September 28, 2022

Edenbridge – Shangri-La Review – Your online magazine for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

Released By: AFM Records

Release date: September 16, 2022

Genre: Symphonic Metal


Line up:

Sabine Edelsbacher – Vocals

Lanvall – Guitars, Keyboards

Dominik Sebastian – Guitars

Steven Hall – Bass

Johannes Jungreithmeir – Drums

List of tracks:

1. At first light

2. Eden’s Call

3. Hall of Shame

4. Savage Land

5. Beyond Here

6. Freedom is a roof made of stars

7. Arcadia (The Great Escape)

8. Shangri-La Road

9. The affair (part 2)

On the symphonic metal scene, one of the most regular and longest running bands is the Austrian band Edenbridge, which has been around since the late 90s and regularly releases quality albums every 2-3 years. The band had a career trajectory somewhat similar to Nightwish’s (though not on such a grand scale), starting with a classic symphonic power metal sound, before slowly moving away from that and into a symphonic metal style. epic and cinematic, with the 2008 version of MyEarthDream being arguably their big turning point. Unlike the aforementioned band, however, Edenbridge’s songwriting tends to be a bit more catchy and radio-friendly, neither as ambitious nor experimental, opting instead for a more melodic symphonic metal sound, while still having a good balance between heaviness and orchestral elements. Coming off a string of solid, but ultimately unremarkable albums, the band’s previous release, Dynamind, was a good step forward (as well as a return to classic form), and their recently released 11th full album, Shangri- The continues the momentum goes, coming off as perhaps their best outing in 14 years!

I confess that although I have always enjoyed Edenbridge and been a fan of their music since the release of MyEarthDream, I started to lose interest in them after the back-to-back releases of The Bonding and The Great Momentum, as each new album seemed to move away from their power metal roots and into a softer, heavier sound of ballads that I didn’t like as much. I hadn’t even heard the full Dynamind until I released a promo for this album, I enjoyed it and decided to go back and rewatch this release to see if it appeals to me. was missing something, or if the band had actually gotten younger since the last time I listened to them. It turns out that the band are indeed back in great shape, with this album and their previous album bringing back some of their power metal sound, as well as turning up the heaviness a bit, while retaining their softer side, like while being as epic and symphonic as ever.

As always, two members form the core of the band’s sound, as has been the case since their debut, Sunrise in Eden. First among them is principal songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lanvall, whose guitar work, keys and songwriting help lay the groundwork for everything else. His guitar work is stronger than ever, with a healthy dose of heaviness to add a bit of extra punch to some of the tracks, especially in the first half of the album, while he also makes some great playing more melodic at times, to help enhance catchier, lighter tracks. The symphonic keys and elements are also excellent, sometimes epic and explosive, sometimes more restrained, but always very melodic and beautiful. The other centerpiece of the band is of course vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher, who has a bit lower tone of voice than most in the genre, but is also a very soothing voice, which shines especially during the chorus. , although it can also add a little extra power to help improve heavier trails. She is in great shape throughout the album and still sounds great.

The only area where I found the band to have slipped a bit on more recent albums was songwriting. The thing is, I don’t think they ever wrote any songs that I would call bad, but albums like Solitaire and The Great Momentum felt like they were stepping forward a bit, playing things a bit safe and doing nothing to rise like they did on their previous albums. Dynamind felt like a nice comeback in that regard, with some of their best tracks in a long time, and Shangri-La continues that, with no less than solid tracks, and a few, in particular, stand out like being among my favorites of the group.

The album opener is “At First Light”, which kicks off briefly with some explosive symphonic arrangements, before the guitars kick in and the beat picks up, settling into a power metal sound. quite rhythmic symphonic, which remains throughout most of the track. There are some pretty heavy riffs here, to go along with some nice melodies, a powerful chorus, and really big symphonic arrangements, which particularly stand out during the instrumental part in the middle of the track, before things quiet down a bit, leading to a very nice final sequence. It’s a great track overall and gives the album a great start. I find all of their albums since MyEarthDream has had at least one light, catchy, mid-paced single that feels like it would fit in well on the radio, and this time around, that track is “The Call of Eden”, which has some excellent melodic lead guitar work, as well as a fantastic chorus, brilliantly sung by Edelsbacher. It’s a pretty light track, with some rather restrained guitar work, but still well done, and it has great melodies, plus it’s extremely fun and catchy. I would say it’s among the band’s best songs in that style, for sure.

