Here’s an act I have never ever heard of before. But reading the press-release for this album, I found stuff that really caught my attention. This quintet – singer/pianist Margarita Monet, guitarist Dave Bates and David Ruiz, bassist Vanya Kapetanovic and drummer Jimmy Lee – was formed in Los Angeles back in 2011 and has released two full-length albums prior to this one: Mask (2012) and Immortal Waltz (2015), but also a 5-track E.P. called Alive in 2017. What caught my interest here was the people involved with this, pretty much unknown act.
Michael Wagener (Accept, Skid Row, Dokken, White Lion) produced their second album and their brand new album was produced by Mike Plotnikoff who assisted greats like Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock during sessions with bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Cher and Van Halen and also produced bands like Halestorm and Buckcherry. The album was mixed by Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, Volbeat) and with people like that to be involved so this band really must have had something special to offer, I reckoned.
Latest single “Fire” opens the album with a short piano intro but continues heavy and rough with some classic Metal riffing over a punchy and hard rhythm-section. Without being especially radio-friendly the refrain comes across as slightly modern-sounding with a good over-lying vocal-melody. There’s also a slower and heavy passage before the heaviness continues and a slightly held-back middle-break changes the structure and dynamics of the song. It’s a pretty good song but I would lie if I said that it floored me. Some tribal drumming kicks “Electrify” off before the tune bursts into a heavy and punchy Metal track that holds some oriental/eastern flavored melodies which takes us to a big chorus, catchy enough to give the band some air-play. I quite like this one. Should be a single.
The title-track and second single provides us with a heavy and tough rhythmic foundation, quite raunchy and it also brings on a dark ambience. The rhythm structure of this tune makes it headbang-friendly but it’s also quite…danceable, in search for a better word. With some electronica and small twists of industrial influences, the tune takes a different turn – which is cool – but I must say the verses feels more like passages to get to the refrain, a refrain that’s good but not exactly radio-single oriented. It’s an ok song, but it don’t stick with me. Third outing “Alone” – not a Heart cover – comes with fast-paced and heavy verses only to slow down for the pre-chorus and then brings the speed up to a mid-pace when the chorus hits. The main riff is a total beast which gives the song a classic Metal ring but the tune also brings along a symphonic influence with a big soundscape that’s dark yet colorful. The chorus is brilliant, catchy but not radio-flirtatious at all. Best song on the album.
“Hollow” is rowdy, robust and gritty with a slight industrial touch, a bit Rob Zombie-like and holds a fat and stompy Metal groove with raw and razor-sharp guitars. It’s a punchy and in-your-face metal-stomper but it lacks structure and hooks and the chorus goes nowhere. It’s an ok song at best, but I’m kind writing that. “World” is a piano and vocals based ballad with a somewhat weird and trippy arrangement. It’s stripped and earthy in the verses but at the same time there’s some tribal-like drumming going on. In all honesty, I dig the creativity of wanting to take the song on a different kind of ballad-route and it sounds pretty cool. Melody-wise, it makes me think of Evanescence without going as far as cloning them and it’s a pretty good song but again, it sounds unstructured – like they didn’t know where the song would go when they recorded it and that makes it hard to grasp.
The dark and sullen “Perfect Disaster” goes for some edgy Heavy Metal in the vein of Kobra & The Lotus – heavy and punchy yet melodic and since I really like Kobra & The Lotus, I should dig this one as well. Unfortunately, I don’t – and I can’t really put my finger on why. Over the grittiness lies big melodies and quite smooth vocal arrangements in the chorus, still it fades from my mind as soon as the last chord is struck. “Face Of Fear” is the album’s first single, released almost a year ago. It’s a straight-forward and in-your-face rocker, full of industrial touches and the grooves are machine-like – hard and rowdy but also somewhat clinical and cold. That said, the song isn’t short of hooks or memorable melodies and the refrain is damn catchy with lots of striking beats. A damn good song.
The tough and punchy “Stars” holds a pace that alters from slow to mid-tempo on a straight ahead groove. While the direct melodies and the effective hooks brings on some catchiness – especially in the chorus – and while I do like the song while l listen to it, it also turns out to be a bit forgettable because I really don’t remember much of the tune when it ends. Good but it doesn’t last. The final track here is an instrumental called “Burn The Sun” and while I don’t have anything against instrumentals, this one falls flat and feels like a move not thought through properly. Uptempo, straight-forward, both symphonic and industrial, the tune lacks both direction and hooks. To be honest, Miss Monet’s voice is one of this album biggest assets and without any memorable melodies or her voice, the song goes completely nowhere.
While it feels fresh with a female fronted Metal band that’s not in the backwater of bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation or Evanenscence, this record comes with too many flaws. The production is ok but feels a bit budget at times and the song-writing falters on too many occasions. Still, Edge Of Paradise do sport their own identity and Margarita Monet has a strong voice with a broad range. Even though there are some really good songs on here – and with the exception of the instrumental closer, there are no bad ones either – the album’s biggest issue is that most songs fade from my memory as soon as the album’s done. This album might be a grower but it hasn’t really grown on me despite all the spins I have given it and it doesn’t give me the urge to check their previous albums out either but there sure is potential for the future here.
7. Perfect Disaster
8. Face Of Fear
10. Burn The Sun