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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band EDENSONG is a project that was in development from 2002 and onward, eventually releasing their debut album "Fruit of the Fallen" in 2008, a production that was followed by the EP "Echoes of Edensong" two years later. "Years in the Garden of Years" is their sophomore full length studio album, and was released through renowned US label Laser's Edge in the fall of 2016.

Back in the spring of 2013 I sat in an apartment in Brooklyn and listened to just shy of half an hour of material that was in the works for this album. I cannot recall the specific details of that listening session, but it was a fun and interesting manner in which to conclude a weekend in New York City before traveling on to meet other friends stateside. I had stayed with drummer Tony Waldman for part of that weekend, and we've been in touch on a fairly regular basis ever since. He was passionate about the qualities of the forthcoming Edensong album even back then, and from what I can recall the band have worked quite a bit to add some quality finishing touches to the songs at hand here.

As with many other progressive rock bands, Edensong's take on the genre is one that is hard to pin down. They appear to have something of a passionate interest in progressive folk rock of the kind that Jethro Tull made a career out of, and traces and echoes of that band can be found on numerous occasions throughout. Not merely due to the liberal use of flute soloing, but also in certain structural elements unless I'm much mistaken. That there are passages that comes across as something of a bastard child of Jethro Tull and Dream Theater is perhaps and indication of just how extensive the palette Edensong use is, although the more clear cut metal-oriented themes and passages strictly speaking is a minority feature on this CD. Very much present, but not in a dominant manner.

There's a lot of what I'd describe as hard prog present however. Quite a few classic guitar riff and organ combinations, but also various combinations of bass, piano and guitar creating a firm, hard sound that is vibrant and tension filled. That these may alternate with gentler passages of a more pastoral character as well as more dramatic and sweeping ones with more of a clear cut symphonic progressive expression again an indication of variety and versatility I guess. Add in occasional lapses into what I'd describe as a chamber rock oriented style, as well occasional details here and there that possibly have more of an avant tinge to them, and you do end up with an album that can proudly be described as eclectic in scope as well as character.

A special remark is merited for the final third of the impressively flexible instrumental Chronos, as what I'd hazard a guess at being Japanese inspired percussion and instrument details most certainly adds a distinct mood and flavor to those sequences. I would also guess that these details were directly or indirectly provided by drummer Tony, who knows a thing or two about Japanese culture.

"Years in the Garden of Years" is undeniably a progressive rock album, one of those productions placed so much in the center of that universe that it cannot be mistaken for anything else. It's eclectic, filled with variety, and feature enough alterations and changes in tempo and arrangements to keep even a jaded progger happy. The compositions are well worked out too, with excellent mix and production as the icing on the cake. A CD easy to recommend to any progressive rock fan with a taste for the eclectic and more adventurous parts of the progressive rock universe.

Report this review (#1617339)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Edensong very kindly suggested that I review this album, for which I was flattered as anything prog-metal is out of my league. In fact, I may be ridiculed by some fans for not owning any Dream Theater albums but so is taste, open to ever ending debate. I never had any kind of affinity for technical displays of instrumental prowess (unless in a live form, where you can SEE the effort). I am a moody guy and, like any good astronaut, I need all kinds of atmosphere to get my rockets firing. Joking aside, I took upon myself to be as objective possible and eliminate the tinkering with paralleling DT, which I am sure Edensong is not that anxious to oblige. "Years in the Garden of Years" is the title of this sophomore opus , a 70 minute behemoth of definitely progressive rock and having no prior knowledge of this group, here are the members: James Byron Schoen mans the guitars and vocals, Tony Waldman plays drums, percussion and BG vocals, Stefan Paolini fingers the keyboards, BG vocals, T.D. Towers provides the bass, BG vocals and Barry Seroff the flute.

So with an open mind and freshly q-tipped ears, I sat down and gave this a completely devoted audition as "Cold City" tumbles out of my hot speakers, I cannot help being immediately drawn to two rather overt impressions: Tony Waldman is a wild man on drums and percussion, playing technically complex one second and craftily nuanced the next, apparently at the drop of a hat. Secondly, the flute has a rather preponderant role in Edensong and does not serve as some banal side dish, just to add flavor, but rather as a de facto vital cog in the instrumental machine. A slight medieval opener that saunters to the next level, propelled by the lightning guitar assaults that are paralleled by the beastly rhythmic onslaught. Guitarist Schoen carves with a stinging tone, like some metallic wasp gone berserk. The various keys used by Paolini serve to illustrate new sonic orchestrations, yet using a fair amount of soloing

