The symphonic metal outfit Edge of Paradise, which hails from Los Angeles, has steadily grown in stature and strength over these past few years thanks to some memorable live performances and solid releases, and this brand new 10-track offering of theirs entitled “Universe” shows a lot of musical growth and potential. I used the phrase symphonic metal earlier on, but plenty of other influences such as hard rock, industrial metal, and electro rock are scattered throughout the record too.

“Universe” consists of hard, driven, and bombastic tunes with big riffs and even bigger choruses to them. Dynamic pieces ala “Perfect Disaster”, “Alone”, and the title track are downright massive-sounding not to mention epic and catchy, and “Face of Fear” has a lot going for it too. Pulsating bass lines and cold soundscapes slither and slide into calm and piano-driven mellowness before heading back into some sharp riff that will get that neck of yours moving.

There are a few clichés present on the disc and a couple of things that simply come across as too saccharine and pompous to these ears (namely “Stars” and “World”), but in the overall perspective, “Universe” is a good and spirited output filled with muscular riffs and great vocal hooks. It also serves as a much better alternative than so many other symphonic releases out there thanks to its variety and passion, so check it out if this style and genre appeals to you.

Standout track/album highlight: “Alone”.