EDGE OF PARADISE
"Alive"

(ILS/Universal)

01. Alive
02. Dust To Dust
03. Mystery
04. Shade Of Crazy
05. Humanoid

RATING: 8/10

While IN THIS MOMENT continues to rise as a dominant force in contemporary hard rock alongside HALESTORM and LACUNA COIL, it's odd that EDGE OF PARADISE is still scraping for turf. Despite six years as a band, a couple albums and a powerhouse singer who may well take over the scene if given the proper exposure, EDGE OF PARADISE is yet that relatively undiscovered jewel in the rough. Its gemstone comes in the form of Margarita Monet, touted as one of the most dynamic vocalists in hard music today.

The big leagues have taken notice: Universal is backing the release of EDGE OF PARADISE's new EP, "Alive". If these songs don't break the band out, it's a brutal task for them from this point forward. Margarita Monet, also a tremendous pianist, is backed by guitarist Dave Bates, bassist Nick Ericson and percussionist John Chominsky. As polished as you'd want it in commercial rock, EDGE OF PARADISE has more going for them, and not merely a phenom on the mike.

The title track hits hard in tempo with just enough riffs and scattered electronics to give Margarita Monet a palette to spread her brilliant vocals across. While the band grows its most heated toward the end of "Alive", Monet is naturally the star to which they must both play up to and take heed not to overpower. A lot of press has said that Monet is one of the most distinctive talents in contemporary hard rock, and there's absolute truth in the statement. As the tempo of "Alive" primarily serves up a dance rhythm, Margarita Monet swoons and shimmers on the verses, vocally tempting listeners into her aural web, and then hammering down upon them as the choruses thump likewise.

"Dust To Dust" drops in tone somewhere between KORN and IN THIS MOMENT with chunky riffs and slinky rhythms on the verses setting up towering choruses. A song crafted with its targets seemingly set upon landing a sweet spot on a hot action movie soundtrack, "Dust To Dust" is a snarling tiger with a shaking hip, let the credits roll. Then again, the brash, banging struts of "Shade Of Crazy" (already an official single) has costumed antihero brawl written all over it.

"Humanoid" comes in unexpectedly with its thrash bursts showing off the band's faster tendencies along with Margarita Monet's weirder side, chiming like the American equivalent of Anoji Matsuoka from GONIN-ISH. "Humanoid" continues its sweaty pace with brisk grooves, electro swarmbots and an interchangeable vocalist who blends into whatever's thrown at her.

Monet takes a nod to Tori Amos both on vocals and piano on "Mystery", while propelling herself to soul-searing heights on the choruses. Once the rest of the band joins in on the second verse, "Mystery" toughens up as Monet loses herself in the majesty of the songwriting. One wants to follow wherever she's going as Monet strikes her piano keys harder along the way and summons enchantments into her glamorous vocal projections.

Nothing's a guarantee, but perhaps we'll see EDGE OF PARADISE on the flipside of a Ryan Reynolds katana slash, if not the umpteenth "Fast and the Furious" vehicle.

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