Social Fake by Winter in EdenRelease date: April 8, 2022
Label: Firestreak Media
The symphonic metal scene has made an impression on me 12 years ago after hearing bands such as Epica, Delain, Amberian Dawn, and Within Temptation. And the female vocals from them have stronger arrangements, vibes, and attitude that is like an erupting volcano waiting to explode at any second.
Why do you think that during my time in College I went to buy the albums from The Laser’s Edge website and finding some of that amazing music that the so-called mainstream radio stations wouldn’t play? Because you have to find it online. Not on social media, but watching and listening to those bands on YouTube that have a strong essence of real good music.
Now in 2022, I delved back into the pools of the female symphonic metal scene once more as the circle for me has come in full. One of them is a band from Newcastle upon Tyne with a cinematic approach. That band is Winter in Eden.
Formed in 2007 and taken their name from the 1986 sci-fi novel which was a part of Harry Harrison’s Eden trilogy, Winter in Eden have taken the genres of both prog and symphonic metal with an aggressive sound that hits your heart so hard, that it won’t stop beating.
They have released three studio albums (Awakening, Echoes of Betrayal, and Court of Conscience) and that was it. Until now. The band were working on their latest opus, Social Fake for a long period of time during the pandemic. And it’s like a flower ready to be bloomed.
The line-up consists of; Vicky Johnson on vocals, Benji Lynch on guitar, Ian Heddle on Bass, Steve Johnson on Keyboards, and Steve Hauxwell on Drums. With Social Fake, the quintet have brought in the power and passion inside those textures that the group have cooked themselves something delicious and bringing it to those yummy metal head customers that are in for a spicy treat.
‘Never Let Go’ features Lynch going through some powering riffs, climbing fret structures, and clock-ticking arrangements to give Vicky the strength she needs to hit those double-tracking vocals. Crossing over The Gentle Storm’s The Diary, Rush’s ‘Time Stand Still’ and the sounds of Edenbridge’s The Bonding, the band bring it all to reach the finish line.
The opening title-track has some sinister connotations to a full-scale war on how social media can take its toll on a celebrity, or a YouTube sensation who not only have fame, glory, and the money, but how it affects them by becoming the laughing stock and the trolls to have a field day with them.
It has some striking moog-like keyboard sections that Johnson does to create these terrifying sections for Benji and Hauxwell to come in and create these massive tidal wave structures to destroy the town.
The three-part suite ‘Critical Mass’ details the person’s struggle with P.T.S.D (post-traumatic stress disorder) on failing to save this little girl’s life. ‘Dear Diary’ has this double-tracking vocal of the ghostly figure of the young woman and the man’s voice who has failed his mission, but knowing that suicide is the only way out.
Elsewhere, the Oldfield-sque segment on ‘The Change’ is set in the midst of the hottest part of the jungle for the loss of the young girl as the lyrics resemble the textures from Sharon den Adel. The climatic third and final part ‘Rage’ becomes Lynch’s moment to shine.
He exhilarates his playing in the midsection by going back and forth to release all of the energy he has inside his heart. And for Devilfire vocalist Alex Cooper, he lends Vicky a helping hand by duetting together. It shows that Winter in Eden aren’t just a band, but a Metallic Band of Brothers who have each other’s back.
‘Smiling Assassin’ has this slithering spaghetti western atmosphere as Vicky transforms herself into the Daughter of Clint Eastwood’s character, the Man With No Name from the “Dollars” trilogy. In this parallel universe, she takes his place to finish where his father had left off after the events of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
There’s a bit of sadness and redemption in the Morricone-sque atmosphere between Hauxwell, Lynch, and Johnson by lending Vicky into a final showdown at the Sad Hill Cemetery. Social Fake showcases Winter in Eden at their finest. They have those cinematic approaches into tighter subplots that are well-structured and right on target.
While I’m very new to the band’s music, they walked on that tightrope very carefully and not to fall to their doom. And the crown jewel is epic, herculean, mind-boggling, and vigorous. And it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.