I was lucky enough to be able to go and see EDEN’S CURSE at The Underworld, Camden yesterday, the last of their seven date tour of the U.K.
I shall admit that I have only recently ‘discovered’ EDEN’S CURSE and am quite disappointed to be so late to what has so far been a ten year party!!
Touring on the back of their fifth studio album ‘Cardinal’, which was released on 14th October this year, I caught up with Paul Logue, EDEN’S CURSE Bass player and Manager, prior to the explosive final set of their tour.
Upon enquiring as to the heavier and more technical aspects of ‘Cardinal’ in comparison to their previous albums, Paul said he felt it was a natural progression for EDEN’S CURSE. As a band they have always been into heavier music, and melodic tracks with heavy guitars, and John Clelland (Drums) and Thorsten Koehne (Guitars) are very technical players, so technical aspects will always feature. As a band they have dabbled with these concepts in previous albums but thought that they would try and take some new songs further in this direction, whilst trying not to alienate their fan base at the same time. Judging by the reviews and comments on their new album that I have read myself, I think they have managed to achieve this. EDEN’S CURSE are known for strong melodies and hook lines being ever present in their music, and with the bands second vocalist Nikola Mijic at the helm, he brought a very different sound with him to what the band had previously had, and so they felt safe to try something different. They write so many different songs for a new album, that they try not to ‘push’ things too hard, instead opting to allow musical creativity to flow naturally, and just see where they end up. He said that things couldn’t be forced at this stage in the game, but obviously they still had to create something that would stand out amongst the crowd due to the competition in the music industry, and it’s something that they work very hard at doing because they care very deeply about what songs they put out, as always want to ensure quality over quantity. After previously touring Europe they had appreciated a lot of the heavier songs that they had done live, and so that had an influence upon the song writing and track choosing for ‘Cardinal’. Although this new album has been very well received, Paul was unsure whether this is a direction that EDEN’S CURSE will continue to take, saying they have been described as being Melodic Rock, AOR and Prog, but he likes to consider them as just ‘Us’. They love the diversity that they have as a band, and that with a quick switch up of some of their songs, they can be placed on a stage at a rock or a metal festival. Paul seems proud that the band can’t be pigeon holed, and told me that his motto is to ‘Just write music for ourselves’. I think that’s a good motto to have! It keeps the music fresh, interesting and it will always retain a raw and very real quality about it, but mostly it will retain the passion from the place in which it came, which for me is paramount to good music. So it’s a good thing that they do what they ‘like’ first and foremost, and the band feel blessed that a lot of people embrace their way of working.
Being fascinated with the whole song writing process generally, I just had to ask how this works within a multinational band. Paul is the primary writer but always encourages the ideas and input of his fellow band members. They all have great relationships with each other and play to one another’s strengths. Paul said he could come up with an idea, which he would then send across to Thorsten, who would write the guitar parts, and give Paul some riffs to work with along with some lyrics. However the main point seemed to be that there were no rules. It was a collaboration. Once they get the skeleton tracks down, every member has the chance to put their own stamp upon it. Being a multinational band seemed to broaden their horizons and with the age of the internet it made song writing from all four corners of the world a simple task.
Asking what’s next for EDEN’S CURSE, Paul said that they were all looking forward to a break over Christmas, and then will reconvene in January. After two years of writing for ‘Cardinal’, they are mentally and physically in need of some time to rest, and don’t plan on writing anything new for the next six months at least. To rejuvenate their musical creativity, they will get as far away from music as they can, and for Paul this will mean spending time with his beloved family, and enjoying long walks in the countryside with his dog. He added that he knew when it would be time to write again and that enough rest had been had, as ideas would continue to flow once more.
Out of the new tracks featured on ‘Cardinal’, and their favourite to perform live, is ‘Jericho’. It is definitely a big epic song that is slightly more progressive in approach, and in Paul’s words, is cool to actually play. If you listen to it you will hear a Black Sabbath and Dream Theatre influence, so I am sure you can imagine how ‘big’ this song sounds.
