the guitar driven proclivity, Eden’s Realm, similar to the 2008 solo release, Klenzd, of front man James Guest, makes room for the hooks and radio friendly elements that go hand in hand. Best reflecting this are opening tracks “Seeker”, hard charging front to back with lighter tinges for its catchy chorus, and “Indictment”, lushly textured in starting calmly prior to building into a full-bore but engaging rocker. “Eiisha”, the third in line, plods at the slower tempo in upholding some darker elements blended into its accessible foundation. What the trio has in common is the quality that would allow them to stand alongside the best Guardian, Novella, Liberty N’ Justice and Line Of Fire have to offer.
Also very good is the uplifting milieu of worship rocker “Awesome God” (blending in some low-key and bluesy aspects) and no-nonsense frill to the heavy set “DNA” (ominous in capacity with its bottom heavy vibe). “Dare To Believe” proves powerful in form with its ominous components (mixed with lighter acoustic traces) while “Throne Room” upholds a sublime aura in drifting between calmer passages and those taking a more trenchant heading (also including a cool jazz-fusion instrumental opening).
Two ballads are included, which is just about right for an eleven song album. “Heart Of Man” takes a heavy rock semi-ballad approach with worshipful overtones not unlike “Awesome God”, albeit with a lighter touch musically. “Must Be The One” highlights a traditional ballad feel, with smoothly flowing verses standing alongside a fittingly poignant chorus.
Lone songwriting complaint revolves around a couple filler tracks at the end, “Now More Than Ever” and “Eden’s Realm”. Perhaps it is due to their short length (both are under four minutes) but neither is allowed to build in the same manner as the albums better material (my opinion only). Many of the Eden’s Realm tracks satisfyingly come in within the five and six minute range.
James Guest continues to deliver the goods with his pure and pristine vocal delivery, capable of soaring for a higher register but also able to reach down and deliver some mid-ranged heart and soul. Not to invite comparison, but if into names I mentioned in my Klenzd review (80%) - Steve Perry (Journey), Rik Emmett (Triumph), Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) and Shawn Pelata (Line Of Fire) - then I can see his style appealing to your tastes. Either way he upholds a similar quality.
Production shines in aligning perfectly placed rhythm guitars with underpinning bass lines, cleanly balanced leads and focuses drums. The upshot is polished but not so to a fault.
One of the hazards to download only music (Eden’s Realm is still awaiting a CD release) is that you do not always got adequate liner notes and such is the case here. Hence, I have no idea who contributes the albums lead guitar work. The artist’s website lists James Guest as handing rhythm guitar, while bassist Luis Ramos and drummer Mikey Uptmore form the capable rhythm section. Regardless, soloing is up to the standards of the arena rock genre. I particularly enjoy the searing leads on “Seeker” and joining of emotion and majesty bestowed to “Throne Room”. Soloing of a more flowing (and bluesy) nature can be found on “Dare To Believe”.
Lyrics might not come with the download either but clearly reflect the artists faith. Worship rock pieces “Awesome God” and “Heart Of Man” immediately come to mind: “Our God. Awesome God. He is King of everything. Rock of Ages. He is the Ancient of Days” (from the former), and “Hallelujah. Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done. Hallelujah. Let us worship at His throne” (latter). “Throne Room” draws its lyrics from the Book of Revelation: “In the room of the throne. Angel’s bow down. Elders lay their crown. Thunder and lightning breaks”. Strongest statement of faith can be found on “Must Be The One”: “He hung His head. Drew His last breath. And one man said surely, this must be the One. Gave His life for me. He died to set men free”.
If into any of the already noted artists - not to mention Action, Mastedon, Sweet Crystal and AdrianGale - then I can see Eden’s Realm being of interest. Again, melodic hard rock on the heavier side of things but not forsaking accessible hooks in the process. A couple of commercial ballads help to round things out. Lone complaint revolves is a couple of filler tracks at the end and incomplete liner notes. Guest’s signature vocals (not to mention strengths in the areas of production and lyrics) help to make this a necessary purchase for fans of all forms of melodic rock.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Seeker” (6:00), “Indictment” (4:44), “Eiisha” (5:02), “Awesome God” (4:23), “Heart Of Man” (5:15), “Dare To Believe” (5:17), “DNA” (3:53), “Must Be The One” (5:19), “Throne Room” (3:55), “Now More Than Ever” (3:41), “Eden’s Realm” (3:25)
James Guest - Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Luis Ramos - Bass
Mikey Uptmore - Drums