Edenbridge – Shangri-La

Edenbridge
Shangri-La
Label: AFM Records
Out: September 16th, 2022
Playing time: 58:06

Twenty-four years and ten albums. That is the short summary of the work of the Austrian Symphonic Metal band Edenbridge, the brainchild of singer Sabine Edelsbacher and multi-instrumentalist Lanval. Otherwise, the band’s history is one of line-up changes. The current line-up has been together since 2017. In recent years, the two masterminds have always managed to motivate fans to pre-finance the releases. The result has always been high-quality productions. With their eleventh release “Shangri-La”, Edenbridge celebrate their premiere on the AFM Records label.

“At First Light” is a bombastic opener. Typical Edenbridge sound. And Sabine Edelsbacher’s vocals are of course the band’s trademark. But also Lanval’s guitar playing, which always reminds of Mike Oldfield’s best days. Epic orchestration and choruses round off the whole thing. “The Call Of Eden” is the main single, for which a video clip was also produced. It was partly filmed in beautiful landscapes that caress the radio-ready sound. On “Hall Of Shame” the Austrians add a few degrees of heaviness. Lanval’s riffs drive forward. “Savage Land” is the first ballad on the album – the vocals are initially accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and discreet keys. You should just close your eyes and enjoy. Later, NDR Radio Orchestra flautist Daniel Tomann-Eickhoff delivers a flute solo that is reminiscent of Jethro Tull. “Somewhere Else But Here” is another of the three singles. Here you can hear hard riffs again. And choruses with a high degree of recognition. It’s hard to put them into words. You just have to hear them. And again the Oldfield-memory guitar solos. Also “Freedom Is A Roof Made Of Stars” is riff-heavy. Besides the guitar, the drums also drive the singer to top performance. But later it is more of a melodic midtempo song. The second ballad follows with “Arcadia (The Great Escape)”. A bit more orchestrated, but as a contrast to “Savage Land” it could have been more powerful. “The Road To Shangri-La” contains the album title and can thus probably be considered the title song. Here Lanval plays the electric sitar, an instrument that has been a stylistic influence on many an Edenbridge hit in the past. In other respects, too, one is reminded of earlier works. The sixteen-minute monumental epic “The Bonding (Pt.2)” closes the album. We remember, “The Bonding” was the closing epic of the 2013 album of the same name. Here, too, Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.) can be heard as vocal partner. After nine years, the album has come full circle. The five-part work is multi-layered and thus also the highlight.

“Shangri-La” fits seamlessly into Edenbridge’s work so far. I have not yet experienced a poor album by the band. However, the musicians play it too safe here and there. More experimentation would be desirable. Besides hits like “The Call Of Eden” and “The Road To Shangri-La”, the final epic stands out.

Edenbridge – The Call Of Eden (Official Music Video): https://youtu.be/SRK2iGTVsjY

Lineup:

Sabine Edelsbacher – Lead Vocals
Lanvall – Lead & Rhythm Guitars, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Nylon String Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Orchestration,
Electric Sitar, Bouzouki, Swarmandal, Ukulele
Johannes Jungreithmeier – Drums
Steve Hall – Bass
Dominik Sebastian – Lead Guitar

Label: AFM Records

Out: September 16th, 2022

Playing time: 58:06

Track list:

  • At First Light
  • The Call Of Eden
  • Hall Of Shame
  • Savage Land
  • Somewhere Else But Here
  • Freedom Is A Roof Made Of Stars
  • Arcadia (The Great Escape)
  • The Road To Shangri-La
  • The Bonding (Part 2) –
    I. Overture
    II. Alpha And Omega
    III. The Eleventh Hour
    IV. Round And Round
    V. The Timeless Now-Finale
  • 8/10
    Album - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Cover-Art - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Songwriting - 9/10
8.7/10
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