After the first few seconds of this it could, being honest, have gone either way. Sure, “Temptation” indulged itself in a metal riff, the kind that sees you involuntarily nodding your head before you’ve realised you’re doing it, but then so do most metal albums.

Where this one scored, however, was after all that ace guitar work is that the vocals are so clean you could eat your dinner off them. Too many metal bands growl this stuff, when what’s needed is a melody. Back To Eden get this – and they get it right.

There is – in truth – a hint of Accept here. And, without looking, you just kinda assume that this is the latest Euro metal band, twin guitars and clad in leather.

You can assume all you like, and you’d be wrong. BTE are, staggeringly, from Australia. Where, they do boogie rock rather well, they do country pretty nicely and by all accounts some of their extreme metal is a cut above, but this is a wonderful five track debut.

If the nationality is a surprise, then here’s something staggering. They are a two piece. Two pieces are meant to sound like The Picturebooks, or at a push like Royal Blood. Not this.

But it turns out that “Blackened Heart” has been two years in the making and was originally conceived as a solo project for Edan Hoy, who met Aliz Kasim by chance and found his singer.

I’ve no doubt that there is a tortured back story to get to this point – the five songs took two years to surface – but actually, that doesn’t matter. What does, is the songs are superb.

“Twin Flame” is sort of like early Motley Crue shouting at the devil over some latter-day Megadeth (the good “Black Swan” sort) and “Illusion”? Well, that’s one that is going to get fists up in the air wherever blokes in Saxon t-shirts gather. And to be fair, this has a hint or two of Dream Theater and the like too.

As does the title track. Clocking in at almost seven minutes, it is mid-paced, and shows the skill on offer as it broods and builds, while “Devil In Disguise” is a proper, no fooling, unashamed gallop, with its double kick drums slamming and its guitars screeching.

Only a debut you might say. Only five tracks. All true, and the future is yet to be written. However, I challenge you to find a better opening salvo from a metal band so far this year.

Rating 9/10

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