The strong and positive word about UK metal/rock band Eden Wakes inspired some eager anticipation for their debut album but it did not prevent total surprise at the unexpected sound that flew from the tracks that make up Darkest Before The Dawn. The first ‘meeting’ with any band is a surprise to some extent and with the Manchester quartet it was certainly wrong footing, the album taking a while to immerse into before the awareness of what a distinct and darkly engaging release it truly was sunk in. As a fan of music and artists that use discordancy as a tool and weapon it was a little strange that it did take a while to get the ear attuned to the creativity the band produce but once hooked there was no escape. With a sound that is hard to fully pin down in description and influences there is a down turned vibrancy to Eden Wakes that is as hypnotic as it is challenging.
Formed in late 2008 by twin sisters Jane Hebenton (lead guitar) and Helen Hebenton (bass) with close friends Mark Holden (vocals & guitar) and Tom Buxton (drums & vocals), Eden Wakes have created a sound that is best described as Deftones meets The Fall with early Misfits filtered through the punk of The Damned and Hagfish. With added diversions only the likes of Pixies and Swell Maps could come up with this mix gives you an idea of the vicinity the music the four piece produce hangs in. For many the album may need a practice run first just to get a feel of its different flavours before then sitting down to properly focus on and ultimately appreciate its impressive elements. Primarily it is the vocal/music ‘conflict’ that throws the ear and thoughts at first an intriguing as at times it is almost as if Holden is going down a different road to the music within songs but once the ear warms up to this it is a very hypnotic and unique aspect that becomes one of the biggest positives. Over the years many bands have tried this approach but not many take it this far or as successfully. If it is a natural occurrence or planned only the band knows but it works a treat giving something new and exciting to the sounds. For some it may not ever sound right but for those it does it is a thrill alongside the well thought out and delivered rock, metal and punk sounds the band grace each song with.
Darkest Before The Dawn starts off strongly but as it progresses it gets immensely better and better. The opening duo of tracks in ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’ and ‘Hide & Seek’ open up the ears and senses firmly with a great mix of rock and metal sounds fused with punk energy, the guitars of Holden and Jane Hebenton at ease in melodic sensitive parts as they are thrashing out riffs whilst the rhythms from Buxton and pulsating bass tones of Helen Hebenton reach deep and forcibly. As the album moves through its songs it is as if the band‘s confidence and belief increases and by the time the excellent ‘Faust Macabre’ and the brilliant ’Fall Before Vermillion’ unveil their glory near the albums end, the band is on a different plateau. The first of these two is marked by scorching scything guitar riffs that brand the soul, their discordant strikes intrusive in contrast to the melodic play surrounding them, whilst the latter ripples with 70’s gothic punk sounds to stoke up the pulse.
Released via Rising Records Darkest Before The Dawn is a true gem, yes it needs a little bit of focus at first but once it reveals it’s wonderfully disjointed but mesmeric charms there is no going back to plain formula sounds again. Upon the album Eden Wakes, despite its impressive and great satisfaction giving sounds, still give the impression that they are a release or two away from finding their truly distinctive and glorious sound which makes the anticipation of what is ahead, listening to this stunning release, very exciting indeed.