I admit I haven’t given Edge Of Forever much thought since the first time I heard (about) them back in 2004. A co-worker of mine had bought their debut album Feeding The Fire from a second-hand record store and thought I should hear it – since he knew I was a fan of Melodic Hard Rock – so I borrowed it, burned it to an empty CD, listened to it a few times and then more or less forgot about it. Not that I thought it sucked, I just thought the music was mundane. Bland. A reaction that CD has given me the very few times I have picked it up again throughout the years. Which is somewhat strange as the album was produced by one Marcel Jacob (RIP) of Talisman and Yngwie Malmsteen fame, a guy I have always respected and am a fan of as a song writer and musician.
To be frank, I didn’t even know that Edge Of Forever had released two more records since then – Let The Demon Rock N’ Roll (2005) and Another Paradise (2010). But a lot has changed since then and when the band now releases a new record nine years later, the line-up, for instance, is completely new. Today’s version holds only Alessandro Del Vecchio as the solo original member although back then, he was only the keyboard player with Bob Harris holding microphone responsibilities, while he’s now also the lead singer. Of course, as we all know, Del Vecchio also works for Frontiers records as a song writer, producer and is in numerous different outfits such as Hardline. The rest of the band is guitarist Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere), bass player Nik Mazzucconi (Labyrinth) and drummer Marco Di Salvia (Hardline) and since Edge Of Forever of 2019 is a totally different and new beast, it’s hard to bring on any expectations with only the debut in mind – things might have changed where quality is concerned as well.
The album opens with an a capella shortie called “Three Rivers”. I guess it leans more towards something The Eagles could have pieced together but that said, it feels more like an intro than an actual song. It doesn’t really set a standard of what’s to come but the harmonies are quite gorgeous. That one takes us right into the album’s title-track – and latest single. It’s a Melodic Rock track with an early 90’s American Arena Rock style, a punchy rhythmic groove where the drums at times touches tribal and raunchy Extreme-like guitar riffs. On top lies memorable melodies and a catchy chorus – the album started out lots better than I had expected. On a Scandinavian AOR outlook and Journey influences, “Promised Land” lies closer to what we’re used to when it comes to the stuff that Del Vecchio usually writes for Frontiers’ different projects. Again, we’re treated with a solid, sticky refrain that makes this single-material as well. Good one.
“Carry On” branches out in a few directions. Its base is Melodic Rock but the guitar riffage and the punchy rhythms clearly borrows from Metal while some its structure is classic Hard Rock. The massive, in-your-face chorus takes it’s catchiness from AOR and Melodic Rock without getting all sugary – this is more an album track than a radio hit. I have a feeling this one will work splendidly live. Since Marcel Jacob was a close friend of Del Vecchio, he decided that a tribute was in order, so said and done, he wrote a Talisman song which became the album’s leading single. “Take Your Time” holds the rolling, Billy Sheehan-like bass that Jacob made his own, it shows the 70’s Hard Rock influence that Talisman waved into their Melodic Hard Rock and a chorus that sounds so much like Talisman it could have been a leftover from that band. Lyrically, it’s a dedication as much as a heartfelt goodbye to his old friend. Saddening and emotional – and a brilliant song.
“Dying Sun” takes us back to 1989 where Melodic Rock meets Arena Rock, American style albeit in a more upbeat, heavy, rough and in-your-face way. This is straight-forward Melodic Rock with classic Hard Rock twists it holds a stellar main-melody and another splendid refrain with a million hooks. Very good. It’s ballad-time when “Shine” comes knocking and given Del Vecchio’s love for 80’s Hard Rock and Melodic dito, it’s not overly surprising that what we’re given here is a big power ballad that probably would have been all over MTV back in the days. Acoustic guitars lies as a base for this pearl of a song and while it’s enormously catchy, it never gets lame or mawkish and holds just enough sugar to avoid diabetes. Should be a single. On a heavier and darker note, uptempo rocker “I Made Myself What I Am” takes aim at Talisman again but it also reminds me of a more Melodic Rock version of Yngwie’s Rising Force. It’s a straight out, punchy rocker with chunky riffing on a steady rhythm that holds a catchy yet not radio-friendly chorus and a big live-feel. Very good.
The heaviness continues with “War”, a rough and bumpy Hard Rock stomper with a fat, rhythmic groove and an underlying darkness that marries fine with its Melodic Rock melodies and the striking refrain that sticks directly without flirting with the air-waves. It also holds a headbang friendly rhythm section that makes me believe this one will be a killer live. Very good. The uptempo melodic rocker “Wash Your Sins Away” is smoother and a bit slick but the tempo is upbeat and even punchy and the refrain is hooky and and sticky. It’s a decent song but falls into the “Frontiers project” category – a bit too standard. Closing track “Ride With The Wind” is a faster rocker that brings on more Rising Force twists with a more commercial touch, a dark and heavy Black Sabbath like breakdown and the guitar solo part is all Talisman. It’s a quite heavy yet poppy rocker with a killer refrain, a perfect ending for the album.
First of all, this album is way, way better than the debut in every possible way – performances, production and song-writing. Second, Alessandro Del Vecchio is a real good singer, better than I had thought – I can’t remember ever hearing him taking on lead vocals before (I could be wrong, though…). On the other hand, there are flaws on this album and how contradictory it might sound, it’s the actual songs. See, this is another one of those albums that is really good while listening but as soon as the album is done, I can’t really remember much of it at all. Which is a damn shame – and it brings on the feeling that what we’re getting here is just another one of Frontiers’ projects. It’s an album that’s (very) enjoyable for the moment but really doesn’t linger.
1. Three Rivers
2. Native Soul
3. Promised Land
4. Carry On
5. Take Your Time
6. Dying Sun
8. I Made Myself What I Am
10. Wash Your Sins Away
11. Ride With The Wind