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Album Review : Exit Eden: Femmes Fatales

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Review by Pete Finn for MPM

Exit Eden is a powerful Symphonic metal supergroup that emerged onto the music scene in 2017, captivating listeners with their unique blend of metal and pop.

The band consisted of four talented and diverse vocalists, Clémentine Delauney (Visions of Atlantis), Marina La Torraca (Phantom Elite), Anna Brunner (League of Distortion) and Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Alice Cooper, Epica) who bring their own exceptional styles and experiences to the table.

Exit Eden quickly garnered attention with their cover renditions of iconic pop songs, transforming them into epic symphonic metal masterpieces. In the same year of their formation, the group released their debut album, ‘Rhapsodies in Black’, which featured thrilling covers of popular hits.

Exit Eden has continued to captivate audiences with their unique interpretations, leaving an indelible mark on the metal and pop music landscapes. During 2023 Amanda Somerville left the band so she could spend more time with her family.

‘Femmes Fatales’ is Exit Eden’s second album and is an intriguing cocktail of original material (written by Anna Brunner and Hannes Braun) and classic 80’s covers. ‘Femmes Fatales’ contains 12-tracks with a running time of a little over 56-minutes and is set for release on January 12, 2024 via Napalm Records.

The opener is ‘Femme Fatale’, this sets the theme for the album, Delauney, La Torraca and Brunner’s dynamic vocals are seamless in their delivery. The band supporting with a full sound, there’s a rip-roaring lead solo thrown in too, as a crunching riff leads to the outro which includes a sultry French spoken part.

The first cover on the album is the Pet Shop Boys 1987 chart smash hit, ‘It’s a Sin’. A church like beginning is followed by a drum-roll, then there is no doubt which track is being covered, it’s quick and upbeat infused with harmonies, electronica and some piercing vocals. It’s full of energy, you can imagine the smiles amongst the band as they recorded it.

The folksy ‘Run!’ featuring the vocals of ex-Nightwish member Marko Hietala is next. This was the first single released from the album. The soaring lyrics are entwined with a Celtic/Viking soundtrack. A chugging riff in the background is carrying the balanced vocal sounds of the singers.

A rendition of Journeys 1983 release ‘Separate Ways’ follows on, it’s Exit Eden’s most recent single. From the off the atmosphere builds, a hard riff and steady beat. It’s dramatic and passionate, the almost chanted lyrics have a slightly haunting feel. The band get to express themselves and it sounds rich and full. A big sound for a big classic cover.

Now, it’s the Exit Eden penned ‘Buried in the Past’, the galloping pace starts and continues throughout. The vocals are crystal clear and full of passion. The drum-beats alternating perfectly with the lyrics, the mid-track lead solo has a real 80’s Power Ballard vibe. I can see this being a popular live track.

‘Désenchantée’ is a song originally recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer, who released it in 1991. It’s a real treat to hear Clémentine Delauney belt this out in her native language. The sound is all encompassing, it wraps around you. The vocal harmonies add a little bite to the orchestral backdrop.

Another track from Exit Eden is ‘Dying in my Dreams’, co-written by Marina La Torraca, this is a bit slower and moody. The delicate piano is holding it’s own against a hard and heavy beat, a clever contrast. The guitars are given free reign and are enjoying it. The blended vocal eases the track to a close, before the piano sees it across the line.

The iconic Alice Cooper 1989 monster, ‘Poison’, is next for the Exit Eden treatment. In my opinion this is a brave choice, but I see that the lyrics are suitable to the ‘Femmes Fatales’ album theme. The slow and smoky vocal adds respect without imitation, it’s a bit more up-tempo than the original, more pop than rock. A different, but creditable version.

The classics keep coming with Heart’s 1987 anthem ‘Alone’. This track is perfect for the triple pronged vocal attack, akin to Poseidon’s Trident striking rock to produce water, powerful with instant reward. The vocal exchanges and support from the band, produce arguably the best cover on the album, full of admiration for the original but with Exit Eden carved all over it.

‘Hold Back Your Fear’ sees the album flip back to an original Exit Eden composition. The careful and considerate vocal starts the track, a volley of drums and a keyboard assault picks up the tempo, chanted lyrics and punchy riff give a cinematic feel, a racing beat and guitar solo lead to a calm spoken section, then it’s a “foot to the floor” finish.

Released in 1985 ‘Kayleigh’ reached number-two in the UK charts for Marillion, their most successful single. Exit Eden give the track an aggressive start that grabs the attention, before calming down and delivering a controlled vocal, overlapping harmonies and precision guitars, the double tapped drum-beats add spice.

‘Elysium’ is probably the track that stands-out for being a little bit different. This is partly calmer and more reflective than the rest, maybe implying the direction of album number-three. The vocal is controlled and pin-point in it’s accuracy. Searing guitars carry the vocals to another level. The track oozes emotion. A quick look in a dictionary finds; “Elysium, was the home of the blessed after death, the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the pure.” So, it’s easy to see how the word came to mean any place or state of bliss or delight. A suitable way to close the album.

The Symphonic Metal scene is something I’ve never personally followed. I’ve seen some of the bands live and heard many tracks. Some are powerful mesmerising pieces; others sound like a drunk jazz band tuning up. Exit Eden’s ‘Femmes Fatales’ falls very much into the first category, it’s also a very clever way of releasing an album, with a 50/50 split of covers and original material.

Anyone who is unsure if Symphonic Metal is for them, should get a copy of ‘Femmes Fatales’ and you’ll soon be converted, and to anyone who is a fan, ‘Femmes Fatales’ is a worthy addition to your collection. The ingenious interpretation of classic covers, the striking vocals, the talented musicians and quality production have created a very potent album.

Femmes Fatales tracklisting:     
1    Femme Fatale           
2    It’s a Sin       
3    Run! (feat. Marko Hietala)   
4    Separate Ways         
5    Buried in the Past    
6    Désenchantée           
7    Dying in my Dreams
8    Poison          
9    Alone            
10  Hold Back Your Fear
11  Kayleigh       
12  Elysium        

Femmes Fatales will be available in the following formats:       
1-LP Gatefold MARBLED RED/BLACK – ltd. to 300 copies worldwide      
1-LP Gatefold BLACK    
1-CD 48pages Earbook – ltd. to 300 copies worldwide   
1-CD 6p Digipak             
Bundle 1-CDs DGS + Shirt           
Digital Album

EXIT EDEN are:
Clémentine Delauney
Anna Brunner
Marina La Torraca

EXIT EDEN online:
Website
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Instagram
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Napalm Records

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