CD Reviews

Exit Eden - 'Rhapsodies In Black'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 07, 2017    
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A phenomenal release.

'Rhapsodies In Black' is a project that, on paper, sounds like a fun but inessential outing, but in actual fact, it turns out to be a phenomenal release.

Napalm Records have put together four amazing female vocalists to record an album of Pop cover versions, some recent and some classic, in a stirring Symphonic Metal style. The artists in question are Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Kiske/Somerville), Clémentine Delauney (ex-Serenity, Visions Of Atlantis), Marina La Torraca (Avantasia, Phantom Elite) and newcomer Anna Brunner; the blend of the four diverse vocal styles mesh together perfectly as they trade vocal lines and harmonise beautifully. The masterstroke of assembling vocalists of such high calibre raised a niggling doubt that rewarding them with a batch of newly composed songs by renowned writers would have enhanced the credibility of the project, but any misconceptions are swiftly obliterated when you hear just how amazing these interpretations of famous songs actually are.

Depeche Mode's 'A Question Of Time' gets things off to a dramatic start, the original's keyboard melody transformed into a bombastic Symphonic overture, and from there the standard remains immense throughout. The Gothic undercurrent of Madonna's 'Frozen' works perfectly in this dramatic guise, and Katy Perry's 'Firework' is transformed into a rousing epic with sweeping strings, while the arrangement of Adele's 'Skyfall' remains quite close to the original. I've always loved Bryan Adams' 'Heaven' but I've never been as moved by it as I have with this version.

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Renditions of Pop songs from the likes of Lady Gaga ('Paparazzi'), Shontelle ('Impossible'), Rihanna ('Unfaithful') and The Backstreet Boys ('Incomplete') work amazingly well when embellished with the Symphonic treatment – hell yes, you read that right! I initially considered including Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' as a somewhat clichéd option, but it turns out that delivering it in a thunderous up-tempo style with double-kick drumming damn near makes it the best thing here, while Visage's 'Fade To Grey' is given a dark and twisted heaviness that renders it virtually unrecognisable from the original. Sadly, the digital promo, unfortunately, fails to credit the musicians involved (including the featured male vocal on 'Total...') as they should also take much of the credit for the high standard of this album.

I've reviewed many covers albums within these pages but 'Rhapsodies In Black' is amazing and blows them all away.

Ant Heeks

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