Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 
Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Edensong

The Fruit Fallen

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s start this off by saying that this CD will pretty certainly make my “best albums of 2008” list. It will definitely be near the top of the “best progressive rock albums…” group. It’s a disc I’ll be listening to for a long time. I fell in love with this on the first time hearing it and I’m not likely to wander far from it in the foreseeable future. That said, there are a few complaints here. Let’s address the highlights first, though.

For starters this band’s sound seems to do a great job of merging classic progressive rock with neo-prog. There is a lot of symphonic music in the mix here. The lyrical themes are powerful and thought provoking and there is never a sense of a “weak track.” Comparisons to such bands as Yes, Pentwater, Renaissance, ELP, Dream Theater and others apply to various points, but these guys are no one’s clone.

So, what are the negatives? Well, there are a couple points – the first one is early in the opening piece – where the mix seems too cluttered and it just gives a bit of a jarring clash from too many instruments in one place at the same time. Next up, there is a certain formula to the song construction. Other than one piece (next complaint – hang on) everything here starts with a mellow motif and for the most part builds into something bigger. The music never feels redundant, but some change in that pattern might have been nice. Now, that aforementioned track – it’s a “hidden track.” First off, the whole practice of putting some un-listed piece of music at the end of a CD after some silence was clever fifteen years ago. Now it’s clichéd and overdone. Secondly, the track they chose to do it with is one of the strongest on the album and the only piece of music here that doesn’t follow the “open with the mellow” formula. It should have been placed in a better position on the disc. Well, that’s all I’ve got for negatives. Those are all pretty minor and hopefully will serve as constructive criticism both for Edensong’s next release (I can’t wait) and others reading this review. Remember, it is one of the best albums of the year. You won’t be disappointed by picking it up. It just isn’t perfect – but how many discs truly are?

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Water Run
The guitar part that starts this somehow reminds me of Marillion. The track is worked through a weird transitionary segment and then shifts towards a rather classically tinged ballad approach. Vocals a bit like Jon Anderson enter and we’re off. The track builds in very intriguing ways. There are definite Yesisms here, particularly the fast paced segment that serves as a segue to the next mellow section calls to mind the Peter Banks era of that band. I can also make out some ELP here and there and Pentwater is a group I’m reminded off with some of the eccentric shifts. This is a tale that combines light and heavy motifs and fast and slow sections into a cohesive piece of music that is powerful and very much in keeping with old school progressive rock while still feeling fresh and new. It’s amazing how much change and alteration is worked into a roughly six minute long piece of music. There’s an awesome classical music meets progressive rock ballad section late in the track.
The Baptism
Somehow the dark textures of the acoustic guitar introduction here reminds me of the balladic side of early Metallica. This is definitely not a metal piece of music, though. It shifts to a heavily symphonic sedate piece of music with an energetic world inspired percussion track. After this introductory movement it drops down to ballad modes for the vocals. This is dark and beautiful. It’s packed with emotion and somehow reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree – yet there’s still a heavy metal edge to it. That’s not in terms of delivery – this is acoustic guitar and voice only – but rather in terms of the mood. It does shift out to some noisy metallic sounds after this verse finishes out, though. We get some vocals over this and then it crescendos. Then we’re in a motif that’s almost like a progressive rock take on church music – think organ based choral hymns. After a short time they return to a truncated version of the earlier ballad motif and then an extended take on the crunch section. This resolves out into a musical mode that has a smooth groove and feels a bit like Pink Floyd meets modern Marillion. This works through for a while, building up a bit and then bursts into metallic Dream Theater type sounds. That section serves as the closing salvo.

Reflection
The balladic treatment that starts things here really makes me think of Pentwater. This builds up more slowly than the previous tracks. This is a much less dynamic piece of music than the two songs that preceded it. There’s no huge reinvention with new musical themes being introduced. Instead this changes in degrees. Layers are added here and taken away there. It’s essentially an evocative and powerful progressive rock ballad. It’s a great piece of music and serves as a nice grounding.

