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Prog Folk • Germany

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Eden biography
Founded in Eininghausen, Germany in 1977 - Disbanded in 1981

German outfit EDEN was founded in 1977, when three members of the "Freie christliche Jugendgemeinschaft" decided to form a band; one of the first christian progressive rock bands in Germany.

In the 5 years the band existed they were an active recording and live unit; with a plethora of people involved in the recording of the three albums they released.

The debut album "Erwartung" was issued in 1978, and the sophomore effort "Perelandra"; based on C. S. Lewis christian science fiction novel of the same name, was issued in 1980.

The third and last creation of Eden was their 1981 production "Heimkehr"; and in December the same year the band gave it's last public appearance.

A multitude of musicians was involved in Eden prior to folding, and the core members that were involved in all their recorded material were Michael Claren (bass, vocals, guitar), Anne Dierks (vocals), Michael Dierks (keyboards, vocals), Hans Fritzsch (guitars), Hans Müller (drums, percussion), Annette Schmalenbach (vocals), Dirk Schmalenbach (violin, acoustic guitar, sitar, keyboards percussion, vocals).

Dirk Smalenbach would later reappear in the one-off project Yavanna, who released an album in 1984.

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Buy EDEN Music

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EDEN discography

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EDEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.41 | 74 ratings
3.63 | 27 ratings
3.16 | 19 ratings

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EDEN Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars Taking in German symphonic band Eden's 1978 debut `Erwatung' for the first time without any prior knowledge of the group, listeners would instantly note how joyous and spirited the male/female vocals are throughout the entire LP. Research into the band reveals that the group were Christian, and suddenly that joyful and uplifting warmth that emanates from the voices suddenly makes perfect sense! `Erwatung' turns out to be a true symphonic gem, and a very rare example of a German album that actually shares many similarities to classic RPI/Italian prog works with its use of choral voices, flute and violin creating a rich orchestral-like grandness, perhaps with Latte e Miele, Celeste and Quella Vechia Locanda instantly coming to mind. It also reminds in parts the music of German acts such as Novalis, Eloy, Hoelderlin and Epidaurus, and the band offer lyrics based around biblical texts performed in their native language.

Several themes - some sprightly, others reflective - weave in and out of opener `Spätregen' by way of sparkling piano, humming Hammond organ, stirring violin, shimmering synths and a commanding dignified male vocal. Some flighty flute alongside peppy drumming and crisp electric guitar runs instantly calls to mind Camel and Asia Minor, and there's nicely darker wafting sax and heavier grooves in the final moments. Pretty acoustic guitar strums, breezy flute and delicate electric piano tiptoes drift among `Erwartung's sobering narrated passages that remind of Eloy's `Ocean' era, punctuated by incidental ripping electric guitar bursts and groaning sitar, and the most placid of builds from a soothing male and female choir take the piece into heavens of the grandest symphonic majesty. A shorter piece then wraps the first side, `Eden, teil I', with constantly reprising prancing violin, flute and electric piano themes dancing whimsically around alternating male and female verses and subtly grumbling bass.

The second part of `Eden, teil II' fades in to welcome the second side but takes a darker turn, where a narrated passage grows in manic intensity over eerie organ and stark clarinet, and devilish treated voices and brooding synths grow in menace between punchy urgent blasts. A sole female voice trills around sombre violin and heartfelt piano, and ultimately the piece lifts into a triumphant choral fanfare (and one fleeting little moment almost drifts into King Crimson's `In the Court of the Crimson King', keep a listen out for it!). `Ein Anderes Land' is the sixteen minute epic closer, full of plenty of cascading synth runs, an uptempo momentum, snarling heavy guitars and roaring sax. Portions led by male vocals and alternating dreamy and heavier guitars remind of Novalis, the spacey synths and starker female voices are similar to Epidaurus, and in addition to some flamenco-like acoustic guitar spots, there's brisk funky diversions and a classy assortment of swooning orchestration that careens through the entire piece. An extravagant array of choral voices are favoured over too many lengthy instrumental runs, and it culminates in a big fanfare finale.