Then comes the whopper of all whoppers: an eight-part extravaganza based on the title and its theme of time and circumstance. The entirely instrumental "End Times" begins quietly enough, strumming acoustic guitar and luxuriant cello, when suddenly the staccato drumming, some harsh guitar and insistent piano all forge a common alliance , one of utmost urgency and insistence. It segues nicely into "In the Longest of Days" where the vocals take over, tinkling e-piano (that is killer) in the background. Things get ghostlier with the spectral "The Hallowed", a somber feast of cello, flute and percussion that could have emanated from the first crusade, a campfire of knights heading to Jerusalem, a forlorn acoustic guitar stunningly beautiful and sublimely melodic, a fragile voice doused with lavish despondency intoning the pain of 'his cries were so alone', supplementary cello and flute attempt to 'console the laughter' and thus 'the pain begins'. A shimmering mood of expert melancholy that eventually gets hot and heavy, espousing a contained anger that surges over the soul. This is a tremendously entertaining slice of prog rock, as sweeping piano, choral orchestrations and profound sonic resolve impose their will. This is definitely not prog metal by any stretch, much more modern symphonic with medieval tinges and a vivid contrast of both time and essence.

Technical connoisseurs need not worry as "Down the Hours" spirals into the stratosphere, still occasionally resting in warm pools of atonal melancholy, before resuming the wild ride, again fueled by Waldman's athletic propulsion. Seroff's handles the flute with adamant abandon, until guitarist Schoen takes over the spotlight and begins chugging rather furiously, a flick of a talented wrist and nimble fingers that grope the fretboard with lewd assertion, this is quite a revealing display. An electronic-tinged intermezzo serves as a studied outro. The highlight track must be the vocal-less "Chronos", a 9 minute musical consecration, incorporating all the ingredients that are unique to this masterpiece, furrowed by the penetrating bass rumble of TD Towers, who muscles the arrangement into a sturdier display of tectonic prog, muscular drums pounding away, the flute fluttering, the cello churning and the 'kettle almost boiling', this could easily have passed as vintage Jethro Tull on Passion Play steroids, with a dose of insanity to boot! Paolini's keys create superb colorations and Tony '2Toes' is 'moving with authority' as he strikes the skins with audacious intensity. The percussive solo is phenomenal, allying Japanese-like disposition with fragile instruments and expanding the atmosphere beyond space and time.

The bass first harrumphs like some burping politico, chain-saw guitar ramblings scorching the background, as the voice laments on "Generations", a perfect set-up for the second winner here , the brilliant "Atman Apocalypse" a heavily King Crimson (David Cross version)-like intro that evolves into a panorama of musical expression, with tinges of raging deliverance, roller coaster rhythmic swells (Waldman again) and careening valleys, screeching synths that scratch the mind, all combining for a savage ride. There is a nearly 'Supper's Ready'- like feel, what with all the tonal dramatics, the theatricality of the arrangement and the quirky vocals. I was impressed and taken by the first run through, incredibly aroused by the powerful conveyance of such great prog standards that we all know and love. Its fast, slow, hard and soft, all wrapped in some symphonic veil and progressive filigree. The pedal stays firmly on the turbocharger as the finale of the 8 part suite kicks in, as "Regenerations" rekindle earlier pleasures of delicate sound and eventual thunder, buoyed by immense orchestrations, subtle acoustic guitar interventions and passionate vocals drenched in sorrow, cello in tow. Labyrinthine energy, compositional creativity, instrumental efficiency. The mellotron-drenched ending is unadulterated pulling at the heartstrings, Tony sadly bashing his drum kit, the orchestrations traversed by sizzling synth stabbings, this is just perfect music, period. I actually applauded when I first heard this track end.

The sandwiched opus finishes with the deliberate "Yawn of a Blink", a raucous adventure that has these little details that add pleasure to the pain, such as those metallic harpsichord sounds, the volcanic Waldman fills, a scouring organ foray and echoed vocals that showcase both resolve and anguish. Flute hands off to e-guitar, and both go headed straight to the end zone, smilingly waiting for the black and white dude to signal touchdown! Yes, indeed.

Perhaps not being tainted with any kind of prejudgment has helped me in my enjoyment and subsequent review, all I can say is that this is pretty special stuff indeed that thoroughly deserves a much wider audience, certainly in view of the incredible amount of variety, interest and research that went into this labour of love. One thing is for sure though, this isn't Dream Theater! Along with fellow New Yorkers Circuline, the state of US prog is fantastic. Lets fix their politics soon , please.

