Review: Edge Of The Blade – Distant Shores
AOR Heaven (November 26th 2021)
Reviewer: Chris O’Connor
Now here are a group of talented individuals you should all be very familiar with! On vocals is ex-After Hours man John Francis, with multi-instrumentalist Alan Kelly ex-Shy now 7HY, and guitarist Miguel Angel Lopez. This is their third album since 2015, after the (in my opinion only) misfire of ‘The Ghosts Of Humans’, their sophomore ‘Feels Like Home’ was (again in this scribe’s opinion only) a much better album, a far better representation of their talents, and with this third album ‘Distant Shores’, the band has really found their feet musically and sonically.
John Francis is in wonderful voice throughout, his voice was ‘built’ for this kind of Arena Rock, he soars effortlessly throughout, he has a wonderful mixture of grittiness yet smoothness that simply works perfectly, there are hints of Steve Perry to it, which is a huge compliment. Miguel Angel Lopez proves himself to be a guitar player who is fluid and elegant, he shows maturity and flair, and his solos are all tasteful and powerful, he’s a real find! Alan Kelly provides perfect rhythm work, sometimes delicate, sometimes a barrage, but always immaculate, while his keyboard playing adds layers of colour that are always right on the money. This is seriously impressive and deeply memorable stuff.
The songs offered up are all genuinely wonderful pureblood AOR/Melodic Rock, honestly, you could not ask for a more sublime selection. ‘Distant Shores’ deserves to make the band huge … it’s simply THAT good! Whether its fist pumping rocks or heartfelt ballads, this band delivers in consummate style. From the pulsing chords of opener ‘Killing Me’, it is immediately apparent that we are listening to something very special, this band knows how to deliver classic huge choruses – and songs that will dig their way into your willing subconscious – ‘Distant Shores’ is awash with real gems, and you cannot fail to fall in love with this melodic musical box.
When the band slows down, they deliver timeless, achingly beautiful love songs, I draw your attention to the exquisite jewels that are ‘Love Me Again’ and the sublime ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’ – Journey, Toto, or indeed Boston would surely be proud to have such flawless numbers amongst their catalogues! When it comes to rockers, you would be hard to be the hard driving and soaring ‘Angels Fear To Tread’, which is hugely impressive, as is the uplifting ‘Life Is For Living’. However, both these are actually eclipsed by the muscular one/two salvo of ‘Wait Forever’ and ‘How Long’, which are both just perfect in every respect.
I genuinely adore this album, its everything that AOR/Melodic Rock should be about, AOR Heaven have done well to sign this trio, it would be wonderful to think this might sell in the big numbers it deserves. If you don’t buy another album this month or even this year – buy this one! ‘Distant Shores’ is simply stunning! Thank you to Edge Of The Blade for simply being brilliant!