Average, harmless metalcore from Japan is what we find on LOST EDEN's debut, "Cycle Repeats". Though their country of origin might add a bullet point to their marketing plan, the fact is that this music could come from anywhere in the west right now. If you've heard AS I LAY DYING, TRIVIUM, SOILWORK or KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, you'll feel right at home when "Cycle Repeats" begins, and you'll probably be bored by the third or fourth song.
That's not to say the band is all bad. Their execution is strong, and their tasteful use of keyboards is a nice touch, fleshing out their songs with a bit of memorable melody. The clean vocals in the choruses, while sounding hopelessly typical in these metalcore-glutted days, are done well and written with a keen ear for hooks. But the fact remains that the band has chosen to stick well within the worn-out conventions of metalcore, resulting in an album of songs you'll swear you've heard before. It makes it hard to care about the band, or the album.
The highlight of the album, indeed the only memorable spot on "Cycle Repeats" (a shoe-in for Most Appropriate Album Title of 2007), comes at the beginning of closer "Before Burning to Ashes". A cool synth hook kicks the song off, interacting with the guitar and presaging some blast beats, and for a brief shining moment it seems like LOST EDEN is going to rise above their self-imposed limitations and end on a high note. Even here, though, the song quickly descends into mediocrity, slipping quickly back into bland, familiar, gutless metalcore. Surely, someone besides us has noticed that this genre is getting stagnant and glutted — how many more third-tier acts like LOST EDEN can sneak into the spotlight before the labels finally clean house and send them back to obscurity? For completely rabid and undiscriminating metalcore addicts and incurable Japanophiles only.