Thursday, May 30 2024

California based, Edge of Paradise have been around for over a decade and their sound has evolved into a cinematic blend of power metal, infused with elements of industrial. They have benefitted from working with notable producers ensuring every release has the perfect blend of impact and balance. From a reviewing perspective this makes my job a little difficult; I look for what makes a song work. What stands out and conversely, what areas hinder the song. I’m nothing if not balanced. Verbose? Often. Balanced? Always.

Rogue (Aim for the Kill),’ is their latest release; celebrating their new association with Napalm Records. This is not some bunch of raw up and comers with attitude and potential, blindly walking into the toxic wasteland of sycophants and bullshitters, that is the music business. This is a well-oiled machine. They know how to write. They have an incredible production team and what they produce is well written, perfectly produced and fully realised. Hell, they even have accompanying videos. Fully. Realised. If I could accent the last 2 words with kick-drum, snare and crashes, I would.

So, forgive this nauseatingly one dimensional and patently obvious review, ‘Rogue (Aim for the kill),’ is a very good song. There you have it. Go and listen to it and watch the video…

OK, you want more… I know how it works; you expect some kind of dissection now, right? On a band that is 5 albums and 2 EP’s deep into their career? A band that has had an album of the week in ‘Revolver,’ who’s ‘Alive’ EP charted in the Billboard charts? Fine. 

With the release of ‘Rogue (Aim for the Kill),’ Edge of Paradise show a more direct rock presence than previous releases. It is a hard edged, thrill a minute explosion, delivered with their customary pomp and sense of theatre. 

The riffs are thick, crunchy and simplistic, with dynamic shifts making this an engaging and flowing piece driven by dense complimenting bass lines and snapping drums. Everything, of course, is geared up to showcase Margarita’s soaring vocals. And she doesn’t disappoint; with controlled use of the head-voice and expressive melodic-contour. Her upper register is delivered with incredible power and conviction. It’s understandable why she is so highly rated as both performer and vocalist.

The song’s structure is, what I’d call, a standard Rondo format; 3 distinct sections and variations thereof. It’s a format commonly used in Rock and Metal and functions effectively with good hooks (either vocally or riff based) and changing dynamics. This piece has that and then some. The hooks are delivered on all fronts and will doubtless be earworms for days. Honestly, the pre-verse / bridge riff alone could be featured on a ‘Beavis and Butthead’ couch scene. Simple. Repetitive. Annoyingly catchy.

The juxtaposition between the half-time drumming and palm muted 16th notes, over the verses, gives a very industrial / mechanical feel. It’s a good and clear dynamic shift and yes, it’s been done before, but it’s polished and executed well. The obvious benefit of this device allows the impact of the chorus to be heightened. It’s the pay-off. The chance for the audience to let-go.  And this chorus doesn’t disappoint. “I’m going rogue,” sings Margarita; in surely the most ironic use of that statement ever; you’ve just released your most accessible work in a while! I’m being playful of course. It’s effective and ‘sells’ the narrative well. Everyone loves a sing-a-long chorus and this is great; just don’t try and do it in the same octave as Margarita, it won’t end well.

There is some very tidy lead work over the breakdown with good use of simple finger tapped progressions that create an opulent texture and let’s face it, everyone who’s ever owned a guitar loves a bit of finger-tapping. We’re further indulged with a little bit of ‘shredding’ (I hate the term, honestly, it cheapens it) over the final chorus, with some very good phrasing. Again; effective and adding depth, as we build to the finale.

In terms of production, I can’t say anything other than it’s perfect for what they wanted and what the song needs. You wouldn’t expect anything else. ‘Rogue (Aim for the Kill)’, is a wonderfully catchy and engaging song that hits all the right notes and ticks all the necessary boxes, whilst still retaining the hard rock edge you’d expect from Edge of Paradise.

The accompanying video, is also an engaging and entertaining piece, but by the time the first thought of ‘Beavis and Butthead’ had entered my head, after hearing the pre-verse / bridge riff, I couldn’t help but muse that those two delinquent, miscreants would have appreciated the aesthetic more than I… and for all the wrong reasons. Mike Judge has much to answer to.

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Crunching guitars and soaring vocals on this explosive frenzy. Hard rock quality that we’ve come to expect from Edge of Paradise.
Catchy, Hard-edged rock


Song Quality
Vocal Performance


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About Author

Gareth Johnston

Gareth Johnston is a Lancashire based musician and producer who studied music at MMU. He is a former reviewer for 'Glitzine' and when not writing for 'The Indie Grid' can be found restoring old furniture whilst listening to obscure alt-rock. He has too many favourite bands to pick one and insists it's easier to pick a favourite child.

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