Edenian - Forgotten Once (EP) (2014)

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Whether by luck or by strength of will, there are just some bands that have "it." I can't say with any certainty what "it" actually is, or how one acquires "it," but Edenian are the perfect example of a modern metal band with all the right tools. The Ukranian two piece studio project, expanded for the live stage, has managed to fill the hypothetically void left by the long absence of Draconian. With a strong male and female presence vocally, hey find a safe space between beauty and beast that many attempt, but few achieve success. It isn't a one dimensional attack, or even two for that matter. What has made this band stand out over many others to this point is the ability to be flexible, and grow within the constraints of an album. With three new songs and a pair of classic covers, Forgotten Once isn't a major leap forward, but it is a step toward the next evolution of their sound. And it does leave questions.

All of the elements of the sublime haven't left in between releases; in fact, they have become even more refined. To Eternity embodies something you don't typically find in many melodic metal circles, in that it has the ability to be grave without sacrificing beauty. However, in trying to give equal time and equal space for all of the different sounds and emotions that run through the track there are times where it feels overcrowded. The smoother transitions, dominated by the male vocals, actually find a greater balance. It becomes a concerning trend, as frontwoman Valerie Chudentsova's voice feels overproduced, slathered in effects and thus constricted. Her swoon in The Ghost, though beautiful and chill inducing, lacks the natural appeal. Her counterpart, Max Molodtsov, has never sounded as good as he does here, a crisp and terrifying roar through a wall of riffs and percussion. The outlier on the album, Awoken, is the best piece of work, overall. Rooted in a sweeping piano melody, it sees both vocalists delivering on their talents, while also turning the screws on the mix. By adding layers of harmony, the band excels beyond what they've shown to this point.

Completed with two brilliantly executed covers, tackling both Paradise Lost and Xandria, Forgotten Once is a drop in the creative bucket for a band with a mile high ceiling. Edenian have everything they could need to make a run for the throne of melodic metal, both in talent and concept. While this EP isn't going to shake the Earth at your feet, or rewrite the metal history books, it is a bright sign for the future of this band, and this genre. But like an insecure chef covers his dishes in sauce and spice, Edenian must show confidence in letting Chudentsova's voice shine through, radiant and powerful as it is, without the effects that hide it. By making this small, yet significant change, you could hear a dramatic difference in the overall arc of the mix. After all, there is nothing on this EP, or anything in the back catalog to be less than confident in. The next album will be the true sign of what's to come.

8/10

Bandcamp - http://edenian.bandcamp.com/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Edenian/168859386497489