As I’m writing this review, I’ve probably listened to this album dozens of times. This is the type of album that motivated me to start reviewing in the first place. A band of this caliber not being signed or at least getting some exposure is ludicrous in every sense of the word. The band I’m talking about, of course, is Eden Shadow.
‘Melodies for Maladies’ is one of those albums that, musically, a person finds to be perfect in every way, but either the rest of the world doesn’t think so or the band just isn’t very lucky, because few others get to share that glory. In place of the archetype ‘Metal with some Prog Rock’ influence that most Progressive Metal bands use, this band actually plays something of an opposite, instead adding Metal influence to a very evident Progressive Rock structure.
There’s nothing more valuable than a good opener track; it starts the album off on the right foot and in many cases, can make or break a listener’s enjoyment. While ‘Ventriloquist’ starts out a bit slow it’s certainly forgivable, because it picks up fairly quickly. During its ten-and-a-half minutes the song is changing moods, making it for an amazing experience, overall.
Probably one of the most standout factors of any Metal recording is the riff work. In many cases – more so with Progressive Metal than anything – the riff work is at the forefront of the music in a very obnoxious manner, and it overshadows the rest of the things going on in a song. With Eden Shadow this isn’t the case; as I said earlier, they seemingly take a Progressive Rock structure and blend it with elements of Metal to produce what I find the sound of Progressive Metal SHOULD be. In Eden Shadow’s case, the guitar is used pretty regularly, but it’s never obnoxiously placed at the forefront of the music, and instead falls into place with everything else that’s going on. Between the catchy riffs, melodious leads, and soothing acoustics (‘Edge of Insanity’), Eden Shadow’s riff work is definitely worthy of praise.
A couple other things that really stood out were the vocals and, quite surprisingly, the keyboards. All of them, including guitars, courtesy of Ryan Mark Elliott. There’s always been something about woodwind instruments that I’ve found organic, and the masterful use of the flute courtesy of renown Theo Travis on the epic “Introspect Part 2” gives the music that extra warmth that many of its contemporaries lack. In addition to the use of flute, the vocals found on much of the album are quite easy to digest, but at the same time are fairly unique and can be recalled quite easily.
In conclusion, this album is something that everybody who listens to Progressive Rock or Progressive Metal on ANY scale should listen to, hands down. I believe the term ‘the best band you’ve never heard of’ comes into play here, and with an album this good, it’s incredibly easy to say. In a scene where there are numerous clones and rehashes, this album is a breath of fresh air.
Buy “Melodies for Maladies” from Bandcamp.