The first time I popped in this disc by Eden called Fan the Flame, I was quite shocked. The band plays classic '80's melodic metal with the big vocals, guitar solos, memorable choruses, and some of those butt-ugly shirts and vests that bands of those days used to wear. Not to mention the hideous permed hair that most likely contained more hair spray than your local hair salon. Anyways...I was thinking to myself, okay the date on the back says 2003 and yet the band looks like they are from the '80's, and this stuff sounds like it was recorded in the '80's. Occasionally, you'll hear of a band that plays '80's metal, but truthfully 99.9% of them mix in modern influences to water down their sound. This band sounded pretty authentic, so I was quite impressed. Well, I finally figured it out when I opened up the CD booklet and saw that the album was recorded in 1994. Ok, that explains a bunch right there. I later found out that Eden had been around since the late '80's and this is disc that they released independently back in the early 90's that never really got good distribution. Thanks to Retroactive Records, this album is finally allowed to see the light of day in the way it should've been given the opportunity almost a decade ago.
If this disc was released when it was originally recorded it probably wouldn't have done too good since hair metal was already an overdone thing and bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Guns-n-Roses ruled the airways. If they could've gotten this disc out in the late '80's it would probably be considered a classic of Christian metal, but only now are most metalheads getting a chance to hear this.
The band is actually quite talented. The guitar work gets a lot of help from Rex Carroll of Whitecross fame so obviously the Whitecross influence is there, minus Scott Wenzel's whiny/raspy vocals. Actually, some of the riffs sound pretty similar to some of the stuff I remember hearing back in Whitecross' early days.
Vocally, Joe Dokken does a good job. This guy has a pretty good set of lungs on him and often shows a little attitude in the vocals so as not to bore us with all "pretty" vocals. The band supplies every song with the kind of choruses that will have you singing them for weeks, even if you didn't like the song. They also follow the '80's trend of simple, cliche lyrics that have been run in the ground by hundreds of bands. The lyrics do have a decidedly Christian slant though that show that the band is not ashamed of what they stand for.
Production is crisp and clear and allows the listener to crank it loud. However, you may want to hide the album artwork cause it's very lame. Guess, you can't always expect much from a re-release on a small label. Overall though, if you are still a fan of '80's hair metal and dig anything Rex Carroll has been involved in, I'd definitely recommend picking this up. Not something I'd listen to everyday, but it's been a fun blast from the past. (Review by Matt)