As some of you might know, I was blown away by Nyodene D's previous album "Every Knee Shall Bow, and the following "Caged Dog / Common Criminal" 7" was really pleasing as well. This album was followed in the august of 2012 as a really good-looking digipack CD with a booklet that includes the lyrics.
I had immensely high expectations for the album, and initially I was disappointed by it - not because it would've sounded bad, but simply because it was something completely different than what I expected. Whilst the earlier album delivered a threatening and apocalyptic atmosphere through very heavy and detailed death industrial, this one opens up with harsh and assaulting power electronics and harsh noise. The overall soundscape is really distorted, and hence it took me quite a while to adjust to it and abandon my false expectations of the album.
After a few spins I noticed that the atmospheres' darkness had gone nowhere; it just manifests itself differently this time. As this album is themed around humanity's current and past atrocities, it's understandable why a noisier and more wrathful approach was chosen. The first two tracks make the change clear: although they're still based on looped synth-rumbles and screeching scrap metal-sounds, everything has a heavy coating of harsh distortion that makes them sound louder, more abrasive and, naturally, way different from the earlier album despite their instrumental similarities. The songs are really well built and each of them has more than the needed amount of structure and personality to be called composed songs, as opposed to coming out as snippets of a longer recording session.
The vocals are delivered as deep shouts (which, unsurprisingly, remind me of Grunt) that have a lot of honest emotion and aggression in them. Although their occasionally really heavy echoing and distortion eats away their personality a bit, it suits the songs' atmosphere. The howled vocals by Shift on "Damnatio Memoriae" and the more black metal-esque growls by the vocalist of Prosanctus Inferi on "Nihilation" bring a whole new aspect to the songs, and make the album sound a bit more versatile and original as well. These features were not arranged because they'd be vital for these songs to work, but as more of a personal and artistic add - or that's how I feel about them.
After the first two songs' distorted hostility, we get to Anasazi which focuses on some kind of an ethnic or tribal chanting that lasts throughout the track. It is generally more subtle and more focused on mid-pitches than the two earlier tunes, and aside of being a great track, it serves as a necessary resting place for the ears before returning to the more distorted realms of "Scars of Anthropology." This mentioned track has a seemingly minimalistic setup of a spoken sample and slowly evolving analogue rumble with a lot of distortion carrying through the track, and the artist's harsh vocals are there to give the song a rhythm. The fifth song "Nihilation" is one of my favourites on the album. The switching between the two vocal styles creates an interesting fluctuation in the atmosphere, whilst a minimalistic and looped synth-"melody" creates the song's skeleton. The varying higher-pitch screeches and toilings are coated with a thick layer distortion, as expected, and make sure that the otherwise subtle and minimalistic tune holds a great deal of wrath in it.
The nine-minute closing song is where the album loses me every time. It's based on a good-sounding bit of synth-rumble that repeats throughout the song every few seconds. Aside of that and the delayed (and flanged?) shouts there isn't a lot to be heard. The song's background is a layer of slowly morphing metallic ambience that doesn't really evoke anything, making it seem like it's there just to fill the otherwise empty space. The song might work in some other context, but here it does me no good.
Even after a multitude of spins I still feel that the album ends without a proper climax. Even through I fancy the predecessing song "Nihilation," it is too slow-paced and "passive" to be the album's high point.
Despite the fact that I was somewhat let down by its end-part's structure and especially the final song, I still have to say that otherwise "Edenfall" is splendid. It is loud and abrasive, but each sound and effect is there for a purpose and it starts revealing a great amount of contrasts and details after just a couple of spins.
Do note that if you're willing to invest a few more bucks, you can buy the album as a 2CD boxed set that's limited to 200 copies. The second CD (which is exclusive to this set and is housed in its own digisleeve) features a 35-minute five-song collaboration between Nyodene D and Sektor 304, a Portuguese group I wasn't previously aware of. The collaborative disc is quite different from the actual album, as it has a lot clearer and more decayed sound and features a lot of almost unprocessed metal scrap noises as the songs' beat. In a sense it sounds and is structured more like a traditional oldschool power electronics-release, but on the other hand it features some very experimental elements as well, such as a chunk of the metal-percussions and vocals on the tracks assembled by Sektor 304. The fifth song "Furnace" features a quite prominent electro-vibe, for example. I haven't yet listened to the collaborative disc enough to have a clear feel and stance on it, but I know this: I've definitely found it to be good and interesting.
As a closing comment, if you're considering buying "Edenfall," which indeed is something you should consider doing in the near future, I recommend you to buy the 2CD-set of it.