Album Review: Exit Eden – Rhapsodies in Black

Band: Exit Eden
Album: Rhaposdies in Black
Release Date: August 4, 2017
Label: Napalm Records

By: Todd Naevestad

I go through a lot of trouble to keep up this metalhead persona, but there are just some days I just want to kick back and jam to some terrible pop music. Where no one else can hear it of course. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure. So I embrace things like the Punk Goes Pop albums that let me have my cake and eat it too. When I tripped over Exit Eden, it seemed like a cosmic sign: power metal covers of pop songs. That’s right on brand for me. The real question for any cover band is how well do they make each song their own, and why should I listen to them over the original creators?

I already like Exit Eden’s style choices. The bands comprises mainly of four female vocalists, Amanda Somerville, Clementine Delauney, Marina La Toracca, and virtually unknown, Anna Brunner. Each woman has her own distinct style that covers a lot of the hallmarks of metal. And while Somerville and Delauney seem to be the “leaders” of the crew, each woman gets a chance to shine in her own set. There is at least one cover that each singer gets to be showcased in, and even in the group pieces, it feels like there is room for each individual to have their moment. Honestly, the team spirit in display here is admirable. If you’ll forgive me for getting 90’s kid on you, they’ve got this power metal Spice Girls vibe where you’re bound to have a favorite singer (I’m a fan of La Toracca myself). I’m certain you’ll find something you like.

So they’ve got a good foundation, but a cover album lives and dies on the quality of their music. Luckily for Exit Eden, they have a solid lineup with only a few missteps. With songs like “Question of Time” and “Impossible”, if you had told me they were original creations, I would have believed you. They take a remarkably unique spin on them, adding grandiose string backing, rocking guitar solos, and the expected fantastic vocals. These songs become new creations with the effort put in by the whole band.

Other songs are less complete transformations. Not every cover can be a total winner and most of the rest are solid interpretations that still feel like the originals but have the flair of a metal song. Still, with drawing from so many different pop styles, there are two or three that really don’t translate well. “Paparazzi’s” rhythm doesn’t lend itself well to the sweeping metal style and the chorus sounds off. And if I’m honest, JonTron’s cover of “Firework” was better.

Exit Eden is an experiment, and Rhapsodies in Black their first public test. I can say with utmost confidence that they succeeded. Their core of wonderful voices pushed the album from an interesting novelty to a thoroughly enjoyable reimagining of familiar songs. And if this really is Brunner’s breakout showing, we can expect big things from her. I want to hear more from these women and a second album can’t come soon enough. With a little more creative selection process and the same kind of passion to make something new, I’m sure they’ll make something spectacular.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Recommended bands: Epica, Phantom Elite, Visions of Atlantis

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m also hoping to hear more from Anna, who is excellent, and fingers crossed for a second album !


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