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.
From that moment back in 2009, Wosz took over the lead vocals in addition to his guitar duties and teamed up with friend producer Enrico Tiberi to work on songs for this new album, coming up with some of the nine intriguing and confusing tracks that grace “Stendhal Got That Close”.
Edenshade are usually tagged as melodic death metal though on this album that is slightly misleading, their music 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 guitar sounds of Wosz are impressive and attention drawing, and the musical ideas which are also realised by Tiberi with electronics, additional guitars and backing vocals, as well as the additional guest musicians Marco Poderi also on guitars, Andrea Massetti on bass, and drummer Alessandro Vagnoni, stimulating .
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. The confusing aspect is with his delivery and whether it is deliberate or just he cannot do sing any other way but on many of the tracks he seems to be singing a different song/melody and is at constant odds with the music. 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.
Other notable moments are the tracks ‘Need’, used for the latest and well worth seeing video, and the slightly surreal tracks ‘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 on “Stendhal Got That Close” is ‘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 Close” should 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.