Pure Steel Records (2012)
I’ve been following this California melodic power metal act since the mid 1990’s in their demo days, and also had the good fortune to see them play live a couple of times at festivals across America. Guitarist Horacio Colmenares remains the visionary and main songwriter for this group, who certainly have had their fair share of notably vocalists come through the fold at one time or another- from Helstar’s James Rivera to Onward/Crescent Shield’s Michael Grant to Steel Prophet’s Rick Mythiasin. “Solving For X” gives newcomer Rod Arias his initial chance to helm New Eden’s vocal front, and he certainly does more than a capable job with his fierce, commanding force and multi-dimensional clean range. With 9 years between studio albums, New Eden have plenty of time to ply their songwriting craft and I believe with these 11 songs, they deliver their heaviest platter to date.
A song like “Unsolved Aggressions” just bursts from the get go- it’s pulsating, persistent double bass sitting comfortably against the riff parade as Rod’s melodic vocals remind you of Forbidden’s Russ Anderson during his early days. “Flames For Hades” opens with a slightly off tempo drum passage against a series of upward and descending guitar harmonies- before the galloping nature of Horacio’s riffing takes over and you feel like you are on a Euro-metal meets Helstar journey. Vocal effects are used for enhancing certain lyrical thoughts, such as the chorus of the instant highlight “Brainless”- but what I appreciate most about New Eden in 2012 is their tenacious desire to keep the arrangements crisp without lacking solid attacking hooks. Even the closing, dark country-like ballad “Three Words” just has this air of quiet confidence that manages to have you humming away for days after exposure to this material.
Potent production, attractive cover art, and an emphasis on intelligent power metal without pandering to the most commercial denominator, “Solving For X” will find a lot of appeal to the old school market but should also get a few within the thrash community on their side. 45 minutes you’ll want frequently to energize your emotions and invigorate your total well-being.
Rating: 4.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe