Edenshade - Stendhal Got That Close

Despite Italian melodic death metallers Edenshade having been around since 1998, releasing two full length albums and a few EPs, it is fair to say they have not quite broken out properly beyond their homeland's musical borders. With the release of their third album Stendhal Got That Close, the first recording since their The Paper Days EP and the point when the band virtually stopped from losing members, leaving only guitarist and main composer Stefano Wosz the remaining founder, maybe this is the time they reach ears and hearts further afield, maybe.

Edenshade are usually tagged as melodic death metal though on this album that is slightly misleading, their music is certainly as powerful and daunting as any death metal band but it comes with a thick infusion of nu-metal and smart incisive melodies that removes them to lie somewhere between multiple genres. That is the intriguing element as each track gives something different but all excellently riding on driving and big metal riffs; tracks like Everything I Painted You and Another Purity Falling delivering riffs and crushing guitar attacks that would not look out of place in a Korn or American Head Charge track.

The album is exciting in its driving sounds and as heavy and inviting as you could wish but unfortunately that is countered by the vocals. Wosz is obviously not a natural singer, though how many are in the black/death metal genre and if they are they usually hide it, but that is not really the problem. If it is experimental, then credit is due for the attempt but it really does not work; discordant and opposing sounds in music are a revelation that when successful are beyond impressive and if that was intended with these songs it failed and simply detracts from what is musically great tracks.

Notable moments are the track Consequences a great piece of atmospheric music with a sampled soundtrack playing over top, and Airplanes And He which surely is more than just about volcanic ash clouds? The standout track Caress, where everything falls into place musically, the nu-metal Korn like groove throughout is very pleasing, as are the progressive like guitar parts, as for the vocals well it's an improvement but still not where they should be.

Stendhal Got That Closeshould really be judged on two levels not overall, as musically it is an accomplished and extremely satisfying album that one would go back to time and time again, well if not accompanied by the vocals. This is not an attack on Wosz and his voice but more an opinion on the choice of delivery and its production, and the simple fact that it does not work. With a rethinking of that element or even the inclusion of a new vocalist next time Edenshade should make a break through into the world, right now though one can only see them staying exactly where they are.