The Legacy Of Gaia
Sometimes it seems like the forces of the universe are all conspiring to not make you like a piece of music. “The Legacy Of Gaia” is already a dense album, and my first encounter with it and its creators, the Brazilian progressive metal band Before Eden, was less than fortunate. You see, originally I got hold of the first pressing of their sophomore record, with an audio quality similar to that of a drunken fool banging on an upside down garbage can in a damp dungeon. Luckily the actual promotional copy concerned a re-mastered re-release, which gave me an actual opportunity to evaluate the music. A process that proved to be long and difficult, but in the end I’m glad I stuck with it. To provide an adequate idea of what this little gem sounds like, I’ll (not so) quickly guide you through the individual songs.
With a title like opener “Nomad Soul” one can’t go but oriental, and the fast-paced guitar and keyboard lines swirl like the sand under the hoofs of the nomad’s steed and sweep like the desert wind over his head. Singer Jason Peixer’s chanting of the title echoes as through the dunes at dusk, invoking a grand aura of mystery and solitude. The eastern influence is never far here, which not only ties the material well together, but gives it a feeling akin to Tunisian colleagues Myrath. Yet despite this congruency, each track brings something unique to the table: “Wizard Of The South” provides a rare instantly memorable chorus and “Essence” is a slow-burning and dark affair. The center of attention is the six-part titular suite, which takes us from mystically obscure to splendidly melancholic. The story is similar to Seventh Wonder’s “The Great Escape”, a story of refuge from a dying Earth. “Nova” is an epic in the density of space, while “Tomorrow’s Gone” and “Everland” immerse you in a beautiful state of hopelessness. “Reality” closes the album in style, with another outstanding chorus.
Also included are four bonus tracks, three of them taken from the EP “A Dark Entity”. The title track of this EP is the only new song here, the others date back to the self-titled debut. There is a period of two years between “The Legacy Of Gaia” and this EP, but one song isn’t enough to decide whether Before Eden has evolved or not. One thing is certain: they are still not in a hurry to make it easy on the listener, since “A Dark Entity” is every bit as hermetic as what came before. I do notice a stronger Dream Theater-influence here, with some added harsher vocals; but for now it is unclear how much of this will matter in the future. The songs plucked from the debut pale a little bit compared to their successors, but that can only be a good thing.
“The Legacy Of Gaia” seems to be a work from a progressive power metal band in its earlier stages. I hear bits and pieces of Symphony X’s “The Divine Wings Of Tragedy” and “Twilight In Olympus”, and Kamelot’s “Siege Perilous”; both already impressive releases from bands who would go on to do even greater. Peixer’s singing style sounds like Roy Khan’s as well, further strengthening the comparison. Time will tell if Before Eden is headed in the glorious direction of its peers, but for now “The Legacy Of Gaia” can stand on its own as a demanding, but rewarding addition to the genre.
Arno Callens' rating: 4.0 out of 5