Review: Gods Of Eden – ‘From The End Of Heaven’

The Gods Of Eden, from Sydney, released their first album, entitled ‘From The End Of Heaven’ in late October 2015. Notorious as a prog rock fan, I was delighted to see that the PR blurb called the band, ‘technical progressive metal’ which normally means music of the complexity of parachuting out a plane while doing Sudoku. This I enjoy.

Gods Of Eden started out in 2010, gigged often, which included playing gigs in Germany, and released an EP in 2012. With the album being two years in the making, the band has grown musically during his period, developing a technical and intricate sound. When I first listened to it, I remembered a discussion between Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush, who imagined ‘La Villa Strangiato’ on ‘Hemispheres’ but couldn’t play it. They split it into three parts to record it then practiced constantly to do it live. I have no doubt that Gods Of Eden share this same ethic, and put together a recording that was first played out in their heads.

The sound is symphonic, booming, progressive metal. It is a huge soundscape that covers thrash, death, speed, and all sorts of runaway-riffing, in a crystal clear mix that is an assault to the senses. The first track, ‘The Overseer (Lunar Ascendency)’ starts with the familiar slide, giving comfort, but we know what’s coming. When the wall of sounds hits, it’s everything, all at the same time, tussling and woven, but it’s the drums that catch the ear. They remind me of George Kollias, the drummer from Nile, who I consider to be the technical drum master, but this is an equally intense performance. Waiting to be let down by the vocals, I am happily surprised because it’s a twin vocal attack. This is technical progressive metal with twists and turns, dives and peaks. What an opening. I have no idea what the lyrics were about and I do not care as that was exquisite playing.

So ‘Shiva’s Dream’ starts as ‘The Overseer’ ends, and my technical prog metal bingo card is full of ticks. At about 3 minutes in, we get the first hint of the massively-wide orchestration, and it just slips right into the mix. It’s another layer that just works. If you single out one instrument, it appears to be at odds with everything else, but it just all hangs together. Blinding track.

Onto track 3 and its ‘Lost In Fables’ and I’m ready for the mystical ride. Hold on, is that pop synthesiser and violins to get it started? Not for long with the tempo and intensity rising. Then for the first time, we have guitarists Danni Perez and Sean Thomson duel it out and it’s a mind bender. This song is Gods Of Eden in a nutshell, with intense and intricate playing that gels, even though it sounds as each part is in competition with every other part.

‘Through The Abyss’ is very similar to the previous track, which is of course a problem with highly technical, high speed metal. It took a few listens to distinguish the changes. It’s still a solid track, but overall the album may have benefitted from splitting these tracks. Nonetheless, it just doesn’t let up and doesn’t take anything from the album’s quality. ‘Rub Al Khali’ is a much more sedate affair and almost acoustic throughout. It’s a soundscape, taken from the song title of the endless desert. Putting this in the middle of the album is a smart move as it lets you regain your composure. The track is technical and complex, but beautifully put together, being both mysterious and relaxing.

Then we drop into ‘Beyond The Persian Veil’, which is probably the most heavily orchestrated track on the album. It’s a huge sound and impressively played. This is stadium sized music, made for the ridiculous light show and the aircraft carrier sized stage. I am not surprised that this took two years to stitch together. You can almost hear the writes, edits, and rewrites throughout the track, polishing and getting it right. It’s a great track without being overwrought or pompous which is a trap for many technical prog metal gurus.

So to the penultimate track, ‘From The End Of Eden’, and the title track does not disappoint. This is technical progressive metal in a nutshell. All the textures, flavours and nuances thrown together in a complex and elaborate mix that speeds through scales and moves through tempo changes with fluid ease. Although I hate saying this, it’s a track that reminds me of the dizzy ride that was Dream Theater’s (sic) ‘A Dramatic Turn Of Events’. I hate saying it because I initially loved that album, but it became an issue listening to it as its technicality became a barrier to enjoyment. There is a touch of that in this track from Gods Of Eden, but it’s far too soon to say how the love affair will pan out, but at the moment I’m enjoying the honeymoon.

So to the last track, which is the aural mugging, ‘Gods Of Eden’. If you name a track after the band it better be good… and it is. Very, very good in fact. If there is a track that you play to your friends to test their progressive metal threshold, this is the one. I have heard some unusual stuff in my time, from the bizarre Mr Bungle to the new age of Planet X but this is as fresh, unique, and as challenging, as any of it. It’s also as likely to polarise the audience to the extremes, from those who adore this, and those who consider it to be a riff fest too far. There are unlikely to be any fence sitters.

Gods Of Eden have put together an incredibly polished album, and coming so close to the release by the other progmasters, Teramaze, I’m delighted that the Australian domestic scene is so buoyant. Even more exciting is that Gods Of Eden already have a strong mainland European following, and have also been recognised by the local media as musicians worth watching. This album is likely to be received very well by those with a Dream Theater, Planet X, or Soilwork background. For others, particularly those with no background in progressive metal, this might be a tough album to get into. Being a veteran of progressive metal, I loved every trill, synth line, bass line, and machine gun kick. Very proud to say that this is an Australian band and look out Europe. Someone get these guys onto ProgPower in the States. Loved it!

Gods Of Eden are:

Ian Dixon -vocals

Danni Perez – guitars & instrumentation Mike Barillaro – bass & backing vocals Sean Thomson – guitars

Robin Stone – drums

Review: Craig Grant


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