5 orchard of ages

Report this review (#1633040)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars I confess at the outset, I love this band. I was entranced by the construction of the compositions on their first album, "The Fruit Fallen." Every song was different, and played off one another, while each was also a journey in its own right. They made the festival rounds shortly after it's release and then, put out an album titled "Echoes of Edensong," that included live versions of songs from TFF, along with a new number, a remixed number and featured both a live and updated version of "Beneath the Tide," which was written and recorded by three of the core members, while still in their mid-teens, as part of an earlier, more thrash metal, version of Edensong. This song was usually the closing and inspiring number for most of their live performances and it was the obvious intent of the band to make it available under the Edensong banner.

Their third effort, Years in the Garden of Years, took years to complete, as much because of the different directions that the band members had to take personally, as the attention to detail that it took to record this almost perfect album. Devotees of the giants of the golden era will find this to be a must listen. Fans of Jethro Tull, who wondered what that band would sound like if they continued to evolve progressively, should find this irresistible, as the music features the flute in additional and compelling ways, an extraordinary rhythm section full of driving base and exquisite and varied drumming. Song structures sometimes reminiscent of the best of Genesis, also find familiarity with the mellotron sound and ofttimes whimsical nature of the transitions. One could imagine that 1975 Genesis could have evolved in this direction had they not changed course, especially after 1977.

Nowhere is the diversity of sound more on display than on the fourth track, "The Hollowed," which has more twists and turns than a bob sled run, featuring some of the most beautiful and playful melodies and ending with some highly charged symphonic prog, somewhat reminiscent of The Enid, with everything else in between. This is simply a utter delight and quite possibly one of my favorite songs of all time. Since the individual tracks are well described in other reviews, far better than I could articulate them, I will refrain from a detailed recitation of their intricacies and virtues. The best part about this album, as well as others that meet the masterpiece definition, is that each listen brings new discoveries and that it never gets old and like fine wine actually improves with age. It is the finest vintage of the music I love.

Report this review (#1675872)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hi. It's been a while and I admit that I'm not really prepared to do a review that will do this cd (album) justice, but if I wait much longer, it just won't happen like so many other - albums that I would have loved to review! So here goes and I apologize in advance for all that is lacking. I have to say that this cd was one of those that had reached the coveted 'hard to remove' potion from my cd player in my van! I've used that expression before, but that is where a large percentile of my listening is done. After many listens, I had found that I was still finding new bytes of audio taste sensations that made the listening experience a slightly 'new' flavor with each subsequent listen. I enjoyed the great variety on the album without that variety causing the album to lose any coherency or flow. I highly recommend this cd (album). I discovered it through PA and am glad that I did so. Most of my music purchases in the last decade or so were discovered that way. Although I can't quite give it the 5 star masterpiece rating, it is just about as close to reaching it as possible and I would definitely give it 4.5 stars if I were able.

Take care and enjoy God's gift of music!

