Review: Exit Eden – ‘Rhapsodies In Black’

Exit Eden? Exhilarating, bombastic, totally over the top, and lastly but most importantly… fun. That sound? That’s the sound of a hammer hitting a nail square on the head. Take four like-minded female powerhouse vocalists with strong links to the world of symphonic metal, stick them in a studio with a playbook of pop and r&b classics and lock the door. What they have emerged with is eleven tracks from artists like Madonna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and (ahem) Backstreet Boys… cover versions with a little twist of metal running through them. Cynics and purists might scoff at this idea, but in all honesty, if they took the blinkers off for a minute, they might just find themselves humming along. Hardly a hanging offence is it, m’lord? Beginning with a massive, cinematic version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Question Of Time’, it’s easy to ascertain that this album will be anything but subtle. The electro tinges from the ‘Mode have been replaced with huge arrangements (Andrew Lloyd Webber on speed?), buzzsaw guitars, and pounding drums. The four different vocal styles throughout the album compliment each other perfectly, and when you first hear the relatively unknown Anna Brunner, you will definitely stop and pay attention. When she comes in on Rihanna’s ‘Unfaithful’ it literally stopped me in my tracks, the perfect foil to Amanda Somerville’s huge operatic voice. Where has she been hiding all this time? Clementine Delauney, from Visions Of Atlantis, shows off her versatility on an emotional version of ‘Incomplete’ which features a huge, soaring wall of symphonic metal, and when another new name, Marina La Torraca, takes over the vocals… goosebumps, baby! Like a lot of symphonic metal, there are some cheesy moments. I wasn’t too keen on the metalized version of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ at first, but after a few spins, it began to get the thumbs up. Yes, it still is very cheesy, but dammit, it makes me smile and sing-a-long. ‘Paparazzi’ should come with a warning of overdosing on cheese, but again it still made me smile. As if the four incredible female voices on display weren’t enough, there is a fifth. Simone Simons from Epica pops up to lend a hand on ‘Skyfall’ and one of Madonna’s finest moments – ‘Frozen’. Both are towering performances, and who knows, maybe Exit Eden might even appear on a Bond soundtrack one of these years. They certainly have the chops, that’s for sure, and what more can be said about Simone Simons that hasn’t already been said countless times over? The album ends the way it begins, by taking on some iconic British electronica, this time with a sizzling cover of Visage’s ‘Fade To Grey’.  ‘Rhapsodies In Black’ from Exit Eden is bloody good fun, and has introduced two fantastic new names to the ever-expanding world of female vocalists, giving their hairy male counterparts a run for their money. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Exit Eden, regardless of whether it’s covers or original material, I’m in. Available now through Napalm Records. Review – Dave Stott]]>

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