If you don’t hang out in progressive or gothic metal circles than Austria’s Edenbridge has probably escaped your attention. Debuting in the late nineties, the band has slowly built a following over the years and are now recognized as pioneers of their sound alongside bands like After Forever, Nightwish, and Tristania (as well as elements of Therion and Theatre of Tragedy). This is the band’s eighth studio offering and comes after a long hiatus.
The Bonding is a bombastic, classically laced, metal album that embraces the quality Edenbridge has long been known for. “The Invisible Force” is probably the best example of what I’m talking about. The guitars are heavy and aggressive but Sabine Edelsbacher’s voice soars above it, balancing the beast with the beauty and weaving in and out of speed riffing and classical minded pieces. The keyboards make the song sound even more massive, coming in at just the right time to add that “oomph” that so many bands are missing in this scene. The devil is in details folks!
Other highlights here include the driving “Shadows of My Memory,” which features a little growling and some quality orchestration here and there. It’s the great guitar riffing and the blended growl and sung vocals (often at the same time) that draw you in wholeheartedly though. Also the fifteen plus minute, near mini-album that comprises the title track is all the proof that you need that Edenbridge are not only among the best, they are also at the top of their game in 2013. As a guy, who hates long, epic, progressive songs, this is a song that sucks you in so completely that you’ll won’t even notice it has gone on for so long. With the soaring vocal, the dynamic rhythms, the orchestrations, and the aggressive guitars slithering in and out of the songs, you’d think it’d be hard to follow but, in fact, its beautifully put together.
Overall, if you have never heard Edenbridge but like the style than start here. If you are already familiar with the band then you know that they really don’t have any bad albums. The Bonding though, is a bit more mammoth than the others and it’s probably their heaviest sounding production work to date. Everything just sounds huge and jammed full of energy. Fans of female fronted gothic and progressive metal will find a lot to love on this album.
Reviewed by Mark Fisher