Sunday, May 22

Images Of Eden - Rebuilding The Ruins

Images Of Eden
Rebuilding The Ruins

Concept album storylines can either enhance or ruin an album; fortunately this is not a problem for Images Of Eden’s recent outing Rebuilding The Ruins. A continuation in their style of US progressive metal à la Queensrÿche meets Dream Theater, the lyrics weave well with the music. Quantity appears not to be an issue, with the album clocking in at 74 minutes, most of it played by frontman Gordon Tittsworth. However, the band has evolved from a solo project 10 years ago to a full band, providing a more balanced approach.

Prog influences are worn on their sleeves, including Fates Warning and Rush along with the already mentioned Queensrÿche and Dream Theater. The ballad of the album, “Dreams Unbroken”, has echoes of Marillion’s “Kayleigh”, however the album gets heavier as time elapses, from the lighter “Human Angels” to a groove-oriented “My Stigmata”. The monster 12-minute closer comes out of nowhere, eclipsing and yet summarizing the rest of the album.

The guitars, when either riffing or soloing, are mostly well-produced aside from a dip in “Sorrow’s End”. The drums have a toned down Portnoy-esque feel about them, and would possibly be more impressive with a fuller mixing. Aside from a break in “Sorrow’s End” and a minor role in “Dreams Unbroken”, the bass is relegated to a rhythm position to pave the way for the technical and emotional solos. The use of piano fading in and out during tracks is a pleasant contrast to the heavier sections such in “Children Of Autumn”.

Tittsworth himself is a mixed bag, with some stellar performances like on personal favorite “Tribal Scars” yet an occasional slightly irritating nasal twinge like in the refrain of “Human Angels”. His lyrical capacity ranges from impressive to odd, a better example being “Twilight skies ablaze-turning dusk into dawn/Moonlight seas of haze-crying through song”. Lyrical topics cover tribal wars, relationship issues, references to Christ and a T.S. Eliot quote.

Although his vocal range is not that wide, it suits the music, from a low Russell-Allen style to a combination of early-era Geoff Tate and Bruce Dickinson. I am, however, not such a fan of guest vocalist Jackie Joyce, who provides a tradeoff with Tittsworth on “My Stigmata” and “Sunlight Of The Spirit Part IV”, but doesn’t seem to add to the songs.

In short, there are some fantastic moments on this album like “Tribal Scars” and the folk-metal inspired “Native To His Land”, but also weaker tracks like “My Stigmata”. It is still worth a listen for those who enjoy the mentioned influences, and best of luck to those who attempt to deduce the storyline.

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Angel's rating: 3.75/5

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