CD Reviews

Eden - 'Into The Within' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 22, 2010    
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I'm still unconvinced by Eden ...

I’ve seen Eden live a few times over the past few years, at various Z-Rock festivals and support slots with Tyketto and House Of Lords, but in all honesty I’ve never heard anything that’s made me want to purchase one of their albums, as I’ve always found them rather dull and uninspiring. It’s certainly nothing personal, I liked vocalist Nick Workman’s previous band Kick, especially their ‘Sweet Lick Of Fire’ album, and I’ve always had the utmost respect for guitarist Vince O’Regan due to his work with Bob Catley. So now given the chance to have a proper listen to the band with third album ‘Into The Within’, would I be proved wrong? Well, I have to admit I’m still sitting on the fence.

When this album is good, it’s great. Opening epic ‘Anything Goes’ is a slow-burning number that does take a few spins to really get into your head, but when it does it stays there. The tracks that work the best are the up-tempo riff-driven rockers like ‘Revolution Man’, ‘Lay Me Down’, ‘Fire Me Up’ and ‘Loud And Clear.’ The crunching, intense title track has plenty of pinched notes from Vince in the heavy riff, bringing to mind Zakk Wylde’s playing, and a strong chorus, making it probably the best song here. Also worthy of a mention is the soaring, bluesy ballad ‘Once In A Lifetime.’ But unfortunately there are a few duffers too; ‘Here Today (Gone Tomorrow)’ starts out sounding like one of Bon Jovi’s poorer efforts, and the chorus, particularly the lyrics, are somewhat trite. ‘Strong’ is a mid-tempo plodder during which Nick Workman’s vocal sounds a bit dodgy to say the least. But the biggest disappointment is ‘All That’s Bad For Me’, which opens with a heavy riff punctuated by some pounding double bass drumming, and sounds fantastic to begin with, but then the whole track is dominated by a computerised keyboard sound that does little to enhance the song, in fact it just ruins it – I just can’t understand what they were thinking!

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After the initial 11 tracks there are four bonus tracks which are not listed on the cover at all. The first is a serene acoustic-based ballad which is actually pretty decent and should have been given full credit, and would have been a good album closer. We then get a cover of ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ The first time I listened to this version I was in the car on my way to work, and I was unsure whether I thought it was good or not. Then barely half an hour later, I heard Led Zeppelin’s original on the radio, and it helped make up my mind; no, it ain’t very good at all. The riff sounds too loose, the keyboards don’t add anything to the feel of the track, and the vocal is uninspiring too. I always think that if you’re going to cover a classic, you either have to nail it perfectly, or do something completely different with the arrangement – this does neither (but admittedly it’s not as bad as Rolf Harris doing ‘Stairway To Heaven’, sacrilege!) Then there are two acoustic numbers which I think are re-workings of older Eden songs, and are OK but hardly essential. To top it all, the overall production of the album is poor, it’s a very muddy sound where the guitar dominates, and the vocals are sometimes so low in the mix the lyrics are unintelligible. And as for the bass…there may not be any! Maybe next time around Vince should concentrate on just the music, and leave the producing to somebody else.

So I’m still unconvinced by Eden. Vince O’Regan’s guitar work is for the most part excellent, and his former Pulse bandmate Lynch Radinsky is hugely impressive on the drums, but is ‘Into The Within’ worth shelling out for to get seven good songs? Your choice, listener…

Ant Heeks

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