The London show was an opportunity for EDEN’S CURSE to sign off in style, and boy did they do that! The power and passion that these guys individually bring to the mix is absolutely explosive when combined on a stage! My first time seeing them live, and I can promise it won’t be my last! They’re exciting! They ignite your whole being into a rocking, melodic, power metal frenzy! Bursting onto the stage and straight into ‘Prophets Of Doom’, the crowd go with it straight away, cheering, jumping and dancing. I love the atmosphere in the venue when EDEN’S CURSE are playing. These guys are virtuosos and an absolute joy to watch! Watching Thorsten rock out his guitar solos was astounding, he knows his weapon of choice like the back of his hand! John was like a well oiled machine on that drum kit, the kit almost an extension of himself, effortless! ‘Chrism’ on Keyboards and backing vocals was just awesome and faultless. Paul is fun to watch on stage, he has such a confidence about him and you can clearly see he loves what he does, an excellent bass player and talented song writer. Last but not least, Nikola. I adore his vocals. His power and range are incredible. He knows his capabilities and he isn’t afraid to push them to the max. The chemistry that he also brings to the duet on stage with guest vocalist Helen Hurd for song ‘Unconditional’ is beautiful to witness. This just adds to the ‘love story’ within the song. On the album itself this female vocal is sung by Liv Kristine ex ‘Leaves Eyes’ vocalist. Both recorded and live versions excellent in their own right. The guys take their audience on a journey through songs new and old, and all are very welcomed. EDEN’S CURSEhave a loyal fan base and although I am ‘new’ to the party, I can see why. They’re pure quality.
Although EDEN’S CURSE say they are sad to see the tour come to an end, they are excited for what 2017 and beyond will bring, but for now, they are in need of a much deserved rest!
Check out our review of EDEN’S CURSE latest album ‘Cardinal’!
Eden’s Curse @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
On the back of their amazing new release, Cardinal, Eden’s Curse head out on the road for a full UK tour and where better to start than Glasgow?
The first band I caught tonight were C.O.P. UK and it was the Sheffield lads first time in Glasgow. I think it was safe to say not too many people here tonight had heard of the band before and that normally makes for a tough shift in this city but after just one song they had the crowd on their side.
One look at the band and especially lead singer Dale Radcliffe and you could be mistaken to thinking you are in for some serious hair metal but you would be wrong. This band has managed to meld a number of genres within their sound and tonight due to the headliners they focus on the symphonic metal part of their artillery and it paid off perfectly.
They opened with “The Core” the lead track from the brilliant “No Place For Heaven” album which was bought that night on the basis of the bands performance(and it has been played constantly). The song leans strongly on Henning Wanner on Keyboards. This drew the crowd in and with Dale’s antics, swaying hair and bulging forearms we were all transfixed. The man harkens back to the MTV error of actually playing music videos and where you could see the likes of Dave Lee Roth strutting, hick kicking and playing up for the camera. To be fair I would say Dale spent far too much time in front of this channel but it makes for a brilliant visual experience.
The stage was a bit crowded with the six members but who the hell cares as they used every inch and performed out of their skin. With songs like “Catch Me If You Can” and “One In A Million” you are in for a treat live.
I thoroughly enjoyed these guys, They were solid, entertaining and a whole lot of fun. Make sure you check them out, they would be a perfect addition to any festival so I hope to catch them again next year.
Glasgow is always treated like a hometown gig for Eden’s Curse, with two members living here and with Paul Logue ever present at gigs throughout the year due to his role in Shock City Productions it is more often than not I see him mulling around out front rather than on the stage so it was good to see him and the whole band perform again as it seemed like ages since the last show.
Glasgow is getting the full treatment tonight with the five gorgeous ladies from the cover of Cardinal taking the stage in full album cover attire prior to the band blasting into the opening track from the album “ Prophets Of Doom”. There is no messing around here, go straight for the new songs and it sounded blistering live, so much faster and a whole lot heavier. There was a lot of buzz tonight about how the new material would be live, how much would they do and the most popular question would they do Jericho. It is safe to say that Cardinal has went down a storm with the fans. It is another step up for the band, the sound is huge and it throws some new directions but most of all it is mature, it is an album that has cemented Nikola Mijic as THE front man. His performance on the album is outstanding and tonight he brought that to the stage in spades.