Perhaps the heaviest track on the album is “Hall of Shame”, which gives off Stratovarius vibes with its heavy main riff and flashy keyboards, to accompany the usual epic symphonic arrangements, excellent melodies and of course loud voices. The verses are fast and furious, while the chorus only slows the pace slightly, opting for a more melodic approach, while retaining hints of heaviness. It’s the strongest metal-centric track on the album, making it a personal favorite.

There are two ballads here, the first being “Savage Lands”. As much as I appreciate Edelsbacher’s vocals, for some reason I often find Edenbridge ballads a bit lacking, and that’s sadly the case with this one. It’s a decent track, nothing too offensive or anything, but I find it lacks any particularly strong melodies or vocal hooks, instead it just hums for most of its time. of operation, picking up slightly towards the end with beautiful folk melodies. Luckily, however, things pick up quickly with “Somewhere Else But Here”, another mid-paced track, somewhat along the lines of “The Call of Eden”, although it has a slightly heavier lead riff and a bit more energy. while remaining very melodic and with an excellent chorus, as well as a superb guitar solo in the second part. Another highlight comes next, with the rather awkwardly named “Freedom Is A Roof Made of Stars”, a song that alternates nicely between heavy and fast power metal instrumental sections, mid-paced verses and a rather slow pace, but still very nice chorus. There’s quite a bit going on here, with different moods throughout the track, alternating between dark and heavy, light and melodic, but the band pulls it all off perfectly, with their two stars having the same place to shine.

Next comes the album’s second ballad, “Arcadia (The Great Escape)”. It’s another acoustic guitar ballad, similar to ‘Savage Land’, but unlike that track, I find the melodies a little more enjoyable throughout, the chorus in particular being excellent, while the work of the instrument is also more interesting throughout. It’s not one of my favorites on the album, but it’s a great track overall and by far the better of the two ballads. Next comes the title track, an upbeat family song that never quite reaches power metal territory, but moves at a pleasant pace throughout and has heavy riffs, to accompany a very melodic and very catchy chorus. . This is another great trail, overall.

Closing the album is the 16 minute epic “The Bonding (Part 2)”, which is 5 parts (although my promo copy has it all in one track, that’s how I prefer my epics .) Following a nice long intro, accompanied by a smooth vocal section, the track picks up the pace quickly, with heavy verses where the vocals alternate between Edelsbacher and Eclipse vocalist Erik Mårtensson, who adds a bit more of grit and power to its parts, as the chorus kicks into full gear—in fast-paced power metal mode, but with epic symphonic backing and excellent vocal melodies, to make it one of the greatest highlights ever. ‘album. Following this sequence is a pleasant and explosive instrumental passage, with some of the album’s heaviest guitar work, as well as some nice solo sections. Once this part is over, the rest of the song is quite calm and soft, alternating between rather dark and atmospheric instrumental passages, and epic and beautiful vocal passages, rather excellent, the end of the song, in particular, being a perfect way to complete the album. All in all a fantastic track, and quite possibly my favorite epic the band has ever done.

For a few years I didn’t pay much attention to Edenbridge, thinking that while they were still a solid band, a lot of their later work didn’t fully engage me. That changed with Dynamind, which kind of felt like a return to form, bringing back some of their heavy and power metal elements, while retaining everything they had developed over the years. Shangri-La continues with that, delivering some of the band’s best tunes over the past decade and a half, and I’m sure any fan of the band will find plenty to like here, while newcomers looking for a great symphonic metal album with some power metal elements would do well to listen to the album.

Rating: 8/10

Written by: travis green

My overall mind – Personal editor

Travis Green is a Canadian writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest in metal in all its forms.

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