Report this review (#1691710)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars I hadn't heard of Edensong before I purchased the album, and I don't even remember what brought me there in the first place. A chance encounter turned into a long sort of listening party, I remember interrupting and restarting the album several times because I needed to digest the first few tracks, and other people got home and they needed to hear this too! I pretty much listened every day to and from work these past two weeks and feel very comfortable throwing 5 stars around again for a real masterpiece. Cold City begins and you can see why people compare this band to Jethro Tull... for about 30 seconds, and then they show they are so much more with their heavy riffs, frantic instrumental sections and the pace of it all. This band is on fire the whole album through, there's no other way to describe it. Cold City has our very pleasant vocalist singing through the "telephone effect" before really coming out, leading a good chorus into a wild instrumental section that goes EVERYWHERE! Flashes of Deep Purple, Dream Theater, Camel, guitar playing akin to Steve Hackett, there is even a bit that sounds like it could have come straight off of Death's "Symbolic"! Tracks 2-9 appear to be one suite, which is why we get an overture in track 2 and the album really feels like it ends at track 9, before Yawn of a Blink begins as almost a little bonus. A few more thoughts; The Hollowed reminds me of Storm Corrosion at the start, and is also my favourite track. Down the Hours just rocks! Chronos has something going on around 6:30 or so and I don't really know what that is but I love it, perhaps those are bells in a somewhat metal context? The notes mention Adrian Belew on vocals in the Atman Apocalypse, but careful inspection shows he is only the incredibly distorted spoken word behind "Have you changed your Mayan calendar lately". I can't write enough, this album comes recommended to everyone, this is can't-miss stuff.
Report this review (#1715112)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening to this album around 10-12 times in the past 5 days I can properly ask why isn't this band like HUGE1? Sorry, that's my Jethro Tull fan side searching for unanswerable questions. I can't remember how I got to this album but I know that when I saw that cover exploration was mandatory! Very fortunate for me because not only was I correct judging the book by its cover, I am also hooked forever because the music here is simply fantastic. Moving forward to the review, this album consists of mainly three tracks:an opener, an epic suite with eight parts, and a closer. Medieval Celtic-like melodies kick off with Cold City, with a very suitable metal edge and all the gadgets from symphonic prog (flutes, Hammonds, atoned guitar licks and flawless rhythmic section. James's vocals almost bring the music to a more conventional set up, but it ends up being just a minor tease, prog is all over the place, in all forms and definitely very eclectic, and the flute work is outstanding, as well as the double bass drumming with a very theatrical and kind of ritual ending. Years in the Garden of Years, the title track and center epic for the album I. End Times in Retrospect starts as a mellow acoustic and atmospheric track, still on the same melodic mood, accessible but dark, with celestial cellos and a change of tempo that will catch the listener immediately. Chaotic keyboards lead to a flute solo accompanied by flawless bass and drums, similar to what you would expect from a modern Tull album with a progressive metal side to it. Beautiful. II. In the Longest of Days. The single (radio version I guess) blends in with catchy vocal melodies and a more commercial approach to the musical crafting. This is a tune you will be humming to after the first listen, then singing out loud after second listen, then forever inserted in your brain after third listen, that's it. I haven't really heard properly anything from Dream Theater yet, except for some classics, but I do hear some of its influence here. Symphonic Progressive metal prog? The various synth layers are phenomenal, hooks and choruses memorable, era worm melodies for sure. III. The Hollowed. Seroff's flute playing is particularly enchanting, unquestionably influenced by the 70's scene and incredibly suiting for this album. Acoustic guitars and very emotional vocals (and lyrics) take over for the first half of the song until Waldman's percussion and invited cellos start defining a louder environment for the power ballad, which obviously has also its unexpected moments, like those where frenetic piano interrupts setting base for more exquisite flute and cello interaction, really majestic and enchanting. Impossible a better melodic ending for this part of the epic. IV. Down the Hours is probably the darkest and heaviest part of YITGOY, even the flute is that dark and powerful and the upper tempo is very enjoyable, mellotron Vs progressive metal guitars, some uncommon shredding and then some heavy cellos. I can't be the only one in love with this music, right? This is a fantastic piece of art, exceptionally executed. V. Chronos, one of my favorite passages with that sort of bossanova at the beginning and the majestic flute soloing and fairy tale piano playing. But when the metal kicks its when everything arrives to that next level, again all instruments interact together creating this fast symphonic metal orchestration that its hard to evade or ignore, 9 minutes of progressive melodic madness, sad, happy, dark, bright, fast and furious and mostly instrumental, intermezzo for the impressive epic. The very quite and almost playful last seconds help change the mood for the second half of the title track. VI. Generations. Fat bass and "British" sounding vocals connect with the listener through the lyrics and their melodies but for a short period, with a spatial feel that preludes something powerful is about to happen, The Apocalypse? VII. The Atman Apocalypse. Power metal, cello and flute enhanced, but this is power metal I its core with even some hints of heavy prog or heavy Neo prog on the guitar riffing, its amazing how guitars and keys understand each other so well. But this specific song has its better moments in the rhythmic section, flawlessly supporting the symphonic columns. So we better conclude that this is the result when s band like Jethro Tull and Dream Theater/Symphony X collide, powerful, melodic, complex and very very symphonic. VIII. Regenerations. This is how the epic center piece for the album comes to an end, very mellow and melancholic, same feeling we experience on the last day of a trip, reliving the memorable moments but knowing there's nothing there's no more, at least for a while. 5 plus minutes of very close storytelling with little percussion but tons of guitar and keys arrangements before returning to the full band explosion with a mid tempo vibe and virtuoso synth playing. Flutes and cellos on the back, with bass, drums and guitars teasing with a more doom metal tone, until it just fades away. Yawn of a blink, what a unique song title. A little more complex and messy than Cold City but blending almost every mood we have heard in the past 65minutes, powerful vocals, metal riffing, minstrel sounding guitars, the backing cellos, the double bass drumming, the leading flute soloing and, why not, some twin guitar battle and symphonic key and flutes that melodically bring balance to the last moments of the record. The END!

Report this review (#2607395)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2021 | Review Permalink

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