Edge of Paradise is a young upstart band from LA formed by the collaboration of guitarist Dave Bates and vocalist Margarita Monet. Working together on a different project, the two discovered a kindred spirit, and Bates asked Monet to sing some of his songs. Edge of Paradise and their debut album Mask was born in 2011.
Above, Edge of Paradise: standing taller than their shadows?.
A simple spin hints to the classic hard rock and heavy metal influences on Mask. To say that music is guitar driven is nearly an understatement as the songs are barrages of massive riffage. These in turn are accented by Bates' skillful and fiery solos. For her part, Monet is rock/metal singer, so don't expect atmospheric, to-the-clouds, operatic singing here. Think more to a peer like Lizzy Hale (Halestorm), with leather and swagger. Did I say she's quite attractive, but that's more than a little obvious.
To the music, Mask is rather short, clocking in around 30 minutes, and offering six vocal pieces and three instrumentals at the end. The vocal pieces are generally heavy and bombastic arrangements blurring hard rock with metal as on Thrown It All Away, We Breathe, and Falling Down. Tail of the Gun offers some modern accents with gruff male vocals set against Monet's lead. EoP can also be downright catchy and accessible as on Walk the Line. The dilemma with these vocal pieces is that Monet seems to be getting beat up by the pummeling arrangements, or left behind by the stifling mix. She's there, but not quite as 'present' as she could be.
As for the instrumentals, the most interesting is Bates' Shredenstien, a playful reinterpretation of Edgar Winter's Frankenstein. What he intends with I Come In Peace is anyone's guess. But the final Where's the Fire is a quick-paced number showing off his near neo-classical skills.
All in all, Edge of Paradise's Mask is an interesting and entertaining first start for the band. There's some real talent here. Considering the substance, brevity, and average production, I wonder if this album was put together to quickly. Nevertheless, the potential for greater things is promising. Recommended.