"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Exit Eden - "Rhapsodies in Black" (CD)

Exit Eden - "Rhapsodies in Black" CD cover image

"Rhapsodies in Black" track listing:

1. Question Of Time
2. Unfaithful
3. Incomplete
4. Impossible
5. Frozen
6. Heaven
7. Firework
8. Skyfall
9. Total Eclipse
10. Paparazzi
11. Fade To Grey

Reviewed by on August 3, 2017

"Beyond the appeal of hearing non-metal songs be expertly transformed into symphonic metal entries, “Rhapsodies In Black” honestly just works as an album on its own."

Underground metal might have a foundation in corpse paint-wearing groups that are taking themselves very seriously, but from Children Of Bodom to Graveworm, more than a few bands along the way have let loose with metallic renditions of mainstream pop and rock tunes.

Some of those re-imaginings have actually turned out as good or better than the originals - Xandria's “I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)” is absurdly epic – and now joining those ranks is newly formed project Exit Eden, which slaps a metallic coat of paint on 11 different tracks from a very different corner of the musicverse.

Featuring members of Avantasia, Trilium, and Visions Of Atlantis, the band is composed of four ladies giving the symphonic metal treatment to pop and rock songs running the gamut from Madonna's “Frozen” to Depeche Mode's “Question Of Time” all the way to Bonnie Tyler's classic “Total Eclipse.” Each song is taken a deeply operatic direction, with just enough darkness thrown in to change the tone. Exit Eden's version of Rihanna track “Unfaithful” for instance uses bellowing string instruments for a heavier vibe.

Beyond the appeal of hearing non-metal songs be expertly transformed into symphonic metal entries, “Rhapsodies In Black” honestly just works as an album on its own. As someone who doesn't particularly follow modern pop or R&B, I have to admit I actually didn't realize this was a covers album until the fifth track. After getting a good laugh over that shocking revelation, I returned to listen again and realized I still enjoyed the whole album beginning to end.

Both music-wise and on the vocal front, “Rhapsodies In Black” is easily on par with anything from the top tier of symphonic metal from Revamp to Epica and beyond. Sadly there aren't any harsh vocals at all, but plenty of dark atmosphere is worked into the tracks anyway, so if you've been a fan of Within Temptation, Serenity, etc. do yourself a favor and check out this intriguing covers project.

Highs: The album works as a symphonic metal entry and it works as a cover album.

Lows: Some harsh vocals would be welcome, and obviously if you can't stand the notion of pop invading metal you can go ahead and stay far away

Bottom line: Did you know Madonna could be heavy as hell? Now you do.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)