||WINTER IN EDEN
'Court Of Conscience'
(Firestreak Media LLP)
The third album from Winter In Eden firmly establishes the band among the elite of the talent that continues to pour out of North East England.
'Court Of Conscience' is packed full of drama, intensity and intelligence wrapped up in symphonic Metal with a Gothic twist. It's heavy, heady and intoxicating and – gratifyingly – packed full of strong melodies. Each track earns its place and there is no mid-album lag or obvious filler here.
The tone of the album is set from the very start as a gorgeous piano melody is heard through the pops and crackles of an old vinyl record which bursts into 'Knife Edge', a driving, urgent intense exploration of a relationship at a turning point.
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Vicky Johnson's vocals are absolutely flawless throughout, prominent in the mix adding to the intensity and intimacy and her tone is pristine but with a gorgeous depth and richness that suits the heavy backing perfectly.
The album was recorded in the Netherlands, produced and mixed by Within Temptation's Ruud Jolie and Stefan Helleblad, who certainly know a thing or two about this genre and applied it here with outstanding results.
These production values have resulted in multiple layers to the music where all of the musicians can not only be heard but completely shine.
The song-writing is tight and the album never meanders in self-indulgence or filler, the energy remains high throughout. This translates brilliantly well to the live setting as recently demonstrated in their impeccable set at Cambridge Rock Festival earlier this month.
There are some real gripping earworms among the songs, in a good way – notably 'With Intent' and 'The Script'; the latter starting with solo vocal harmony and utilising live strings on what is probably the most commercial and accessible track on the album, but does not sound out of place at all.
Throughout the album the lyrics re-visit questioning, analysing, learning through experience, reviewing everyone's motives and struggling to make choices. It's upbeat and empowering though, there's nothing maudlin or weak here.
This is one hell of a symphonic Metal album that will hold its own anywhere.
'Court Of Conscience' Tracklisting:
Critical Pass Part I – Burdened
Order Of Your Faith
It's Not Enough
Before It Began
Behind Closed Doors