Some may find `Erwatung' just a little too vocal heavy when it could have done with a few longer and more frequent purely instrumental sections, but it still remains an impeccable work. With not only a silken production and memorable instrumental themes but some of the loveliest singing to ever appear on a German prog-related disc, `Erwatung' is a symphonic classic, and one well in need of some new belated extra attention.

Five stars.

 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hailing from a community of young Christians, Eden jump started a mini-subgenre of Christian-oriented progressive rock that gained a brief burst of popularity in Germany and Switzerland at the time. The group have an extensive lineup which helps them attain a real big band sound, which adds a certain majesty to this Tull-influenced folky-prog album. Influences can be heard from the likes of Eloy and Anyone's Daughter, particularly when the vocals shift to a more narrative mode reminiscent of the storytelling of those two bands. A late flowering of progressive rock after the peak of the era's popularity which is by and large enjoyable.
 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars From it's powerful and clear opening notes the listener knows that it is in store for a well-recorded, well-constructed, well-performed album. Flutes, violins and synths play side-by side with classical sounding piano accompaniment and orchestra-sounding drums with a kind of RENAISSANCE Jon CAMP bass sound. The recording of the drums, mix and style of the bass, and the slightly treated vocals give a little bit of a dated feel to some of the music--not unlike some of CAMEL's albums from the 1970s--but the fullness and maturity of the sophisticated song constructs make this a deeply interesting and satisfying listen every time I put it on. There is always something new and beautiful to discover with each listen. All songs are wonderful but the side-long epic "Ein Anderes Land" (16:26) (10/10) is a special piece--with instrumental themes and a feel that would have fans of recent MOTORPSYCHO releases and old CAMEL feeling equally at home.

1. "Spatregen" (7:15) opens with a display of quite a diverse palette of sounds coming from a wide range of instruments--all in the course of the first two minutes. By the time the strong male vocal begins we are already feeling duly impressed with this prog rock band. When the song switches at 3:30 into a more dynamic instrumental section (over which the vocalist and his choral supporters eventually sing) I find myself quite reminded of CAMEL circa 1975. The rather wild final minute comes as quite a surprise with its soaring electric guitar and saxophone playing over the cowbell- and clavinet-driven fast paced music. Wow! (9/10)

2. "Erwartung" (6:48) opens with some gentle acoustic guitar picking with Mellotron accompaniment over which a young man speaks as if reading the Gospel from a lectern in the middle of a church. The switch to strong electric at 1:48 doesn't work for me but it is only for a very brief few seconds before it is as quickly gone. The ensuing soft section with sitar and choral singing feels half like Quebec's HARMONIUM at their best and half the cast of Hair! This section is followed by a pleasant soft rock section over which some very nice flute playing occurs. A brief pause is filled with a return to the HARMONIUM cinquième saisons sound and feel. Then chorale and acerbic electric guitar take turns with the lead before the song finally comes to end. (9/10)

3. "Eden Tell I" (4:40) reminds me of some of my favorite music from modern artists WOBBLER and CICCADA. A song that transcends its time and era. Great music (listen to that bass!), though the vocals perhaps weigh it down a bit. (10/10)

4. "Eden Tell II" (6:17) What happened to the amazing music that was so beautifully constructed for Part I? The band has devolved into some kind of preachy church theater--strangely using some melody lines straight out of KING CRIMSON's song "The Court of the Crimson King" from 4:32-4:38 and then ending with strains of THE MOODY BLUES "Nights in White Satin." Luckily, the song builds into quite a strong song--bolstered by both the nice piano and violin based middle section over which the lovely voice of an operatic soprano and then the incredible voice of the young man in the lead throughout the fifth minute (and half of the sixth). (9/10)

5. "Ein Anderes Land" (16:26) (10/10)

Even if this were not a folk-founded album, Erwartung is a definite masterpiece of progressive rock music--one that was a little late to the game, but, as the saying goes, better late than never! The Christian overtones and occasional Godspell-like church theatre sections are well-suited to this music without detracting from its progginess. Well made! Deserving of masterpiece status and far greater recognition than it currently receives!

