MELODIC ROCK/METAL: Los Angeles based melodic metal band Edge of Paradise—consisting of singer/pianist Margarita Monet, guitarists Dave Bates and David Ruiz, drummer Jimmy Lee, and bassist Vanya Kapetanovic—has made a decent name for themselves since its 2011 formation. On its second full-length album Universe, the band has created 10 easily digestible melodic metal tracks complemented by industrial, electronic, and classical influences.

Monet’s massive vocal range is key to the band’s diversity, while the band’s musical chops are equally as impressive. Produced by Mike Plotnikoff (Halestorm, Three Days Grace) and mixed by Jacob Hansen (Amaranthe, Volbeat, Pretty Maids), Universe possesses a crisp and pristine sound. Opener “Fire” immediately begins with the sweetly sung chorus. Through Monet’s seductive, whispered vocals, decorated with Bates and Ruiz’s aggressive, distortion-laden riffs and accompanied by a great mid paced rhythm section, the song’s bouncy, commercial appeal is just edgy enough to please the most hardened of metal fans.

Almost every track is decorated with a hooky and memorable chorus, most notably on “Electrify” and “Hollow.” The more commercial compositions, such as the aforementioned “Electrify” and “Perfect Disaster,” work well on a radio-friendly level, yet maintains a rock/contemporary metal heaviness, just as the entire album manages to accomplish. The album ends with the fiery instrumental “Burn the Sun,” which shows off the band’s technical skills.

Edge Of Paradise has gotten good traction over the past few years with the release of some well received independent albums and heavy national and international touring. The band has been building a faithful fan base one album at a time, and now that they have released its latest on a bigger label such as Frontiers, the band’s stock is certainly on the rise. ~ Kelley Simms