Edge of Thorns - Insomnia

Edge of Thorns Insomnia cover
Edge of Thorns
Insomnia
Killer Metal Records
2014
6.5
Edge of Thorns are a German band that has been a going concern for almost some 20 years now (in two years anyway). “Insomnia” is their third release, after many trials and tribulations but they seem unwilling to give up and they keep pumping out, metal, in a way that’s not to dissimilar to their compatriots Rage and Gamma Ray. Their singer Dirk “Duke” Schmitt has this gravelly voice, that’s slightly reminiscent of Udo with a cold, or more latter day Udo, after he lost his edge, which ain’t too bad I suppose as it sort of bodes well with the style of music that the rest of the band goes for. The dual guitars handled by Dave Brixius & Jani Nackel, tend to come up with really nifty ideas both in the riff and lead department and rarely stop churning out catchy parts and Oliver Bruck and Johannes Schutz on bass and drums respectively create a rather tight rhythm section that completes the band ideally.
 
After the rather psychotic but short spoken intro “In Your Dreams”
 
“Dark Side of Your Life” enters with a very tasty riff and vitriolic vocals only to drop a very smart and likeable chorus, very soon. Sounds a lot like something UDO could have done. Groovy! Nice short leads too that pan from left to right… only to center and reprise the chorus. Playful Stuff!
 
“Yearning Has Begun” opens with a nice lead and just drops it’s impressive chorus straight away, which is kinda, “different” I suppose, to open with the chorus and then to have the first verse and then more leads and so on and so forth! It’s another nice song…
 
The title track, “Insomnia” begins with some wild guitar noodling, that gets quickly doubled and then plastered all over by double bass drums, before a dominating d tuned riff takes over. This is a somewhat different approach, I suppose... then comes a very melodic, but rather underwhelming “chorus” and then the anger rises again and the motif is repeated once more. A rather interesting solo occurs and the song reprises similarly. Interesting, but imperfect.
 
“Metal Unity” obviously is one of those “hymnals” to metal… and features ex-Gamma Ray, Primal Fear singer Ralph Scheepers, who they have somehow managed to mix in a rather unorthodox way, quite low, as he sounds OK, but as if he’s singing from a great distance or like there’s some obstruction in front of his microphone. I mean, if you have a guest, you obviously want him to be “audible” don’t you? It's a rather OK song, compared to all these, cringeworthy – raise your fist for metal – chest hair pulling epics! Hahaha...
 
The band seems to be attempting an opening to the Swiss Market – smart move – those guys are loaded – by writing a tune entitled “The Watchmaker” (even smarter move – them watchmakers are even more loaded – imagine getting an endorsement by a Swiss watchmaker, if you do I want a promo) Besides the silly jokes, this is a slower and more intricate number, (just like a Swiss watch (haha) that is quite interesting and only suffers in the chorus department.
 
Next up is the slower and more atmospheric “A Caress of Souls” that is based on a biting riff and a nice rhythm and comes complete with a sing-along part as well. It has a nice lead, but maybe it goes on for a bit too long, at way over seven minutes... without any particularly good reason.
 
“Walking like a Ghost” is another pretty good number that just falls short in the chorus, where it almost nails it, but narrowly misses the boat.
 
“Death Dealer” begins very promisingly with some very intricate guitar interplay and the “Duke” in high spirits... and is somewhat of a highlight for the second part of the album….
 
“Hearts That Burn” is another song that manages to be a generally good by overall passable moment.
 
“The Seven Sins of Arthur McGregor” seems to be conceptual but I haven’t got the slightest clue what it might be about. It manages however to convey a sick atmosphere and is pretty interesting managing to make the seven minutes of its duration pass without much notice.
 
Last but not least “Is This the Way It Ends” is an acoustic ballad that the “Duke” sings in a “clean” voice, that it’s actually not so bad. He’s got a bit of a slight accent, or high twang, but not to the point of becoming annoying. I suppose, it’s something that a lot of Germans tend to have when they speak English, it must have to do with the way they pronounce vowels. It’s nice overall.
 
“Insomnia”, is a nice album, certainly worth exploring, as well as the band “Edge of Thorns”, that I might have seen once before, but I didn’t have a chance to listen to previously. They are quite a decent bunch certainly worth your attention if you like old school teutonic power/heavy metal in the vein of Gamma Ray and a more tame latter day Rage and the likes.