 Perelandra by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.63 | 27 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1978/79 Eden toured around Germany to promote their debut album.They made a good deposit of money to build a small studio in Wiederhof and work on new material.Dirk Schmalenbach decided also to take the responsibilty of being the sound enginner on this effort.At one point his friend Martin Lueling visited him and proposed the reading of Irish writer's C.S. Lewis novel ''Perelandra'', a book split between religious themes and science fiction.Impressed by Lewis' writings Schmalenbach took the chance to write a concept album, which was recorded between November 79' and January 80' and released in 1980 on Lord Records.

While not surpassing the unmet inspiration of ''Erwartung'' by any means, ''Perelandra'' is another very solid album by Eden, the folky elements are rather limited in the exhibition on flutes, the sporadic acoustic lines and the discreet performances of Greek brothers Christos and Kiriakos Charapis on bouzouki with the band having taken a more clean symphonic direction with the standard Teutonic vibes in the keyboard parts and its spacious, floating themes.The music is dominated by layered synthesizers and grandiose guitars with the occasional rural injections, featuring also excellent German vocals in both male and female offerings, having a great balance between bombastic and laid-back textures and containing some beautiful keyboard-guitar interactions.The atmosphere is ethereal, pompous and dramatic with the typical sound of Symphonic Rock acts from Germany, delivering nice keyboard spaciness. storytelling moods and light Classical influences.They come even closer to ANYONE'S DAUGHTER with this work, although they sounded more personal than their heavily Genesis-influenced compatriots.It must be these Gospel-like polyphonic passages, that sets the group apart from other 80's German acts.But they can become pretty rich in sounds and sights throughout, propelled by the neurotic dual keyboard splashes, the lovely guitar moves and the popping folky colors, I can definitely hear still some of these elegant violin drives-strongly apparent on the debut- during the latter parts, but noone is credited to play these.

Among the very good albums of 80's Teutonic Prog.It doesn't sound as convincing as their flawless debut, but it sounds far better than most of the period symphonic albums of the time.Nice Symphonic Prog Rock, fairly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by nandprogger

5 stars Eden was a Christian band from Germany who made a sound between e and folk symphonic prog (see album "Perelandra"). This, in question seems to be a concept album, because its setting and was a surprise to me, size, its beauty. The flutes, with melodies of its own and the violins come as a further element of the piece, highlighting the synchrony among all. The mix between male and female vocals and the line that do are quite interesting. This album is calmer in the group, nothing too complex, but melodic and reflective. Eden is for me the best Christian band of prog rock.
 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Huge band and one of the first Christian rock groups from Germany.They were found in 1977 in Lüdenscheid, Nordrhein-Westfalen by three members of an organization called ''Christian Youth Association Free Community''.From their first moments EDEN tried to blend Christian-inspired lyrics with folk/rick and classical music,a fact clearly taped on their first LP ''Erwartung'' from 1978.

STYLE: Actually the album is closer to symphonic rock than folk/rock.Folk-tinged symphonic rock would be a good description.''Erwartung'' works as a concept album with a story starting from God's creation and Jesus' life and miracles and ends up to the resurrection and humanity's salvation.Lots of magnificent flute,violin and piano parts flirting both with folk and classical music.Lyrics are sung in German with male and female singers delivering great gospel-like choirs and multi-vocal sections.Electric guitars are also awesome sounding close to bands like ELOY and ANYONE'S DAUGHTER.''Erwartung'' is a very melodic album with plenty of complex parts and a fair amount of professional interplays.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Flute parts remind me a lot of CAMEL,guitars of ANYONE'S DAUGHTER,but the overall sound is closer to other German symph/folk bands like REBEKKA or HOELDERLIN.A touch of GENTLE GIANT's music is also evident.

PLUS: One of the best works on flutes and violins on the entire progressive rock spectrum! Constantly changing moods,from happy sounding tracks to grandiose and deep vocal-driven passages.Excellent delivery on keys and saxes,which make the sound even richer.Great vocal sections,despite the raw German language.Not cheesy at all,despite the Christian-based themes and year of release,on the opposite the musicinaship on ''Erwartung'' is a lot more than demanding.A huge amount of memorable melodies and well-executed interplays.

