2003 Retroactive Records) review by Ian Keith Hafner
The last five years have been more than good to the Metal sceneâ€”weâ€™ve seen reunions by the likes of Stryper, Saint, Shout, and Whitecross. And weâ€™ve seen â€œ80â€™s Metal Retro Nightâ€ at Cornerstone Festival. Secular bands like Kiss, Poison, Warrant, and Ratt have been touring successfully. Sorry, gen-xers, but Metal is alive and kicking!
So itâ€™s no wonder that many metal bands from 10 or more years ago are dusting off their Jacksons and joining the resurging Metal sceneâ€”and Eden is no exception. When I first heard the buzz about Fan the Flame, I had no idea who Eden was, or where this record came from.
Everyoneâ€™s heard the stories of bands who disappeared just as they were about to explode (Rage of Angels, anyone?)â€”this was almost the case with Eden. Actually, Eden was never given a fair chance, as this gem, recorded in 1994, never saw the light of day until its 2003 release on Retroactive Records.
Fan The Flame is pure metal start to finish, complete with the stellar vocals of singer Joe Dokken (apparently no relation to Don Dokken) and blazing guitars, compliments of Whitecrossâ€™s Rex Carroll. My first listen left me speechless, and wondering â€œWhere have these guys been, and why was this record never released?!?â€
The record kicks off with the hook-laden â€œNeed Somebody.â€ In less than thirty seconds, Eden comes out with both guns blazing, flaunting one critical element that many Christian metal bands lack: a heavy dose of attitude. Dokkenâ€™s passionate vocals convey a heart wrenching emotion as he sings, â€œyou chose to close the door/and that's what tears are for/and soon the world goes on without me.â€ Rex Carrollâ€™s heavy riffing is reminiscent of Ratt, Firehouse, and Whitecross.
Track two, â€œShow Me,â€ takes the band into major key, with a Van Halen (Roth era) style hard rock platter. Again, Dokkenâ€™s vocal shine. This is pure L.A. metal through and through.
At the core of Fan The Flame is great songwriting (another element too often missing from Christian Metal). The title track is evidenceâ€”full of melody and a hook youâ€™ll be humming for the rest of the day, plus Bon Jovi-power-ballad-styled-vocals, and topped off with a Stryper-style harmony guitar soloâ€”one canâ€™t help but think that this could have been a major hit if only given the chance.
Other standouts on Fan The Flame are the heavy â€œMorning Star,â€ â€œForgotten Child,â€ â€œGive Me A Reason,â€ and â€œLove Rolls On.â€ Actually, the whole disc rips!
And one of the best things about Eden is that they don't sound like â€œso and so.â€ Sure, you can hear influences from different bands (as mentioned, Ratt, Stryper, Whitecross, Bon Jovi), but Eden are no copycat band. Joe Dokkenâ€™s vocals set this band apart from the rest of the pack, and Eden has a sound all their own.
For more info on Eden and Joe Dokken, visit www.dokkenseden.com
Kickass!!! Can this be said of a Christian band? Absolutely! Eden are a heavy metal throwback to the glory days of Ratt, Whitecross and especially Dokken. The funny thing is, the singer's name is Joe Dokken. Whether that be his real name or not, I do not know. Also, while the band's personnel is listed as: Mark Villareal Guitar, Curt Anderson Guitar, Joe Dokken Vocals, Dave Cotteleer Bass and Dave Tanis Drums, it is actually Rex Carroll (or Whitecross fame) who performs most of the guitar work here. Personalities aside, the music here is pretty solid; the music is well written, the hooks are meaty, the guitarwork is outstanding, and the production is good. Had songs like "Need Somebody" and "Show Me" been released in 1984 instead of 1994 these guys may have ruled the world. I suppose some will criticise saying that this band is playing an outdated style of music. However, any true fan of the music knows that good music is timeless and there is certainly nothing wrong with playing the music you love, rather than trying to "stay current" or trying to "be the next big thing". With that in mind, "Fan the Flame" is a solid CD. My particular copy is the 2004 Retroactive re-release.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Need Somebody
2. Show Me
3. Morning Star
4. Fan the Flame
5. Tomorrows Yesterday
6. Forgotten Child
7. Give Me a Reason
8. Its a Shame
9. Back to the Garden
10. Love Rolls On