If you have any questions about the progression of this band you just need to look at the set list and realise it leans heavily on the most recent releases. I have seen this band many times with a lot of line up changes but tonight’s show was very special. The new tracks were knocked out of the park. The big surprise for me was ”Sell Your Soul” live, it is a bit more poppy and probably my least favourite track on the album but live it was amazing. It got the whole crowd singing and dancing, it also saw the Cardinal ladies back on stage dancing in office attire…very sexy.
That said “Jericho” stole the show for me on the new track front. This is my album favourite and I was delighted this was aired as I did doubt whether they would play it due to the track length and the complexities but it was stunning. If you rip up this band and take the individuals on merit alone you are hard pressed to find equals. The quiet man Thorsten Koehne is just a wizard on the frets. He may not strut around the stage but you can get lost watching his fretwork. John Clelland sits behind his beautiful Cardinal drum kit and drives the whole band. New boy Chrism has given the band a new lease of life and although he is tucked away at the side of the stage on tracks like Jericho he comes into his own. Founding member Paul Logue on Bass likes to get about and as this is his crowd he is going to enjoy himself. He is on fire and has some mean Popeye impressions.
Another highlight of the night is “Unconditional” a track recorded with Liv Kristine but the band have a brilliant replacement tonight in Barbara Clelland( from Holocaust fame). She brought the song to life and the rapport between her and Nikola was eye catching. This was an excellent inclusion that would normally be dropped due to having no female singer. I hope this stays in the set for a long time to come.
It is not all about new tracks tonight though as we have a parting run of fan favourite “Evil and Devine” and the encore of “Symphony Of Sin” and the only track to leave on in “Angels And Demons”. As I said earlier the boys played out of their skin and tonight’s performance even outshone the one recorded for their live album.
It amazes me how good this band is live as they do not get the chance to play together that often due to being splintered across the 4 corners of the globe…just imagine how amazing they would be if they toured constantly, able to bond properly and fit all the pieces together through night after night on the stage. That is unlikely to happen and the fans have accepted that so when we get the chance to see them it is a celebration.
Local heroes and musical geniuses one and all and now all I need to do is take a deep breath and wait for the next gig (sigh).
Images and review Ritchie Birnie
EDEN’S CURSE – CARDINAL
Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been slow in getting to the party that is Eden’s Curse. A very good friend recommended them and I’ve finally gotten around to taking a listen. So, first off, who are they? Formed in 2006, they have released five studio albums and one double live album. They have had a few line-up changes but the band currently consists of long-time members Paul Logue (Bass) and Thorsten Koehne (Guitars) alongside Nikola Mijic (Vocals), John Clelland (Drums) & Christian Pulkkinen (Keyboards).
They’ve released a new album in October called Cardinal which marks the first time Clelland and Pulkkinen appear on an Eden’s Curse studio album. Let’s check it out.
“Prophets of Doom” starts us off, full of pomp and polished writing which buries itself into your brain and has, my favourite, a catchy chorus! After a short intro build up the song kicks into gear with its double bass attack and crunchy riffing, add to that the hook-laden vocals and layered keyboards and it’s a strong start to what I found to be a fantastic album. It’s Eden’s Curse signalling their intent from the off, and how cool is “Prophets of Doom” as a title in the first place?
“Sell Your Soul” is the first single and is amongst the albums highlights for sure. It is an uplifting track, very upbeat. Strong keyboards and superb guitar playing throughout with lots of melodic hooks and again a really slick AOR polish. It has an 80s Journey sound to it and there is some deep sexy bass going on thanks to Mr Paul Logue. Mid-way through though it changes into a slightly slower direction and the dual solos of guitars and keyboards take the song into a powerful conclusion.
