Edge of Forever - Let the Demon Rock N Roll
For the first several tracks on Edge of Forever's second outing, "Let the Demon Rock N Roll", you might just think you have found heavy metal heaven. This would, in theory, be a magical place where melodic rock and blazing riffs collide. And for awhile, this band achieves that, easily managing to rank themselves among the elite in one fail swoop. Unfortunately, some of the shine is dulled for a couple of others thus keeping this from something that is closing in on absolute perfection, but there's definitely enough awesome material here to make any band jealous.

This is music that got me interested in the guitar maestro, Yngwie Malmsteen, in the first place. Killer harmonies, guitar solos that are poignant, technical, magnificent, prevelant but not excessive (oh wait, was there a time when Malmsteen was not excessive? hmm), and rich, glorious vocals, topped off by a nice production that didn't sound like it was being recorded in a tin can ("War to End All Wars" anyone?). Except, this isn't Malmsteen, and I'm beginning to wonder that if this band keeps on the path they are on, and one upping their previous efforts with each subsequent release, that they will eventually beat the Swedish fretmaster overall at his own current game.

It only takes a single listen to get sucked into this album. It's so mind boggling accessible, and at the same time, ripples with power and all the little nuances that make a CD replay worthy. The band has made a bit of a transition from the last one however, as more songs are tiptoeing more along the edge of hard rock rather than the very neo-classical push of the debut. The shredding and so forth is still prevalent, but it's not just everywhere like before, which gives this disc a unique flavor that sets it apart. Edge of Forever have given us a nice variety of sounds this time out of the box, it's not all neo-classic doodlings anymore, which made for an absolutely killer debut but you can hear how they have matured as a band as more focus is put on song writing and more tracks who's focus is to encircle themselves around and enhance "the voice".

The voice is of course current Axe-man Bob Harris, who has a smooth AOR-ish vocal delivery in the tradition of such guys as Joe Lynn Turner, but can also elevate himself to nice thundering metal worthy yelling too. I would say screams, but he doesn't really escalate to such high pitched levels. Bob fits in with the music and even enhances it just by having such a superb voice to backup the music. Guitarwork is handled by Matteo Carnio who is a young guy but don't let that fool you, he is one hell of a guitarist. His influences shine bright and clear, a mixture of the soft bluesy soul of Ritchie Blackmore and the fiercely wild yet pristine clean Yngwie Malmsteen spirit. This is a mixture of string bending at its best, and he's one of the more expressive yet technically adept axe wielders to come out of the woodwork lately. Most just relegate themselves to pumping out average sounding performances, but Matteo steps it up a notch and injects some personality in this as well. It's almost a shame that "Let the Demon Rock N Roll" doesn't offer as many shredding opportunities as the former "Feeding the Fire" did but there's still plenty of places here to let it shine too.

"The Machine" has Symphony X-like moments, and progressive touches while hard rockin' straight on ahead. It's punchy but yet harsh, and a fine way to kick off an album with its lazer like precision and a chorus that's rough but as addictive as crack.

I swear this reminds me of Takara. A more bottom heavier Takara, but Takara nontheless. This has a too cool harder mid tempo feel that ramps it up a notch for the bridge and kicks into full gear for an AOR-tastic chorus that is just tasty. "Shade of November" not only includes some nifty rhythm guitar that catches you a bit off guard but also an awesome very Deep Purple-ish trade off from organ to guitar, with the axe blistering quick and dirty like a blast of dark Malmsteen before Bob's passionate voice lifts the song back into the chorus.

Hats off to Alessandro and Matteo for blending one of the most addictive guitar/synthesizer melodies that I've heard since the 80s came to a close. This is pure genius, and make for a mindblowingly crafted song overall. Mix in those emotive vocals and you have the recipe for a treat that's truly something special. The refrain is as catchy as hell, so catchy in fact that it lights fires all by itself. Oh yes, my friends, this is AOR friendly hard rock at its pinnacle. The finest of the fine. Even going through "One Last Surrender" with a finetoothed comb, there is nary a flaw to be had. The chorus is compact but with impact, so forceful it will knock you right to the ground with its magical majestic touch. Since the first moment the opening notes graced my eardrums, this has been slinging itself around in my head nonstop, the true mark of a classic. You'll remember this one even at year's end and beyond, it's just an excellent piece of music and anything else is going to be a whiter shade of pale in comparison.

Not to say that "Crime of Passion" is not a cool song, I mean this reeks coolness of the JoLT Rainbow persuasion, but it's a different creature entirely than "One Last Surrender". That one was AOR, this is one is full blown hard rock with edgy, showman-like vox, more plushy gang vocals than you can poke a stick at and tasteful guitars a'la Blackmore and jamming organ a'la the Deep Purp. It rocks with the edge of these classic bands but while it's a great song, truth be, it's not that innovative because Brazen Abbot has been cranking out this style for 10 years now. A nice piece, but c'mon, it doesn't hold a candle to the three that came before.

We've had AOR, jam sessioned classic rock, and almost-metal with prog moments... now it's time for something else entirely. A slower pacing with doomy undertones and more progressive touches sprinkled over the top make for an epic that focuses its resources on resonating with inner restrained power and this darker, almost sinister atmosphere. Bob's vocals dip down into foreboding and then lift back up for the smooth bridge which includes some unsettling whispering to echo his wording. The keyboard runs absolutely wild right before song's close, ripping the breath away with their tensive release. "Let the Demon Rock N Roll", well who's going to stop him with a track like this? "I am the one behind the sun."

