Edge of Forever – Seminole (Album Review)

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At the end of 2019 B.C. (Before Covid) we had the pleasure of sampling the landmark 1000th album release from Frontiers Music, namely “Native Soul” from Italian melodic rockers Edge of Forever. As a whole, we were impressed. Frontman and keyboard/production wizard Alessandro Del Vecchio is perhaps the busiest and most versatile weapon in the Frontiers arsenal, working on the writing, performance, and production of countless other albums for other artists. With that in mind, you had best believe Alessandro does not pull any punches when it comes to his own flagship band. “Native Soul” was such a strong album, we seriously wondered if he was saving all his very best creative juices for that one album, near and dear to his heart as it was.

Today, in the brave new year of 2022, Ale and the boys are bringing us the fifth album under the band’s banner. Perhaps a reflection of Alessandro’s affinity for the state of Florida, tied with the band’s theme of tribal life and history, the new album is entitled “Seminole,” after the Floridian tribe of the same name. For the previous album, “Native Soul,” the band had a lineup reorganization, and that strong lineup remains in place today. Also joining us are Aldo Lonobile on guitars, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, and Marco di Salvia on the drums. While all members possess impressive resumes, Aldo’s guitar work with acts like Archon Angel and Secret Sphere have always been especially impressive to us.

Where the previous album opened with a very impressive layered vocal acapella arrangement, this album takes another approach and get straight to slamming with “Get Up On Your Feet Again.” The thundering drums and the riffing guitars pave the way for Alessandro’s very accessible rock vocals. The frequent vibrato pinch harmonics from Aldo certainly don’t hurt, nor do his palm-muted arpeggio fills. In case we have not made it clear, Alessandro is a production wizard, and it is one of the first things to really stand out on the album. From the crisp full drums to the tangible woofing of the guitar cabinet resonance, this record has a very “in the studio with the band” feel, except actually better, since the masterful mic placement and mixing really makes this recording sound even better than the real thing. You hear the things you want to hear, and none of the things you don’t.

The second song, “The Other Side of Pain,” starts out with a tempo and keyboard atmosphere like something from Yngwie’s “Fire and Ice” album, with the addition of some mean “He-Man Woman Hater” style Nuno riffage we would never hear from the Swedish master of bottomless fury. Like the first track, this one has some great guitar leads, with the addition of keyboard parts to make Jens Johannson and Derek Sherinian blush. The third track makes the smart strategic decision to insert a more acoustically-oriented ballad opening to bring down the energy a little before getting heavy again, albeit at a more adagio tempo. The chorus structure is more relaxed, and yet retains full power and really lets Alessandro stretch the old vocal cords. The following track, “Shift the Paradigm” (no relation to the Liquid Tension Experiment) has a fresh, positive upbeat major key approach a little like what ended up being the final album from Airrace, or maybe a little like “Dreams” from Van Halen’s “5150.” It is another well-placed track, in that it adds another axis to the usually linear nature of album design. Often albums try to alternate between fast and heavy, or slow and thoughtful, but the positive energy of “Shift the Paradigm” actually does what it recommends, and adds a new axis, where songs can also be evaluated based on upbeat positive major key energy versus darker, more brooding minor key metal. Speaking of which, the track is followed with “Another Salvation,” a slower, darker, more deliberate and gritty track. Although the lyrics seem to lean to the direction of inspiration and motivation, the song retains a feeling of one’s darkest hour.

“Seminole” Album Artwork

 “Breath of Life” opens with Alessandro’s piano and vocals, before electric instrumentation joins to make it a power ballad in the traditional Journey/Foreigner vein. The song wraps up with a guitar solo from Aldo which checks all the boxes for a good balladic lead, slow, thoughtful intro, building into a masterful display of technique and energy without becoming excessive. “Wrong Dimension” introduces elements of more traditional Eastern folk instrumentation (koto, shamisen, sitar?) to provide atmosphere for some of Alessandro’s grand synth chords, before powerful guitars arrive to deliver riffs which fall someplace in between the dark magic of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and the phrygian notes metal guitarists like to jam while wearing pharaoh attire. Musically, aside from being heavy in only the best ways, the song does many interesting things, exploring tonal elements alluding to things like Gates of Babylon and the Sails of Charon. The final “regular” track, “Our Battle Rages On,” is an uptempo rocker based in alternating open note riffing and massive-sounding chords, woven with lead guitar melodies supporting the vocals from below.

