Published on August 24th, 2016 | by Justin G.
Formed from the ashes of cult favorites August Redmoon, California-based heavy metal band Eden released their self-titled debut album in 1986 on the Enigma label. The band had been active in one incarnation or another since the early ‘80s, so the Eden debut has a definite NWOBHM influence, but with the wild energy that made the US heavy metal scene so much fun.
If you’re slotting this album against other artists and genres, Eden was too metal for the Hollywood hair metal scene, and too melodic for the emerging thrash scene. Think Malice, China, Fifth Angel, Highway Chile and Obsession, full of wild, frantic guitar work, high speed riffs and piercing vocals. Singer Michael Henry (RIP), who some may remember from his later work on Armed Forces’ Take on the Nation, had a fantastic range, and he used every bit of it here. And whatever dizzying heights he hit, lead guitarist Rick Scott Crocco (sadly, also RIP) was there to match him with his soloing.
This is one of those albums that reminds those of us of a certain age why we fell in love with heavy metal in the 1980s. As soon as the driving rock anthem “Pound It Out” kicks in, that sense of fighting the good fight (for metal! Or possibly rock, that’s good too!) just rushes at you. And the whole album is like that, from the NWOBHM-worthy “Judgment Day” and “Panic in the City” to the more commercially accessible, King Kobra-ish “Sealed With a Kiss.” This is also an album you can totally judge by its cover. Its back cover, at least. Eden looks like Saxon circa-Crusader with their zebra stripes, leather pants and white jackets. I will buy the hell out of any album with a band photo like that, and am almost never disappointed.
This is such a perfect example of the mid ‘80s heavy metal style, right when the NWOBHM era was being taken over by the Metal Blade bands. Sadly, it’s also an album that didn’t get much support from Enigma, which is part of the reason many of us are only now discovering how killer Eden’s sound was. So yeah, if you own more than one Metal Massacre compilation (August Redmoon was on Metal Massacre IV, by the way), you need to own this album, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: The Eden debut was reissued on CD once before by the Metal for Muthas label, but quickly disappeared. Thanks to the Divebomb label, fans once again have the chance to discover this vintage heavy metal gem, this time in a definitive edition. Divebomb’s new version features the full Eden album, plus a heft nine bonus tracks, including early demos as well as their 2012 reunion EP Judgement Day. This includes demos featuring Mike Stone (ex-Queensryche) on vocals, who had a surprisingly strong voice himself. So 20 tracks total, all on one disc. All of the songs have been newly remastered, and the booklet is loaded with band history, lyrics and vintage photos. It’s a great looking, great sounding reissue.
Summary: This is a must-have for '80s metal fans.