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Under Eden - "Phoenix On Frozen Wings" (CD/EP)

Under Eden - "Phoenix On Frozen Wings" CD/EP cover image

"Phoenix On Frozen Wings" track listing:

1. Serpent Birth (4:49)
2. Phoenix on Frozen Wings (4:11)
3. Future Devourer (3:40)
4. Seventh Night (5:11)
5. Most Low Gods (5:03)

Reviewed by on June 19, 2010

"Their latest EP, 'Phoenix On Frozen Wings,' is a short but sweet amalgamation of thrash groove and Swedish melodic flavor."

When most people think of melodic death metal, the first thing that comes to mind is Sweden. Indeed, the legends and innovators of the genre are from that region, but what most people overlook are the quality American melo-death bands. I think this is, in part, due to the fact that the majority of American metal bands that incorporate a melodic sound into their music typically delve into a very familiar and overused metalcore sound.

Such is not the case with Under Eden. Their latest EP, “Phoenix On Frozen Wings,” is a short but sweet amalgamation of thrash groove and Swedish melodic flavor. This band reminds me a lot of The Absence, another quality American melodic death metal group, but with much more melody. The skill set on display here is pretty impressive, making this brief listen a worthy one.

The biggest draw of this album definitely has to be the sheer variety of riffage that occurs throughout. While the thrash and melody are by all means present in one form or another from beginning to end, the band transitions between the two with such flow and ease that I barely even notice the change. They have also incorporated a bit of a blackened sound in places as well. While it doesn’t come out often, it’s a nice touch and isn’t overdone. Under Eden doesn’t do much to reinvent the melodic/thrash-y sound on “Phoenix With Frozen Wings.” But, you know what, that’s perfectly alright in my book. The playing is solid enough that they really don’t have to do much in the way of gimmicks or strange time signatures. The riffs are interesting and the solos are more than solid. This EP is simply a good dose of emotionally driven metal.

Another draw to “Phoenix With Frozen Wings” is the differentiation that goes on between songs. “Future Devourer” is much more thrash then the previous melody driven songs, but manages to get the melody in there without losing the breakneck thrashing feel. “Seventh Night” is probably the strongest song on the album. It comes at you at full speed and doesn’t sacrifice melody in the least. I probably could have done without the grungy clean vocals in the chorus, but it doesn’t ruin the song in the least. The only real issue I have with this album is that it could stand to be heavier in some places.

Overall, “Phoenix With Frozen Wings” is definitely an EP to check out for melo-death fans. While it’s short, Under Eden manages to bring it well together on a composition level. The album works very well as a whole and stays interesting the entire time. These guys may not hail from Gothenburg, but Under Eden is definitely a fearsome act in the melodic death metal genre. This EP displays this band’s talents aptly and is a solid listen from start to finish.

Highs: Solid melodic death metal that transitions to thrash and back with skill.

Lows: Some parts could be heavier.

Bottom line: A great EP by a solid American melo-death act.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)