Album review: EDGE OF PARADISE – Universe


Frontiers [Release date 08.11.19]

Currently on a major European tour, Edge Of Paradise came up the hard way, slogging their away around the LA circuit, creating fans, making a name. It got them minor label recording contracts and two consequent album releases in 2011 and 2015. But it was the addition of David Ruiz on guitar and their “Alive” EP, both in 2017, that raised the band’s profile to an international level.

Now, on Frontiers, with a decent budget and Mike (Buckcherry/Halestorm/Flyleaf) Plotnikoff at the production helm we can truly see what this band is made of.

That EP, “Alive” indicated a move away from your conventional symphonic rock toward a more industrialised style. Adding Ruiz’s guitar to that of band founder, David Bates has led to an album’s worth of densely constructed musical passages, perfect context for singer/pianist, Margaret Monet’s expressive, distinctly operatic tone.

Experiencing opener, ‘Fire’ (and it is an experience) is like listening to a provocatively tense thriller. We’re not really sure where it’s going, but Monet’s whisper-to-a-scream vocal keeps us on the edge of our seat, as it rushes for the finishing line’s climactic chorus. It’s a prime example of how to marry the classical and the modern, creating a concoction that sounds both eerily familiar and unsettlingly contemporary.

Second track, ‘Electrify’ goes yet another step further. Monet can easily push her voice into dark corners and scale significant heights unreachable by other vocalists. And so she and the band take us on a magic carpet ride, bringing together several ethnic musical influences, recalling Kamelot, the band whose song ‘Edge Of Paradise’ gave them them their name.

After only two tracks then, it’s clear that “Universe” is the work of a wiser, more worldly band with a point to prove. The effect is distinctly cumulative. However, beyond those two cracking openers, there are a handful of standout tracks here. On ‘Universe’, ‘Hollow’, and ‘Alone’ Bates and Plotnikoff ensure that the music stays the sensible side of elaborate, blending dark shades of electronica with slick slices of industrial strength metal. By its very nature, symphonic metal is bombastic, ornate, but they ensure that all the elements deployed here are whipped up into something that is theatrical and entertaining.

No wonder this band is attracting so much attention. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 January 2021.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)

Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)


ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere

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