Greatest hits albums, or as I call them, “Best 0fs”, have served many a purpose in the music business: fulfilling a contract obligation with the record company, buying time while a band goes through internal turmoil, preparation for a tour…the reasons are endless. Either way, while sometimes albums of this kind reek of cash grab, every so often they come from a genuine place in the artist’s heart, and provide a welcome opportunity. It’s a chance to expose themselves to an audience which is overloaded with releases and doesn’t have time or the drive to dig deep into a band’s discography. I refer to them as a second chance of a first impression.
In the case of the Glasgow based band Edens’s Curse, the motivation for a “best of” comes from the fact that they have two distinctive periods: the first three albums with Michael Eden on vocals, and the last two with the Serbian Nikola Mijic. In addition to that, longtime fans have been asking the band to include all their bonus tracks on a single disc, and thus, Testament – The Best of Eden’s Curse was born.
Released on last November 2nd via AFM Records, the collection is a comprehensive summary of Eden’s Curse’s discography, and will please old time fans not only because of the bonus material which is now at last compiled in a single release, but also due to new song “Forever” being included. Originally written by bassist Paul Logue for Pink Cream 69‘s singer David Readman’s solo album, it was inspired by Dan Brown’s best seller book Angels and Demons.
If, like me, you’re a new fan of the band, there is plenty to sink your musical teeth into on Testament: the first two songs, “Symphony of Sin” and “Masquerade Ball” wouldn’t sound out of place in a Rainbow album, be it due to the lyrical content, the addictive nature of their choruses or the jaw dropping shredding. More evidence of their penchant for writing infectious choruses is shown even in heavier numbers such as “Black Widow”, where Michael Eden splits the vocal duties with Andi Deris of Helloween.
Another obvious high point of this collection of songs is the incredible call-and-response between keyboards and guitar on “The Great Pretender”, which will leave Dream Theater fans salivating. And speaking of them, James LaBrie provides vocals on the very diverse song “No Holy Man”, a number which is full of twists and turns, sometimes sounding like a bastard son of AC/DC and Queensryche.
If you’re a fan of vocal duets, there’s even more to dig in this release: Pamela Moore (aka Sister Mary from Queensryche’s legendary Operation:Mindcrime album) guests on the song “Angels and Demons”, and Liv Kristine (from Leaves‘ Eyes) provides a welcome contrast with Nikola Mijic on “Unconditional”. Elsewhere, the poignant ballad “Man Against the World” is a nice change of pace, and “Time to Breathe” and “Unchain the Night” are opportunities for them to exercise their AOR/Hard Rock muscles.
The second half of the album is filled with demos and acoustic numbers, which will give the die hard fans a new look into the material they already know. Off of that batch, one song which particularly stands out is the acoustic demo of “Fly Away” – in its bare form and with a folksy arrangement, the melodies shine even more, and give a completely different aura and meaning to the song. “After the Love is Gone” and “The Voice Inside” are also worthy of praise, and show just how versatile this band can be.
The final verdict of any greatest hits type of album is one of these scenarios: “if this is their best, this band is not for me”, “I’m content with just having the hits”, or “I like it, let’s find out more about them”. In the case of Eden’s Curse, after listening to Testament it’s hard to believe that one will not feel compelled to check out all their studio albums. If you’re a fan of prog metal, or just prog…or just metal, chances are that if you haven’t’ listened to them yet, they’ve been on your radar for quite some time. Get out of your comfort zone then, and dig deeper into their catalogue after experiencing their standout tracks on this album. They recently embarked on their biggest UK tour to date, supporting Michael Schenker Fest, and have several major UK festival appearances lined up – perfect timing for new fans to catch up with them, and also for older fans to celebrate their legacy!
Released By: AFM Records
Release Date: November 2nd, 2018
Genre: Melodic Rock
- Nikola Mijic / Lead Vocals
- Thorsten Koehne / Guitar
- Paul Logue / Bass & Vocals
- Chrism / Keyboards & Vocals
- John Clelland / Drums
“Testament: The Best of Eden’s Curse” Track-Listing:
CD1 – The Best of Eden’s Curse:
01. Symphony of Sin
02. Masquerade Ball
03. Black Widow (Featuring Andi Deris)
04. The Great Pretender
05. Fly Away
06. No Holy Man (Featuring James LaBrie)
07. Sell Your Soul
08. Jerusalem Sleeps
09. Unconditional (Featuring Liv Kristine)
10. Judgement Day
13. Evil & Divine
14. Angels & Demons (Featuring Pamela Moore)
CD2 – The Best Of The Bonus Tracks:
01. Forever (New Song)
02. Man against the World (2016)
03. Time To Breathe (2013)
04. Fallen From Grace (Acoustic)
05. Unchain The Night
06. Children Of The Tide (Piano)
07. Never the Sinner
08. Guardian Angel (Acoustic)
09. Prisoner of the Past
10. Sail On (Acoustic)
11. After The Love Is Gone (Acoustic)
12. Fly Away (Acoustic)
13. The Voice Inside (Acoustic)
14. Eden’s Curse (Acoustic)
Combining the raw metal sound while also catering for one’s own pop sensibility is not an easy task, and Eden’s Curse pass the test with flying colors. The musicianship is strong, the hooks are out of this world, and the sense of grandeur hat permeates all tracks on “Testament - The Best of Eden’s Curse” definitely leaves you wanting more. The album does a great job of summarizing their career, whilst also presenting many bonus tracks that cater for ears which are already used to their repertoire.