“The Great Pretender” continues in the same vein: catchy hooks galore and has a Bon Jovi feel about it. The track starts off with colossal riffs and has this massive instrumental intro. There are Symphonic Metal elements at play here. Vocalist Nikola Mijic possesses some epic pipes and this song gives him a chance to show off his outstanding range and the guitar work of Thorsten Koehne showcases what he can do also. “Messiah Complex” comes in a bit harder than the previous tracks with a cool riff and Mijic’s vocals containing more of an edge, before once again breaking out his upper range with vocals that remind me of DragonForce. Another song and another catchy chorus. There is an energy throughout as the song builds up the momentum. Possibly the albums heaviest song overall and it features another cracking solo.
“Find My Way” sees Eden’s Curse slow it down with a ballad. As you’d expect, the music is very powerful and grandiose and the song, epic. We’re in full Journey/AOR Power Ballad mode here with the Symphonic/Hard Rock edge. Whilst I can see why some people wouldn’t enjoy this song, I am quite partial to belting out power ballads now and then and this fit right into that for me. This track has it all really, cheesy keyboards, subtle piano, huge rhythms, Orchestral strings, passionate vocals and crushing guitars. An anthemic tour de force. Get those hands in the air.
Oh sorry, my playlist skipped to the Chili Peppers…oh no wait, this funk slap bass is “Kingdom of Solitude” – my mistake! Another piece of brilliance from Logue. It’s a bit of a stylistic change from all that comes before but it quickly settles back into full on rock territory with a killer riff. There is aggression mixed with some electronic elements. The band wanted to get a bit more heavy and technical on Cardinal and this is a song that I think showcases that for sure. “Utopian Dreams” starts off with some glorious lead keyboard riffery with its Symphony X/Dream Theater stylings. This is a song on speed. There is such a manic, hyper intensity about it, like they had one take and 5 minutes to nail it and they just blew through it. Power Metal levels turned to 100 on this one.
On first listen “This Is Our Moment” seemed to lack something to me and this is probably down to the fact that it has to follow the bonkers, ADHD affected track “Utopian Dreams”BUT that’s not to say that the song is bad, because its not. It rocks hard, it has fantastic keyboard and guitar work throughout and once again Nikola’s vocals are spot on. On subsequent listens it actually grabbed me the way it should have first time. It is an uplifting song and I would recommend it. I would advise that if you feel it lacks something on your first listen, to not fully dismiss it. “Rome’s on Fire”continues in the same vein with its Hard Rock/AOR sound and soaring chorus. I really enjoyed this track, it bounces around and the band are on point here. The galloping double bass drumming throughout gives it that extra punch and it’s very hard not to be singing along by the end of the song.
On “Unconditional” the band collaborate with ex-Leaves Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine. This is a classic 80s rock ballad right here and very radio friendly. The way Mijic’s and Kristine’s vocals weave around each other works really well. The contrast between the two is just superb. It is slow and mellow and features a gorgeous bluesy rock solo in the middle before shifting gears into more of a shred whilst still retaining the melody. It’s sugary, it’s sweet but it’s certainly not bad for you. Again, if you have a penchant for the old power ballad, then you will enjoy this. However, if you pressed skip, you’ll be taken instantly to “Saints & Sinners” which goes back into double bass drums, monstrous riffing and takes us back into Power Metal territory.
“Jericho” closes the album out and at 7 minutes 50 seconds is the albums longest track. The song is based on the Biblical tale of the battle of Jericho. The keyboard and guitar work on display here is out of this world. Koehne and Christian Pulkkinen on top form here, as they are throughout the entirety of Cardinal to be fair. There is a long instrumental section, epic lyrics that outline the entire battle itself and the song musically shifts dynamics taking in multiple styles. One word. Epic. Actually two words! Epic Greatness!!
Going in, I hadn’t heard any previous material from Eden’s Curse other than “Sell Your Soul” but coming out ofCardinal I will be checking out everything and hope to catch them live very soon. If you like your bands with a bit of Power Metal, a dash of Symphonic Metal, a pinch of Hard Rock and a sprinkle of AOR then Eden’s Curse will be the band for you. Heavy instrumentation with soaring, powerful vocals singing catchy melodies. What more could you want?
More hooks than a pirate convention, catchier than a bout of crabs. You need Cardinal and Eden’s Curse in your life!