When you find an American metal band that doesn't do the latest trends of death metal, melodic or otherwise, metalcore, deathcore, hardcore metal, or some other such 'core' nonsense, you must sit up, take notice, and listen. Images of Eden is such a band, offering strong (American) progressive metal. Oh yeah, they're local boys based out of Red Lion, York County, Pennsylvania about 45 minutes from Dangerdog HQ. Rebuilding the Ruins is their third full-length release, the first since 2006's Sunlight of the Spirit.
After just a single spin, it's clear that five years is too long to wait to hear from Images of Eden. Rebuilding the Ruins rivals their American brethren like Dream Theater or Symphony X, but also their kin across the Atlantic, where melodic progressive metal has never waned.
Rebuilding the Ruins displays a more mature Images of Eden. The song craftsmanship is superb, equally entertaining as it can be complex. Witness Human Angels or The Sunlight of the Spirit Part IV which closes the album. IOE can develop a song on a foundation of heaviness and deliberate riffs as found on the title track; it pummels with a metal spirit. Sometimes Images of Eden envelopes the progressive with the vigor of power metal as on Crosses in the Sand. Later, My Stigmata intrigues by combining heaviness with the melodic and symphonic.
Clearly, besides the fine song craftsmanship and musicianship, one of IOE's additional strengths is lyrical depth. When's the last time you heard a song based on the poetry T.S. Eliot? Native of this Land was formed from a snippet of the Eliot poem Little Gidding. I can't say its a favorite track, but it's quite a proficient display of what makes progressive music viable.
For pure progressive metal from an American band, Images of Eden's Rebuilding the Ruins casts them into the category of 'a band to be reckoned with' in the present, and future, for that matter. The only drawback (possibly) to this album is its length: there's quite a bit to absorb here. Thankfully, it's all better than average to excellent. I'm just wondering if Images of Eden should not have saved some for the next album. Just a thought, and them maybe we wouldn't have to wait so long for that next Images of Eden tour de force.
For pure progressive metal from an American band, Images of Eden's Rebuilding the Ruins casts them into the category of 'a band to be reckoned with' in the present, and future, for that matter.