MINUS: Really hard to find...Just German lyrics aren't everybody's taste and are hard to be followed hy the mass of the prog community.

WILL APPEAL TO: Really to everyone!Both fans of folk rock and symphonic/classic progressive rock will have the time of their lives with this one...but anyone who takes music seriously should run and purchase ''Erwartung''!

CONCLUSION/RATING: 5 stars and my highest recommendations for an album flirting with prog rock's Hall of Fame for its original approach,balance and deep atmospheres!An unforgettable experience definetely!

 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Do you like a hymn-like sound, rich symphonic textures, a folky vibe, and brilliant vocal male and female harmonies? If so, you can't do much better than to seek out this lovely 1978 effort from Germany. "Erwartung" means "Expectation", and with a group name like Eden and the devotional atmosphere, one might conclude that religious themes lurk within, but since the sleeve contains no information and the lyrics are in German, this is only speculation.

The album opens with its weakest track, "Spatregen". While it contains most of the elements interspersed throughout the disk, it sounds half baked and rudderless, almost like an early composition that should have been refined before inclusion. The rest of the songs are all great, featuring, in addition to the characteristics named above, plenty of flutes, saxes, acoustic guitars, some raucous leads, and shimmering melodies, sort of like the Moody Blues but bigger and more experimental. However, the end to "Eden Teil II" includes a few bars from "Nights in White Satin" just to drive home the reality of the influence.

The ultimate highlight is the closer, "Ein Anderes Land", which is 16+ minutes of symphonic progressive bliss, a suite of many moods and themes, centered around the most intricate and awe-inspiring harmonies, as well as the most skillful playing and arranging on the record. I think I hear Eden taking a bit of the Novalis sound and stretching way out beyond what that band seemed willing to do. While an obscure reference, Eden also reminds me of the Basque group Enbor at times, chiefly in their attention to vocal interplay and their ethereal folkiness.

Eden's debut exceeds the expectations one might have for an obscure late 1970s prog album, serving up a small taste of paradise in musical form.

 Erwartung by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.41 | 74 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by dim_62

5 stars A music treasure, a fine progressive album from this forgotten German group. Without any doubt they deserve more attention from every serious prog listener. Lots of mellotron and keyboards music, among excellent guitar riffs. If you have the chance buy it and come to the prog world of Eden.. ........recommended........
 Heimkehr by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.16 | 19 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by Heptade
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the third and last album by the German Christian proggers. The three albums are all very similar. The music, playing and singing, is of a consistently high quality, firmly in the Romantic school of neo- Floydian German groups, like Novalis, later Eloy and Stern Meissen Combo. This means lots of string-synths, acoustic guitars and pretty melodies. Vocals are often choral and there is a fair amount of classy electric guitar soloing of the Gilmour school. This album is pretty laid back, with very few up-tempo passages. Eden also featured a violinist, which adds a pleasantly pastoral extra dimension. It's very pleasant music, and no doubt inspiring lyrically if you are Christian (which I am not) and German (also not). However, if you are a lover of late 70s European symphonic and enjoy lots of synth, this might be worth tracking down.
 Perelandra by EDEN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.63 | 27 ratings

Eden Prog Folk

Review by Heptade
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Eden was a large German band that did Christian prog, meaning that their work was based on Christian themes. I barely understand German, but this is obviously an adaptation of CS Lewis's science fiction Christian-themed trilogy. Eden was a big band that featured violin prominently, as well as flute and assorted percussion, but still with a rock base. excellent keyboard textures (if you like late 70s string synthy sounds) and a variety of good male and female vocals, often in powerful sounding choruses. Unlike their first album, "Erwartung", another concept album, the band went for shorter songs on this one, all of which pack a very dramatic, earnest punch. This almost-forgotten band won't be everyone's cup of tea, but fans of Novalis and late 70s Eloy will certainly enjoy this record.
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