by Justin Gaines
Staff Writer –
Former Dungeon guitarist Stu Marshall is back with another in his series of Empires of Eden projects. The latest album, Empires of Eden’s third release, is titled Channeling the Infinite, and once again it features an impressive array of guest vocalists. The singers lending their voices to Channeling the Infinite are Udo Dirkschneider (UDO, ex-Accept), Rob Rock (Impelliteri, Driver), Steve Grimmett (ex-Grim Reaper), Mike Dimeo (Creation’s End, ex-Riot), Sean Peck (Cage), Ronny Munroe (Metal Church), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge of Forever), Carlos Zema (Outworld), Danny Cecati (Eyefear), Louie Gorgievski (Crimsonfire) and Vo Simpson (Darker Half).
Channeling the Infinite seems a bit less melodic and a lot more focused on traditional heavy metal power than the previous Empires of Eden release (2010’s Reborn in Fire). That makes perfect sense when you’ve classic metal vocalists like Udo Dirkschneider, Sean Peck and Steve Grimmett at your disposal. Marshall seems to have adjusted his songwriting to fit these singers, and he’s definitely brought the level of shredding up a notch (or ten). There are still some melodic moments here. “This Time” with Steve Grimmett and “Lions for Lambs” with Alessandro Del Vecchio have a melodic rock vibe, and stand out next to the pure blistering metal of songs like “Cyborg” (the album’s low point) and the title track. It goes back and forth like that throughout the album, and in the end it doesn’t feel like the album has a cohesive theme or overall style. Guitar wizardry and killer vocal performances (and there are some good ones here) aside, Channeling the Infinite just doesn’t wow the way Reborn in Fire did.
The album closes with a pair of alternate versions added as bonus tracks. The first is an “all star” version of “Hammer Down” that features Udo Dirkschneider, Rob Rock, Sean Peck, Carlos Zema, Vo Simpson and Ronny Munroe, and the second is a version of “Born a King” sung by Sean Peck. The bonus version of “Hammer Down” is the album’s best moment, as it brings together several great singers on a song that’s just 100% metal.
If you’re already an Empires of Eden fan, by all means pick up a copy of Channeling the Infinite. It’s not perfect, but there’s still more than enough to enjoy. If you’re new to the band, Reborn in Fire is probably a better starting point. Channeling the Infinite is still an album you’ll want to hear if you’re a fan of any (or all) of the vocalists involved.
Genre: Melodic Metal, Power Metal
Stu Marshall (g) (b)
Jason Manewell (d)
1. Cry Out (featuring Rob Rock)
2. Hammer Down (featuring Udo Dirkschneider)
3. This Time (featuring Steve Grimmett)
4. Channeling the Infinite (featuring Sean Peck)
5. Lions for Lambs (featuring Alessandro Del Vecchio)
6. Cyborg (featuring Carlos Zema)
7. World on Fire (featuring Louie Gorgievski)
8. Your Eyes (featuring Mike Dimeo)
9. Born a King (featuring Danny Cecati)
10. As Flames Scorch the Ground (featuring Vo Simpson)
11. White Wings (featuring Ronny Munroe)
12. Hammer Down All Star Version
13. Born a King (featuring Sean Peck)
Label: Music Buy Mail
Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5/10