EP Review: Edge of Paradise – Alive

EP Review of Edge of Paradise: Alive

Edge of Paradise‘s follow-up to Immortal Waltz continues its full-on edgy hard rock aural assault. Margarita Monet’s emotively powerful voice again combines with a hard-driving, shredding metal music bed to deliver a set of memorable tunes. The songs are in Edge of Paradise’s trademark slightly off-balance, funhouse mirror metal style.

I gave a sneak peek at a couple of this EP’s tracks at the end of my Immortal Waltz review in 2017. One of those was the title track, “Alive.” Driven by churning guitars, some nearly-full-stop tempo changes, and a breathy flavor to a fair portion of the vocals, this is a power rock track. And it’s stylistically very clearly an Edge of Paradise song.

Edge of Paradise - Alive

image courtesy of Edge of Paradise

I totally dig the harmonies in hard rocker “Dust to Dust.” Yet, as straightforward as this track is, it still keeps the listener off-balance with croakily growled vocals and off-balance musical backing during the bridges. Indeed, nothing about an Edge of Paradise song is ever perfectly straightforward, but this churning rocker sprinkles EoP’s trademark song-twisting elements with a light touch for a fun change of pace.

It’s followed by “Mystery,” a theatrical ballad, suitable for anything from radio play to a rock opera performance. Monet’s straining vocals sit atop a music bed based on piano and orchestral strings, driven by booming drums and a rock guitar growl. An extremely touching, emotional, sensitive ballad, “Mystery” shows off Edge of Paradise’s range and is the song on this disc with the broadest cross-genre appeal.

The power is back with “Shade of Crazy,” with Monet’s expressive vocals providing texture to the otherwise hard-driving, powerful, crunchy melodic metal song.

“Humanoid” closes the Alive EP. Kicking off with frenetic drums and guitars behind an odd croaking vocal, the song evolves into a rhythmic power rocker in which Monet’s vocals are largely another instrument, and the beat is the real star.

I’m never sure if Edge of Paradise is one of the more uniquely original progressive rock-influenced melodic heavy metal acts or if they’re one of the more mainstream power rock-influenced heavy theatrical progressive bands on the scene. Regardless, their music is fun to listen to, their musicians and vocalist are top-shelf hard rock/metal talent, and I always look forward to hearing what they’ll do next.

Looking Ahead

I’ve taken so long to get this review written that Edge of Paradise’s new album will be out in just a few months, so there’s plenty to look forward to, but if you don’t already have this EP, it’ll be a great way to fill the gap while the next disc is in the works. In the meantime, also check the band’s website for tour dates. Currently listed are a couple early 2019 shows in Japan – January 31 in Yokohama and February 2, 2019 in Tokyo.

Album Review: Edge of Paradise – Immortal Waltz

Edge of Paradise

photo courtesy of Edge of Paradise

Album Review of Edge of Paradise: Immortal Waltz

Edge of Paradise‘s Margarita Monet delivers theatrical vocal power with a melodically shrill edge, kind of like Faster Pussycat and their ilk, kings of late ’80s/early ’90s melodic hard rock. But there’s a very modern, edgy, theatrical tone to this band’s music. Think melodic heavy metal meets Phantom of the Opera in a room of funhouse mirrors… but with the emphasis on the metal. Immortal Waltz was produced by rock icon Michael Wagener, too, bringing out the best of this talented four-piece’s abilities.

Edge of Paradise - Immortal Waltz

image courtesy of Edge of Paradise

Immortal Waltz starts strong, with Margarita’s vocal wail fronting a metal wall of music on “Perfect Shade of Black.” The expressiveness of her voice and the theatrical soaring, booming, and progressive-metallic axework and powerful drumming behind her establish a level of rocking that’s maintained throughout.

It’s immediately followed by the most carnival barkerish track in the collection, one that’s become a personal favorite, “It’s My Showtime.” The rhythm is hypnotic, the vocals expressively follow suit, and a late-song blistering guitar solo carries the track toward its carnival-themed finale; the overall carnival flavor (sans barker), however, is most pronounced in the next song, “Immortal Waltz.”

There’s a classic heavy metal ballad on Immortal Waltz, too, “In a Dream.” The vocals here are Monet’s breathiest on this album, and the gentle music crescendoes to power in the chorus, about as metal ballady – and as effective – as it gets. As such, this is probably the most accessible track for reaching fans across genres and subgenres.

Margarita Monet

photo courtesy of Edge of Paradise

It’s followed by the trio of songs that initially attracted me the most, likely due to their well-constructed classic rock/heavy melodic metal cores, upon which Edge of Paradise adds its trademark progressive and occasionally-piercing vocal elements. The first, “Rise for the Fallen,” utilizes a catchy rhythmic hook, a variety of vocal techniques varied to meet the moment, and a classic rock-styled guitar solo bridge. “Ghost,” which was initially my favorite of the bunch, soars and drifts a bit more between its moments of vocal power, while its instrumentation never really exceeds moderate heaviness, even as its axework occasionally blisters; it’s an inspired mix of elements, in fact. And “Break Away” rides a ploddingly-paced progressive intro into its mid-tempo rhythmic power rock, a la “Rise for the Fallen,” providing a cohesiveness to this trio of songs.

“Goodbye” follows, its rhythm combining with a more progressive, symphonic instrumentation to create a song with a more theatrical flavor, trending back toward the songs from the earlier portion of the disc. And the album closes with Monet channeling Dio on the band’s booming cover of Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Sea.”

With Immortal Waltz, Edge of Paradise has carved out an original sound built upon time-tested classic, progressive, and symphonic metal elements. Because of its uniqueness, this album takes a little time to become familiar, but it’s interesting right from the start, and the talent involved is unmistakable.

Beyond the Album

The band released a subsequent single, “Shade of Crazy,” in July 2016 that brought a heavier edge to Edge of Paradise’s trademark sound; the song relies on the expressiveness of Monet’s voice to balance its extra heaviness. Next up, slated for a February release, “Alive” continues that full-on power while deploying an engagingly recurring heavy rhythm. Both songs leave me hopeful for a compelling next album.

The “tour dates” tab on the band’s website currently lists a few upcoming shows. This weekend, you can catch them on Saturday, January 14th as part of the Metal Meltdown at the M15 Concert Bar and Grill in Corona, CA. Other dates currently scheduled are April 21st at The Soundbox Tavern in Simpsonville, SC; April 22nd at The Drunk Horse in Fayetteville, NC; and September 23rd at the Female Metal Event in Eindhoven, Netherlands.