October 14th is the release date of AFM Records recording artist Eden’s Curse to release their latest album Cardinal. The band took three years to record the follow-up to 2013’s Symphony of Sin. The extra time was taken in an effort to do things properly and to explore every possible opportunity to make each song the best it could be while trying to create a heavier sound. They nailed it with Cardinal! All the songs are well crafted, with progressive elements, epic highs and lows, and much heavier sounding than any of their other four releases. If I had to describe their sound I would have to say they are like Primal Fear meets Helloween.
The U.K. based band consists of singer Nikola Mijic, bass player Paul Logue, guitarist Thorsten Koehne, keyboardist Chrism Pulkkinen, and newcomer drummer John Clelland. Paul Logue, Thorsten Koehne, and former drummer Pete Newdeck are the primary songwriters of Cardinal.
The album kicks off with the double bass drum intensity of opening song “Prophets of Doom”. This track sets the tone that this is going to be a hard rocking album. The second song, “Sell Your Soul”, was the lead single off the album and is easily the most accessible song. By accessible I mean it is extremely melodic and upbeat and singer Nikola Mijic‘s vocals really soar. One thing that is a little unique about Eden’s Curse sound is the interplay between keyboardist Chrism Pulkkinen and guitarist Thorsten Koehne, which shines in the third song, “The Great Pretender”. They both shred, trading off solos in the song as well as the aforementioned “Sell Your Soul”. I am not a big fan of keyboards in heavy rock music, particularly as a lead instrument, but these guys really pull it off. Next is what I consider the heaviest song on the album, “Messiah Complex”. This just flat out rocks! “Finding My Way” slows things down as the band treads into ballad territory. The song is very epic and the music is powerful but this one did not do it for me. However, things pick up with the funky “Kingdom of Solitude”, and the power metal-ish “Utopian Dreams”. I have heard the opening riff for “This Is Your Moment” somewhere else, but when they get into the verse the song goes in a different direction and it rocks hard. Next up is “Rome’s On Fire” which has a silky smooth vibe with a galloping drum beat. “Unconditional” is a ballad duet with former Leaves’ Eyes singer Liv Kristine and has a nice mellow feel to it, and the vocals are out of this world. “Saints and Sinners” is the eleventh track and it has a true power metal feel to it. It is a quality song but is probably my least favorite on the album. The album closes with the very epic “Jericho”. This song has everything in it, a long instrumental section, huge musical dynamics with lyrics that take you an amazing journey. Excellent way to close the album.
Cardinal is a legitimate contender for my top ten albums of the year. Eden’s Curse provides the perfect blend of heavy guitar riffs and slick keyboard driven power metal. If every song were worth one point, I am giving Cardinal a 10 out of 12. Great album, must buy for any melodic metal fan!