The Prayer
This starts off with mellow music like made up the last cut. Then it explodes out into a motif that’s rather crunchy, but more in an old school prog style than any kind of neo-prog near metal. As this plays through it gives way to a musical format that’s sort of in-between those two extremes for the song proper. The vocal arrangement and layering of incidental instruments over the top on this track is brilliant. It builds up and then returns to the mellower motifs again. Some of the later movements on this track, when it powers back up, remind me a bit of Yes meets Kansas. They continue and change after change ensues. The one thing that remains is a potent emotional texture. This is actually one of my favorite tracks on show here.

Nocturne
Piano and voice start this off and it carries like this for a time, turning a bit jazzy now and then. It’s past the minute and a half mark before we hear other instruments. The band jump in and we’re off on another great progressive rock journey. This feels quite retro – to a good degree because of the keyboard textures. It gives way after a time to a more playful approach that actually makes me think a bit of Jellyfish. It moves through by repeating these sections for a time, but then bursts out into a killer prog rock excursion later. That segment makes me think of more organic bands like Renaissance, but also bands like Yes and Pentwater. A short mellower interlude gives way to a more powered up jam that has a cool off-timed feel. This (paired with that interlude) really makes me think of Pentwater quite a bit. It’s a powerhouse jam. This doesn’t stay around for long, though. They dissolve into spacey weirdness and then take us to some thrash metal. Even during that section, though, weird space sounds swirl out over the top. Eventually we’re dropped back to the seriously sedate section – but it’s got a little bit of a twist to it. This takes us back to more familiar territory. Variants continue until they take this one out.

The Sixth Day
In many ways this doesn’t vary from most of the rest of the music here. In other words, there is a trademark Edensong sound and this track has it. It works its way through mellower motifs and harder jams and turns this way and that. The thing is all those pieces similar as they are the track doesn’t really seem redundant. In fact the powerful “not any Lord of mine” chorus makes this one of the most potent pieces of music on show here. This also has some of the most metallic moments on show. It also features some of the most beautiful and symphonic mellow textures. Such is the type of dichotomy that Edensong seems to excel with. I’d have to consider pegging this one as my favorite number on the album.

One Breath to Breathe
If that last sentence seemed indecisive, this is why. Depending on the day I’d pick this as my favorite here. It’s full of emotion. The ballad section to this is both very Pentwater-like and extremely evocative. They power this one up only a little.  Like “Reflection,” it’s a more cohesive and less dynamic piece of music. That really gives it time to breath and draw you in more than some of the other songs.

The Reunion
This piece clocks in around the ten minute mark, but takes up the last twenty one minutes and change. That’s because there’s a couple minutes of silence followed by a “hidden track.”  The actual song “The Reunion” starts in a pretty balladic motif. It builds very gradually and then stops. A faster, but still melodic and mellow, pattern enters. As this is reborn with a more electrified arrangement we move out into the serious progressive rock. There are crunchy times here, too. They seriously rock out at times on this one. The first three and a half minutes or so are taken up by an alternating pattern of light and heavy. Then they shift out into a killer jam that makes me think of Pentwater. This takes it back to the earlier heavy motifs and we get a screaming guitar solo. They take things through familiar territory until around the seven minute mark when this shifts to something closer to Jethro Tull. Then it’s twisted and turned here and there, again feeling a lot like Pentwater. They work it back into the familiar territory and eventually take it out.

Hidden Track
It’s a shame this track is hidden. It’s actually one of the highlights of the CD. For one thing it differs from every other piece of music here in that it leads off with fast paced harder edged music breaking the formula of building from mellow sounds. It encompasses a wide range of sounds here and would probably be the best number to appeal to the progressive rock crowd. There are moments that feel like Yes. Other sections make me think of ELP. And yet it has some of the crunch of neo-prog. This track really deserved a better place in the lineup.

 
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Non-Prog
Progressive Rock
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2019 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com