Album Review: Edge of Paradise - Universe

There were a number of bigger albums from more famous artists that I could have reviewed for today's piece, perhaps the most prominent being Westlife's latest offering. But having already reviewed one album last week from an early millenium band trying to keep up some sort of relevance in 2019, I decided to forgo the obvious choices and dig a bit deeper in order to discover something a little more up-to-date.

After about 15 minutes of searching, I stumbled across Universe, the new offering by a band called Edge of Paradise, who identify themselves as a 'Space Metal' group. From that, and given that they have a female singer, the deduction was that the band would probably be some sort of cross between Hawkwind and Within Temptation. Well, throw in some extra synths and you've pretty much got it.

It's a pretty unique sound and one that suggests that there's a bit more to offer than what is heard on this album. Though it's a good and very enjoyable listen, there are elements that are lacking from it that could really have taken it to another level.

'Fire' is an exciting opener, immediately kicking the album into gear and giving you a real sense of what you're in for, though some harmonised vocals in the choruses would have been welcome. It feels a tad strange to ask for an addition to the chorus, as on the whole, this album is packed with massive choruses. Be it 'Electrify', 'Alone' or title-track and groovy number 'Universe', there are stadium-sized choruses everywhere.

There are moments when they stretch the formula slightly. 'World' is beautiful song, calmer and more ethereal, bringing some peace to the ears after five straight songs of chugging riffs and huge productions. 'Stars' is Paramore if they went a little more metal, and 'Burn the Sun' is an excellent instrumental to close the album, utilising the guitars in a way that is criminally lacking throughout the nine preceding songs. It's a joy to listen to the guitarists actually go to town on their instruments during this track, which they had probably been itching to do the whole time, as there are hardly any solos or stand-out guitar work on the rest of the album. It's a huge shame that that's the case, but 'Burn the Sun' is worth the wait.

Edge of Paradise

As aforementioned though, there are elements to this album that are lacking. The bridge sections tend to be a bit weak throughout the entire thing, and the general sound of the band does get a little samey towards the end of the album. Many of the songs followed a very similar pattern and structure, with little variation. There is so much you could do with 'Space Metal' and the limits aren't pushed or explored on this album, which feels a bit safe much of the time. The general lack of guitar solos, or any kind of advanced guitar work, is also a big let-down.

It also sounds a bit weak in the production area. There's no snap, no pop, and it's not a particularly powerful job (which doesn't help in this kind of genre). The vocals also sound very slightly off throughout. That's not a slight on the singer, who clearly has a fantastic voice, but who decided to make her vocals come through a telephone filter for the whole album? It's a weak telephone filter, and perhaps difficult to detect without headphones or good speakers, but it's definitely there and bugged my ears all the way through. The vocal sound is lacking in clarity and power, which brings the songs as a whole down, as the vocal is so important to them.

Edge of Paradise is an exciting group, offering up a unique sound that could take them far. This album won't be the one to do it though, as it's missing a powerful production, interesting song bridges, and variety. With more ambition and a real desire to explore the outer limits of Space Metal, this band could go truly global. It's good, but there's so much more potential there that, if unlocked, could be the start of something exceptional.