Harmony of Lies
posted on 3/2006 By:
This had to happen eventually. Nevermore’s been a force in the metal world for years, but their popularity increased exponentially with the success of Enemies of Reality and has only continued to grow with the excellent This Godless Endeavor. Anyone possessing a passing familiarity with popular music history knows that this sort of influx of popularity is bound to give rise to imitators; seeing as how Nevermore is one of the most idiosyncratic bands in all of metal, it’s not a huge surprise that there haven’t been many yet. This, ironically, is where our boys in Eden’s Fall run into trouble. See, despite what the above paragraph may lead you to believe, Eden’s Fall is not a Nevermore worship band or rip-off. This said, the primary influence here is obviously Nevermore, and because they’re so very unusual and distinctive, their heavy presence dominates Harmony of Lies and nearly spoils what would otherwise be a very solid debut.
Perhaps I should reemphasize a prior point: Eden’s Fall is NOT a Nevermore rip-off. Harmony of Lies is a mid-paced thrash album first and foremost and listens like one. There’s actually even a bit of death metal influence that crops up here and there, particularly when the band settles into a double-bass-driven march a la the main riff from “Liquid Christ” or the stompy verse featured in “Blur the Lines.” These guys have clearly done their classic thrash homework; there’s quite a bit of Overkill flowing in this band’s veins, both in terms of riffage and vocals. The songs are well thought-out, the band’s tighter than a nun/virgin/eight-year-old’s orifice of your choice, and this even features a mixing and mastering job from Dan Swanö and James Murphy (although with a suspiciously underpowered guitar tone).
But even through all of this, I can’t listen to Harmony of Lies without immediately thinking of a certain Seattle export, and it ain’t anything on Sub Pop. Vocalist John Barr isn’t a direct Warrell Dane imitator (as I mentioned, there’s a lot of Blitz in his style as well), but those semi-melodic keening vox warbling and diving over the band’s thrash/power/death backbone absolutely ensure that Nevermore springs into the listener’s consciousness upon every listen. Furthermore, while guitarist Rob Aquino’s soloing is tasteful and expressive, it’s also purebred Jeff Loomis worship, albeit lacking Loomis’ clockwork precision on the fretboard.
I feel a little bad giving Eden’s Fall as hard of a time as I am. These guys clearly know their shit and are willing to go out on a limb, which is far more than most bands can say for their freshman release (granted, most bands haven’t been around for six years before their first album). Harmony of Lies will have great appeal for fans of melodic thrash and heavier power metal, but it carries the same burden that bands with big Neurosis or Dillinger Escape Plan influences bear. If the band continues in this vein, they’ll perpetually invite comparisons to their inspiration, and I’m afraid that they aren’t likely to come out the better.
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