Sunday, April 6, 2014

Edge of Thorns - Insomnia

So I'm not sure how this band slid under may radar, forming in 1996 and although they did release some demos they not release their debut until 2004. This band plays a ballsy, riff laden power metal in the vein of Grave Digger and modern Accept. As a matter of fact, vocalist Dirk Schmitt sounds a lot like Chris Boltendahl with a hint of Mark Tornillo with that raspy but melodic metal voice. I was actually expecting something more progressive given they are named after one of Savatage's more progressive and less heavy albums. However, the result is some really enjoyable metal full of melodies, hooks, and riffs that make me glad I grabbed this album.

After a quick intro that sounds like an eerie kids voice that would not be out of place on a King Diamond album, the riffs begin with the first real song, "Dark Side of your Life." Right away you hear the guitar work and the vocals that tell you that this isn't your flowery euro-power metal. This is power metal with balls. The riffs are good and although they are not re-inventing the wheel here, they are making fine heavy metal. The guitar work on here is quite good with tasty solos that are melodic but technical. There's dual harmony solos as well that go well with the music. The production on this album is clean and modern sounding but not in a bad way. The instruments are mixed well together where no one thing drowns out the other. "Yearning Has Begun" has some nice riffs and melodies and the chorus is catchy. The soloing on this album is sometimes unconventional like the intro to the title track that sounds almost like something Steve Vai or Satriani would do. It's those solos along with the meaty riffs that make these songs catchy as fuck.

I also must say that the more I hear this album, I'm reminded of Chris Boltendahl. And speaking of vocals, "Metal Unity" sees Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) guesting on the chorus and he actually is not that bad on here. He fits the song well and actually doesn't sound too out of place with Dirk Schmitt. And the lead guitarist David Brixius is a fucking beast. The more I hear him play the more respect I have for him as he pummels you with crushing solos. Although he is a technical player he doesn't overdo it. Along side of him is Jani Nackel pumping out the riffs. It's not very often we see a female playing rhythm guitar in a traditional or power metal band but she can hold her own. The crunchy riffing on "A Caress of Souls" is a prime example of the massive guitar work on this album. This is an epic song clocking in at 7:20 as well as an anthemic song with it's melodies and hooks. "The 7 Sins of Arthur McGregor" is another epic type number that starts off very melodic but going into some furious riff work with a melodic anthemic chorus. This song also has some interesting time changes. "Death Dealer" is another song that has a killer opening riff and leads into massive hooks in the song. There is a lot going on in some of these songs that keep these songs very interesting.

The only songs on this album that did not entirely grab me was "The Watchmaker" and the closer "...Is This the Way It Ends" which saw the vocals go in a different direction which seemed to not be the strong point for this vocalist, especially the latter being a ballad that just didn't do it for me at all. However, this album as a whole is really good with well written songs and strong musicianship. I'm glad I picked this album up. This album has much more going for it than it seems on the surface and I'm instantly a fan.


No comments: