Images of Eden
Rebuilding the Ruins
Review by Mark Johnson
Images of Eden is a hard rock, heavy metal and progressive band founded in 1999 in the Baltimore, Maryland and York, Pennsylvania area of the USA. The band is lead by vocalist, rhythm and bass guitarist, and songwriter, Gordon Tittsworth, and includes; Dennis Mullen, lead guitar, L. Dean Harris, piano and keyboards, and Chris Lucci, drums and percussion. This album also includes guest musicians, Jackie Joyce, on vocals for “My Stigmata,” and Bryan Wierman, on bass guitar for “Crossed in the Sand” and “Tribal Scars.” Rebuilding the Ruins is the fourth album from Images of Eden and it tells an “ongoing story, portraying the journey through life, told in a very positive/ uplifting way.” Each of the band’s three previous albums are part of the same story, and this album picks up where Sunlight of the Spirit left off.
This is an interesting story and album from a band that sounds original despite its obvious comparisons in sound to heavy prog bands like Dream Theater. The four album epic they have created gets a great boost from this chapter of the story.
|Track by Track Review
|Crossed in the Sand|
Sound effects and keys open “Crossed in the Sand.” The sound of seagulls provides one last moment of quiet, before the pounding drums and launching guitars take off. A Dream Theater-like drum and guitar sequence begins to take over the melody as we hear Gordon Tittsworth’s first vocals, “When we look at where we are / We’re sinking fast between the ocean and the sand.” The drums are perfectly matched with those grinding guitars, creating a dark atmosphere from which to draw the opening lines of this continuing journey and story of change. “Forgive yourself today / let’s embrace tomorrow hand in hand.” The power drum and guitar solo that follows will rock you. A little over six minutes into the album, you are already getting cool vibes about this disc.
A short drum salute opens “Human Angels,” before heavy bass and guitar roar in. Tittsworth is back, with the vocal, “Meditating in the morning / Rain in the center of the storm / Safe and sound at the beginning of our new world.” There is a definite Dream Theater influence to this song, but at the same time, Tittsworth’s vocals bring their own originality to the sound. Those echoing screams of vocals bring back memories of James LaBrie, but without the high notes.
Blasting drums and excellent lead guitars get “Tribal Scars,” a tribute to America’s troops in the field, off to a great start. The video to support the single includes an opening credit declaring that the filming was done on September 11, 2010 in honor of the troops. This is a powerful song full of strong emotional lyrics and punctuated well by heavy drums and an excellent bass solo by guest bassist, Bryan Wierman. The keyboards take a little off the thud in the drums, but the guitars more than make up for it.
This time soft bass opens “Dreams Unbroken.” “It seems like forever since I last heard your voice / And I prayed the silence would end.” Good, slow, clean vocals which are joined by lead electric guitar with the solid drums following close behind. The keyboards add a softer side to this song and give the ears a break between rockers.
“She dreams of visions that come to be /She hears the voices of pending reality,” opens “Sorrow’s End,” after a fast drum, electric and bass guitar opening. This song has a constant power drum beat with accompanying bass matched with those grinding guitars and cymbals. Again, the bass work on the middle section of the song is phenomenal. The lead guitar solos are just as good, as they climb and soar just past the three-and-a-half minute mark of the song.
|Rebuilding the Ruins|
The title track opens with dramatic spoken word and heavy, dark bass and guitars supported with those pounding drums. This is one of the heaviest songs on the album.
Racing guitars, drums and cymbals get “My Stigmata” off to another fast opening. This one charges ahead with darker vocals that fit well with the power bass, drums and heavy lead guitars which surround the sound on this song. As the story in this cut carries on, the darkness drifts away, as a conversation between man and angels opens with soft piano. This second half takes the edge off the heavier side. The lead guitars and drums continue their role throughout this conversation and the pace does pick up as the conversation nears a close.
|Native to His Land|
The best synths and keys on the album open “Native to His Land.” An almost choir–like sound regally opens this track before the lead guitars and drums return. The wave-like motion of the rhythm gives the album another great change in sound.
|Children of Autumn|
Beautiful piano gives “Children of Autumn,” yet another new sound. “Are we so tired that we refuse to run the course? / And are we so blind that we forget what is in our hearts?” The dramatic opening to this number makes it the best tune on the album for me. The lyrics are good too, “We cannot bring back what is gone / But we can save all that remains.” The lead electric solo near the four-minute mark of the song is very cool. Regal synths pick up where the lead guitar left off creating one of the best musical sequences on the album.
|On Elevated Ground|
“On Elevated Ground” opens like a continuation of the pounding drums and guitar that might awake a lead guitarist from a dream. “Through Utopian skies we pray / Over the cloudscape above the rain / We can watch the world from miles away.”
|Sunlight of the Spirit – Pt. IV – IV – Images of Eden|
Grinding guitars and power drums are back for the closer. The synths are playing at a “no holds barred” pace as the whole soundscape moves at the speed of light. The bass, screaming guitars and drums are rumbling at a break neck pace. Then, there is a nearly-full-stop, as the keyboards take over for a tranquil moment, before the pace quickens again. The lead electric and bass solos near the finale are some of the best on the album. The closing set of drums echo like thunder. This twelve-minute-plus epic closes with some of the best lines of the story, which capture the power well, “Here I am standing tall / Reaching for the clouds, staring at the sky / I have spread my wings ready to fly / With my very last breath of life I cry...’KINGDOM OF FOREVER, NOW I'M COMING HOME.’”
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