The album closes out with a four-part titular odyssey, “Seminole” parts I through IV. Part I, “In the Land of the Seminole,” brings back the layered vocal harmonies we remember so well from the previous record. Set with clear, bell-like steel string acoustic guitars, and a tasteful hint of synth keyboards, the brief first track sets the stage well for the rest of the suite. The second part, “Mistake Reality,” is a melodic rock/metal track more in keeping with the vibes and thematic feel of the album. The track does sort of melt down in the last minute, and the band steps back a bit so Aldo can really let it rip, which is a nice treat for guitar fans. This sets the stage for the third part, “Rewrite the Story,” a tight and riff-laden battle with the plot elements of the suite, making references to battles, paradigms, and the rest of the character development found in the album’s story. The fourth and final part, “The End’s Starting to Begin,” leaves the listener with a soft, slow, steady drum beat which could very nearly be mistaken for human heartbeat. Perhaps intentionally. However, it is more approximation of traditional native American drum rhythm, which then supports Alessandro’s vocal layers revisiting the “Land of the Seminole” verse from the first part. The lovely vocals continue for another couple minutes before yielding to a fading mouth whistling, which even makes a cute inference to Ennio Morricone’s “Good/Bad/Ugly” theme.

Speaking of Sergio Leone, here’s the good and the less good, since there is no ugly to be had. The good is that this album sounds great. While a pure audiophile may reasonably consider the album to be a bit ultra-maximized, without as much dynamic headroom as some classic mixes, the reality is that contemporary album mixing is big and bold, and this album does it while remaining ear-pleasing. Alessandro Del Vecchio is one of the leading maestros of mix and production, and this album reflects that. In terms of musical chops and songwriting, everything is solid. Great playing from everyone involved, solid vocal performance, and there is not a bad song on the album. If we want to really nit-pick, and give you the less-than-good, we would say the album does not quite have the same fire in the belly we perceived in “Native Soul.” Additionally, while we understand Ale was telling a story with this album, and trying to deliver a theme relevant to his experiences relative to the “Zeitgeist” of our times, the rise-up/triumph/overcome themes seem to have a virtual monopoly on the albums feel and lyrics. The record might have more feeling of rising and falling action if some songs are about moments of doubt or defeat, juxtaposed with songs of ecstasy and victory, rather than a collection of songs about “I will triumph against all odds.” Which is a great theme, of course, but it should not feel like the only theme. However, these are tiny critiques in the face of what is a very listenable melodic rock album. The album hits store shelves today, so check out our video clips here, and if you like what you hear, the rest of the album will not disappoint.

Released By: Frontiers Records
Release Date: January 21st, 2022
Genre: Hard Rock

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“Seminole” track listing:

  1. Get Up Your Feet Again
  2. On The Other Side Of Pain
  3. Made It Through
  4. Shift The Paradigm
  5. Another Salvation
  6. Breath Of Life
  7. Wrong Dimension
  8. Our Battle Rages On
  9. Seminole Pt.1 In The Land Of The Seminole
  10. Seminole Pt.2 Mistake Reality
  11. Seminole Pt.3 Rewrite The Story
  12. Seminole Pt. 4 The End’s Starting to Begin

8.1 Great

Keyboard Super-Producer Alessandro Del Vecchio and his melodic rock project Edge of Forever deliver the goods again, with new album “Seminole.” With powerful riffs, catchy hooks and melodies, great vocals and guitar leads, and a huge album mix, this one is an easy hit with any AOR or melodic metal fan.

  • Songwriting 8
  • Musicianship 8.5
  • Originality 7
  • Production 9
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