Female singing groups have been an intricate part of modern popular music for over sixty years now. From The Supremes and Bananarama, to SWV and En Vogue, ladies have shown they are forces individually, as well as on a united front. Interestingly enough, female singing groups have often been within the Pop and R&B realm, however, Exit Eden emerged to represent the Heavy Metal universe.
An international group of women, Exit Eden initially came together back in 2017 when American Singer Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Kiske/Somerville, Trillium), Brazilian Singer Marina La Torraca (Phantom Elite), French Singer Clémentine Delauney (Visions of Atlantis, ex-Serenity) and German-American Singer Anna Brunner (League of Distortion) joined up together. Each a leader of their own respective bands, and well-known in the Symphonic Metal genre, the formation of Exit Eden is an interesting experiment that Heavy Metal truly has never seen prior. Proving to work exceptionally well, they released the album Rhapsodies in Black in 2017 to universal acclaim.
A debut album strictly of cover tunes, the selections were impeccable; including Depeche Mode’s “A Question of Time,” Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and Visage’s “Fade to Grey.” Adding unique flair to these well-known tracks across the decades, the lady’s passion proved their artistic intent was far more than skin deep. That in mind, it has been six long years since Exit Eden has put out any new music. Then the news came down in late 2023 that Somerville would be stepping back from Exit Eden to focus on her family. Extremely honorable and understandable, because family should trump everything, considering the gap in time without music and loss of Somerville… would this spell the end of Exit Eden? The answer is no, because even though Somerville’s talents are missed, La Torraca, Brunner, and Delauney care on in preparation to release a follow up album on January 12, 2024 called Femmes Fatales.
Their second with Napalm Records, a first taste of the forthcoming album arrived in late October 2023 with the single “Run!” An exciting return, the boldest aspect is that this time around Exit Eden offered an original tune; plus they teamed up with former Nightwish Vocalist/Bassist Marko Hietala. Enough to make any fan of Symphonic Metal’s mouth water, the track does not disappoint with its catchy Nordic melody and bold sound. From here, the next single would be a rendition of Journey’s “Separate Ways,” and it is nothing less than powerfully performed.
Beyond these two tasty appetizers, the album offers ten more tracks that are a mixture of both covers and originals. Split 50/50, the six original tunes add a new dynamic to Exit Eden not heard prior. Looking at these for a moment, they are well-composed, well-produced, and ear-catching. This portion of the album is highlighted by, but not limited to, “Buried in the Past,” “Femme Fatale,” and “Run!”
Which leads to the covers… something Exit Eden always manages to leave a distinctive mark on. For this, the list includes the aforementioned “Separate Ways,” but also a really cool version of Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s A Sin,” Alice Cooper’s “Poison,” and Heart’s “Alone.” Again, just some of the highlights, the arrangement and performances by the trio are second to none.
Full of fire, La Torraca, Brunner, and Delauney each shine individually, but also as a collective on each of the tracks that make up Femmes Fatales. If you are a fan of female singing groups – no matter if it be in Pop, Rock, or R&B genres – you will absolutely love what Exit Eden is about. Taking a bold step forward, if you are new to Exit Eden, you will immediately be taken back by these ladies’ inspired take on classic Pop/Rock hits, as well as their offerings of new originals. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Femmes Fatales 4.5 out of 5 stars.