Lost Eden - Cycle Repeats - 2007 - Candlelight Records
1. Seed 2. Squeeze 3. Equation 999 4. Forsaken Last 5. Time Damages Me 6. Sandglass 7. Black Report 8. Planetoid 9. Story And Reality 10. Before Turning To Ashes
Japan's best kept secret is Lost Eden? I always thought the immortal and ever evolving Loudness was the best export from the land of the rising sun, at least on these domestic shores. However Candlelight Records may be on to something with this slogan to accompany their release of Lost Eden's debut album "Cycle Repeats". It has always amazed me that metal has triumphed with stones unturned in rather rural areas like Norway, Sweden, Germany, and even Finland. Japan has always boasted a rather unique heavy metal sound, again led by the country's very own Metallica in Loudness, but really if one digs deep enough they will find countless bands that simply don't exist in the eyes of the global metal community. Beyond the stateside Loudness releases (over two decades ago) and the Gene Simmons pushed EZO (mid-80s), Japan has simply stayed in their own metal community. So with that being said, maybe this is Japan's best kept secret that is finally emerging through a large label.
I remember a year ago I was ranting and raving about Plastic Earth, Japan's answer to Soilwork. With Lost Eden this seems to be the culmination of modern day In Flames ("Come Clarity", "Reroute To Remain") crossed with the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal movement punctuated by bands like As I Lay Dying and Caliban. The band formed in 2000 and released a demo in 2005 that caught the eyes and ears of Candlelight Records. Now the debut is upon us and I must say this is one impressive start.
The five-piece uses a phenomenal amount of twin guitar melody overlapping mammoth stomp riffs while allowing soft keyboard textures to enhance the sound and keep it rather toned down. While bands like Hatebreed and Freya seem to wallop the listener with a raw and intense groove session, this band uses the keyboards to really bring the intensity down a notch and allow a much more atmospheric sound to intrigue the listener. Frankly I thing things get a bit long winded when bands rely on simple sonic brutality to exist. Lost Eden does everything just right to allow "Cycle Repeats" to stay in the player much longer than most "extreme needy" bands.
The album opens with a free-wheel burning cut that recalls "Black Earth" era Arch Enemy crossed with today's melodic death charge. The vocalist (can't locate a name) is more in line with Soilwork's singer Speed, shocking me with his crystal clarity (most Jap singers are hard to decipher). The band layers the verses and chorus with melody and softer elements, allowing a pleasant sound that is simply refreshing while still pummeling. "Equation 999" is total In Flames worship with melodic twin duels that provide wonderful ear candy before exploding into heavy grooves. This cut is probably one of the best songs I've heard this year and will definitely make my top ten songs of 2007. From there the band shifts into more progressive atmosphere with the diverse "Forsaken Last" before exploding into melodic bursts of energy on "Time Damages Me", "Black Report" (again Arch Enemy vein), and "Planetoid". More keyboard touches enhance closers "Story And Reality" and "Before Burning To Ashes". Along the way the band sits an instrumental on us with "Sandglass", a track that reminds me of the early Dark Tranquility records.
The Bottom Line - Lost Eden is exhibit A that Japan indeed has deep metal roots that are still very much in tune with today's modern metal sound. This is an impressive debut that will leave this band in memory for years to come. Throw Lost Eden and Plastic Earth as support for Loudness and hit North America right now!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details