"A Deep Emotion" has a breathless AOR-esque quality. The music wraps itself around the pipes of Bob Harris lovingly, and the pompous bridge sequeways perfectly into the "lighters in the air" feel of the expansive chorus. If this was 1987, stadiums would be alit like a sea of constant glowing fireflies in the night. It reminds me of 80s Bon Jovi crossed with Giant's "If I See You In My Dreams", which is not a bad pedigree at all.

"Feel Like Burning" could easily have been created for Deep Purple's "Slaves and Masters" disc, which is a highly underrated piece of music I might add when experienced in its finer bits n pieces, although this would fall more along the lines of the poorer material from that one, such as "Fire in the Basement". The guitars scream and slice here with an electric cutting edge, and crazy organs fill up the cracks. It's not a bad selection but feels rather out of place amidst the others on here. I guess the quality checking police somehow overlooked this one.

"Mouth of Madness" pours it on heavier, with a comfortable slow headbanging rhythm that is almost hypnotic. It has a deep, sludgy feel underneath but it produced so clean with simple fat riffs creating the sludge illusion. The chorus just explodes with soaring vocals and I can't help but feel the Tony Martin era Black Sabbath vibes in this. Which is awesome, because that was in my opinion, some of the best work that band ever did, blasphemy as some may call it - so be it. This track sounds great, from the perfectly matched guitars to the pristine vocals.

"My Breath Away" is a slow builder, introducing one instrumental piece at a time and relies on the vocals to guide it into an anthemic chorus that brings down the house, and then some. The guitars create the rhythm at the opening, and have this warped heavy feel that is a complete 180 degree difference from the electric used to string bend itself into an emotional pretzel for the solo. Keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio is all over the place here as well, doing a fabulous job with the rather simple yet poignant piano that adds this fairy dust scattering texture to the proceedings. Very nice indeed.

Taking a cue from their band name is the final song, "Edge of Forever". Wistful vocals and acoustic set to match the atmosphere slide out of the way for a musical change that takes this straight into the heart of classic Malmsteen. Imagine the beautiful intricacies of the Edman era crossed with the pompous melodically powerful Vescera fronted period and this is likely what you would get. The verses are ice, chilling to the core, the chorus blazes with fire. The solo, is another beast entirely, starting off with this dark guitar sound that recalls "Marching Out" but then changes in the blink of an eye to strings that are frozen with emotion, you can feel the icy coolness in all its elemental beauty. Frozen and harsh, but still delicate and easily breakable, yet when broken, the pieces remaining can be deadly.

A song of that whirlwinds itself from one extreme to another and who get by without mentioning the vocal acrobatics of the frontman? He throws himself into this with all his might and holds a few notes that just amaze. What a killer ending tune, with its progressive touches that recall the subdued Stratovarius, the neo-classical overtones and the whole moody backdrop itself. Restrained throughout yet with this epic feel that never gets out of hand, even in this age of excess. Just glorious.

Edge of Forever had somehow managed to create a debut that was a flaming blaze of glory, and unlike so many bands that cannot live up to the expectations and hype for a follow-up, they have broken the barrier and managed to create a musical offering that could be considered to be superior in almost every aspect. A part of me, yearns for the neo-classical decadence that swept through "Feeding" like a wildfire, but truthfully, the songs on "Let the Demon" have a better chance at finding success in the recesses of the brain with their fatter hooks, more skilled song structures and more rounded and cohesive performances.

This is a must-have for anyone that still enjoys Rainbow, Deep Purple or the music of the Malmsteen maestro from these three bands' heydays. The music within this neat little package of modern nostalgia is varied enough to suck in a whirlpool like manner, a variety of metalheads, from those that like hard rock to those looking to nibble at some classy AOR that's edgier than fluff, and if you are seeking a soul searching ballad, they give you that too. Toss in an epic or two and you have one album that's incredible with only a single true miss step along the way, and even that is debatable. A highlight of the year, no doubt. Take a listen, and be enraptured by the musical magic that will take you to what could possibly be the glory of the Edge of Forever.

Written by Alanna
Thursday, June 2, 2005
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Alessandro Del Vecchio/ Edge Of Forever (Anonymous) - Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Alanna. I'm very pleased to read your review about our new record. All your kind words are making me happy and proud of my work. You already wrote good stuff about us, but now this is a surprise for me. I never read an accurate, professional, deep and emotional review of our record.
Thanks and keep up the good work!

Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Member) - Friday, June 10, 2005
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Comments: 166
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I am sold on this review. So I am ordering it now through my fav Import CD store. Not to mention seeing that the Alessandro himself takes the time to pay attention to the thoughts of others says something about how he cares for those that support the band.

Posted by Little Drummer Boy
Friday, June 10, 2005

Comment by NopezNode (Anonymous) - Thursday, June 16, 2005
Never seen an artist focusing on his album.

Review by Alanna

Released by
MTM - 2005

1. The Machine
2. Shade of November
3. One Last Surrender
4. Crime of Passion
5. Let the Demon Rock N Roll
6. A Deep Emotion
7. Feel Like Burning
8. Mouth of Madness
9. My Breath Away
10. Edge of Forever

Supplied by Target

Hard Rock

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Edge Of Forever - Official Website

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