If you hear any S.O.S. this year, let it stand for Symphony of Sin which is the latest and quite plausibly the greatest album thus far by European-based melodic progressive rockers Eden’s Curse. The quintet, by their own admission has surpassed the previous albums in quality and performance to deliver thirteen songs which retain the melodies and the arrangements they are renowned for. Whether it is the tender Fallen from Grace or the layered single Evil & Divine, there’s much to discover within the melodic textured Symphony of Sin.
This latest album also marks the debut of Serbian lead vocalist Nikola Mijic who throws everything in to his performance, and does justice to the material on show. He joins the ranks which consist of founding members Paul Logue who plays bass, guitarist Thorsten Koehne and Pete Newdeck on drums, plus Steve Williams on keys who is known for his work with Dragonforce and Powerquest. This quintet is responsible for the next chapter in what has been a constant rise in fortunes and popularity for Eden’s Curse. But as with all journeys that are worthy of substance, this road has been hard and challenging.
Bassist and co-founder of the band, Logue reveals in his softly spoken Scottish accent how his adventure began with Eden’s Curse. “I was in a band in Glasgow for nine years and really it was like flogging a dead horse. The guys were decent musicians but err, they weren’t really buying into some of the new song ideas that I was bringing forward that ultimately became Eden’s Curse. And I was writing with guys like Doogie White and I was writing with David Readman from Pink Cream, and David was really instrumental in introducing me to Dennis; and they both said to me man you’ve got this catalogue of songs, get out there and get a band – and I said well I’m trying with my own band and they said if they’re not going to take it, go and do something somewhere else.” Logue’s reference to Pink Cream is the German rock band Pink Cream 69, and Dennis in this instance is the bassist Dennis Ward who handled production duties on Symphony of Sin. Incidentally, Ward has also added his talents to the band Unisonic who recently released their excellent self-titled debut album.
Whilst Logue goes about his business in the kitchen dealing with his dishwasher, he continues to explain the humble beginnings of Eden’s Curse. “It just led me to a musician’s forum and I found Michael and it all just kicked off from there.” The bass player is referring to Michael Eden who used to helm the lead vocalist position in the band for their first three studio albums. “But it opened my eyes completely because I thought well, how the hell am I going to make this work and I just had to sit down and think about it.”
With little pauses for breath, Logue continues explaining his thought process. “In all honesty it really worked out quite well because I wasn’t so long married, and my wife had moved in to a new town so we were just trying to find our way in to kind of married life and everything that comes with that, and had a young family on the way.” To the odd chime of crockery he delivers the reasoning on why this was so practical for him. “So not having the band members on my doorstep 24 hours, seven days a week actually gave me a lot of creative space and gave me the balance and the peace that I could have at home and keep that lifestyle kind of in check as well, and it allowed me to basically, on my downtime get the album underway, and it worked out for us.”
To clarify what Logue had envisioned during these origins of the band, with the subtle acoustics of the kitchen adding to his words he bluntly described their early circumstances. “We had nothing except for, you know, our ambitions and the initial kind of ten to twelve songs that ended up on the first Eden’s Curse album. You know, really without that; then there was nothing else. There was no money, there was no label and we all invested to make it work and you know it was huge risks.”
Those of you with a sharp eye on detail will have noticed how the raven-haired woman who adorns the cover artwork of the self-titled debut album uncannily resembles the same woman on the cover artwork of Symphony of Sin. “The change in the singer’s voice was so huge that I really wanted to ensure that when we come back with this record, that when our fan-base picks up that album they look at that sleeve and say oh my god that’s an Eden’s Curse album cover.” This is the concept of rebirth in Logue’s eyes as he wishes to maintain the spirit of the back catalogue, and hopes that fans will embrace the new voice that now accompanies the familiar musical backdrop.
So why do Eden’s Curse have a new voice these days? “He (Michael Eden) basically came to the band after we opened for Dream Theater, almost like a nightmare scenario where he came forward and decided himself that he wasn’t being paid what he was worth. And the harsh reality of the situation is that you can’t just determine your own market worth, the market determines your worth for you.” Logue continues. “The balance sheet for Eden’s Curse has after six years got to what I would call a break even situation. Running a band of this magnitude with all of the performers being in different locations brings a huge strain on financial resources.” With a consistently sincere tone of voice, the bassist and co-founder of the band rolls with the momentum of his explanation. “The point was made to Michael, that listen we all want to be taking home money from this as a group, every single one of us. But unfortunately we have just got to the point after six years of hard, hard work where we’re breaking even now and there was no way that we could commit to the money because we simply did not have it.”
After auditioning around 44 singers as a replacement for Eden, and taking in to consideration their ambitions to tour, they were content on finding a replacement from within Europe only. The band members were suitably enthusiastic with Mijic and during the time they all got to communicate and work together on some new material, felt that he retained all the qualities they were hoping to find.
“I think the partnerships have probably matured on this record for sure, I think we’re very comfortable where we are as writers and what each of us brings to the table. So from the first album a lot of the material was written by myself; same for the second album, maybe a little bit more with the drummer Pete Newdeck, and then Trinity became more of a team effort; but this record was really written by myself, Pete Newdeck and the guitarist Thorsten. We had written probably the majority of this album together as a unit.” Logue then adds, “I would say that Pete has written probably 90 percent of the choruses that you hear on the record and the guy’s an absolute talent.”
This tight-knit group of song-writers through honesty and diligence have created a balancing trick with Symphony of Sin. They have succeeded in giving the listener an album that has strong melodies and hooks whilst also providing songs that grow on repeated listens. The longevity therefore of this listening experience helps keep the album fresh and demanding when revisiting. Songs like the title track which incorporates a full 46 piece orchestra right at the beginning of the album, or the strength of songs like Wings to Fly and Break the Silence carry the benchmark of quality.
Before parting ways, Logue then reflects over how important he found trying to be different lyrically from the rest of the competition. “I just wanted to do something a little bit different you know. As I’ve always said I think it pays in this business to try and do something different, and I’m not saying that it’s completely original because it’s not, but not follow the herd as I’ve said before, nothing comes from staring at another sheep’s bottom, so try and break out from the flock!” His way of expressing the attempts at avoiding too many clichés and striving for something truly satisfying are on their own terms, both funny and different but convey exactly what he wishes to articulate.
Eden’s Curse are a band to admire as they began with nothing and have over their years of hard work and constant refusal to follow trends, produced some impressive music which can be heard especially on their latest album Symphony of Sin. This is indeed a new chapter for the band with a new singer and a keyboardist providing some new styles to their mosaic. Why not find out for yourself what audio treats await and climb onboard the great unknown.
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