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New Eden - "Obscure Master Plan" (CD)

New Eden - "Obscure Master Plan" CD cover image

"Obscure Master Plan" track listing:

1. The Promise
2. Evil Logic
3. I Am
4. Dance Of The Dead
5. Demons Of Earth
6. Epitaph
7. Flicker Of Faith
8. Shades Of You
9. Sorrows
10. Land Of Filth And Money

Reviewed by on September 7, 2009

"Vocalist Tony Devita has the clean, soaring approach of many power metal singers, but who he really reminds me of is ex-Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna in many ways."

New Eden wasn't kidding around when they named their sophomore album. "Obscure Master Plan" is one of those albums that takes a few listens to get.

Especially for a power metal release, the riffs seemed awfully sloppy. "The Promise," for example, begins with calm melody, but seems to lurch off in several directions within the space of seconds, with guitarist Horacio Comenares finally returning to melodic form for the shred at the end. It took several listens to figure out that what sounded sloppy was actually quite intricately plotted out. It's the old Led Zeppelin credo of "tight-but-loose" in action.

Colmenares, who used to play in Steel Prophet, and fellow guitarist Oscar Gomez, do their best work on the disc's second track, "Evil Logic," which utilizes the twin-guitar attack well.

I also enjoy the fact that, where much power metal has a sense of lightness about it, New Eden goes for a heavy, almost thrashy approach to the intros of "Demons Of Earth" and "Epitaph," and the subject matter of both is quite a bit darker than your average swords and sorcery power metal fare.

Vocalist Tony Devita has the clean, soaring approach of many power metal singers, but who he really reminds me of is ex-Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna in many ways.

If the band, as it existed in 1999 when this album was recorded (only Colmenares remains now) had one weak link, it was drummer Michael O. Echeveria. Songs like "Epitaph" and "Flicker Of Faith" really suffer from his overly simple approach, which tends to make the songs sound slower than they really are.

On this disc, Colmenares also handled the bass parts, and he's competent enough. The intro to "The Promise" has an interesting bass line that combines with the clean electric guitars well. That said, the bass is mixed a bit low for my taste.

"Obscure Master Plan," as I noted earlier, was originally released in 1999, but is currently in re-release, thanks to Metal Mind Productions, under license from Nuclear Blast. The re-release is limited to 2,000 copies, so if you're interested, you'd probably better grab it up quick.

It took a while to grow on me, but "Obscure Master Plan" won me over — despite its decidedly sub par drumming — with its superb guitar work and vocals.

Highs: Superb dual guitar work on "Evil Logic," the dark "Epitaph," and "Demons Of Earth."

Lows: Sub par drumming mars most tracks, bass is mixed too low.

Bottom line: An okay addition to the power metal canon, but one that suffers from overly simple drumming.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)