Artist: Paradox (Gr)
Release Title: Pangea
Label: AFM Records
Genre: Power/Thrash Metal
3. The Raging Planet
4. Ballot or Bullet
6. Cheat & Pretend
8. Vale of Tears
9. Alien Godz
10. El Muerte
The seventh effort from German thrashers Paradox once again shows them as perhaps the most underrated and overlooked of the scenes’ acts and continues their legacy nicely. Much like their previous efforts, this here is basically set-up to feature their classic speed/thrash metal and churning power metal melodies into one raging mixture. Taking tight, crunchy patterns more influenced by the Bay Area style with the occasional burst into a melodic mid-tempo chug, this here manages to spell out many of the band's trademark rhythms here and gives this a solid thrashing energy. Those are driven along by a rather frantic and impressive amount of technicality in the riff-work which adds a superb amount of energy and dynamic bounce to the material alongside the excess melodies that makes for a soothing and utterly appealing mixture here that plays much like the band’s signature style from the very beginning.
The first half here sets this one up spectacularly. Opener ‘Apophis’ slowly works through a gradual intro to build into tight, raging riff-work and plenty of thumping drumming keeping the frantic rhythms twisting with technically-challenging rhythms driving the melodic charge through the dynamic solo section and keeping the tight rhythms along into the final half for a stellar opening. ‘Raptor’ takes churning riff-work and stellar melodic chugging to explode into a mid-tempo series of riff-work bristling with technical patterns and pounding drumming keeping the up-tick into far more frantic mid-tempo patterns for the solo section and furiously charging through the finale for another strong effort. ‘The Raging Planet’ features swirling technical riff-work and charging rhythms with pounding drumming carrying through the fine series of impressive challenging riffing leading along through the melodic solo section and bringing the tight rhythms along through the extended final half for one of the better efforts here. ‘Ballot or Bullet’ uses a brief sampled speech before blasting through blazing riff-work and plenty of high-speed drumming charging forth in tight, crunchy patterns frantically blasting into the surging solo section and letting the blistering rhythms carry into the finale for another stellar track. ‘Manhunt’ uses a swirling, melancholic intro with sterling melodic flair that quickly turns into ripping riff-work churning through the tight, technical patterns with frantic speed-drenched patterns furiously keeping alongside the pounding drumming through the swirling series of churning riffing into the solo section carrying along through the bristling final half for an utterly spectacular highlight.
The second half here is slightly lower than the first half but still comes packed with highlights. ‘Cheat & Pretend’ takes a simple mid-tempo churning rhythm and plodding mid-tempo drumming brimming with plenty of steady melodic patterns in the riff-work holding this in a very simple, straightforward pace leading into the solo section and leading along through the finale for the album’s first real bland effort. The title track features buzzing discordant riffing to lead into stellar and frantic thrashing patterns with stellar mid-tempo churning riffing leading through the fiery arrangements leading to the melodic solo section and letting the energetic riff-work and pounding drumming carry the frantic tempos in the finale for an absolutely stellar highlight that gets this back in action perfectly. ‘Vale of Tears’ offers melancholic riff-work and light ambient rhythms throughout the soft patterns with a gradual appearance of pounding drumming alongside harder arrangements switching along between the different styles as the churning solo section carries the plodding tempos into the final half for another rather bland effort. ‘Alien Godz’ features churning mid-tempo riffing and pounding drumming to eventually settle into a blistering charge full of speed-drenched riffing and plenty of pounding drumming carrying the frantic, fiery rhythms and blasting drumming that fires through the solo section and carrying along through the finale for another strong, impressive offering. Finally, album-closer ‘El Muerte’ uses a tight, thumping technical series of riff-work and pounding drumming with plenty of challenging rhythms leading into plenty of fiery patterns and pounding drumming carrying the high-speed rhythms along through the swirling solo sections and charging along to the frantic final half for a bruising and dynamic highlight that ends this on a high-note.
For a band to remain as consistent and enjoyable as they’ve been from the beginning makes them one of the undervalued and overlooked heavyweights in the style with ease as this is another stellar addition to their discography and makes for a superb choice for thrashers in general, aficionados of the more classic metal sound or just those looking for good solid metal in general.
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