PENUMBRA - Eden
May 30, 2023, 5 months ago
First made the French septet's acquaintance with the release of their sophomore album (2001, The Last Bewitchment, on Season Of Mist). Been a few line-up changes since then, but the female fronted outfit still offers a snapshot of the symphonic/Goth metal genre. Just the fifth record (first since '15), in a career dating back to '96. If interested in a primer of what that scene is like, or has sounded like, for the last two decades, then Eden offers an all-in-one crash course.
First off, Valérie Chantraine (her studio debut with Penumbra) is a vocal doppelganger for Within Temptation's Sharon den Adel. Beautiful voice, but the band also employs several gruff male counterpoints. So there's an Epica/Mayan vibe at work, overall. Then specific songs pinpoint other genre superstars. The pipes (if not the title itself) of "Neverdream", recall Nightwish and the massive, dual-sex backing chorus, used intermittently ("Empty Space" and Underworld'') will certainly strike a chord with later day Therion fans.
Airy, piano begun "Sorrow", with synth undercurrent, belies such a negative moniker, while the sounds of a flat lining heartbeat introduces the title track, which completely exits the metallic realm. The concluding "Aion" is a double ocal tracked (as are most) gem, free of gimmicks.
Not much, in the way of originality (apart from a full-time oboe player!), but music that's familiar to the ears never goes out of favor.