(9/10) Paradox isn't one of these bands that have all the luck on their side. There aren't a lot of bands that went through tougher times than the guys from Germany. A view on the long list of musicians that have been part of the band shows all the ups and downs of this four-piece. And if this wouldn't have been enough it was founder and Paradox mainman Charly Steinhauer, that went though all kinds of personal challenges, accompanied and caused by health issues, each of them a real downer that led to a change/break for Paradox.
But Steinhauer never gave up, kept Paradox alive and releases nowadays the new album, something I was hoping for but haven't really expected. And not only that we can enjoy new Paradox songs, they are all very good too.
I still can remember when I heard the bands debut "Product of Imagination". This album was a milestone in German thrash metal and the band was compared with rising stars like Metallica. Although the first release is still Paradox's best one especially the last two albums have been great ones as well, showing the potential and creativity that still sits with Steinhauer..
The last album, "Tales of the Weird", was full of thrash metal pearls, including the Rainbow cover "A Light in the Black". The new longplayer "Pangea" is a logical next step and Paradox picks it up where they stopped with the predecessor. It's again this pure thrash metal power merged with a melodic approach which are the main trademarks of Paradox, and all of them can be found on "Pangea".
It feels like the new disc being an outlet for Steinhauer to get rid of all the downers and disappointments of the past. In addition the disc shows a pure joy of playing guitar and singing.
One of my favorites on the album is "Manhunt". The song starts melodic and it's a 'singing' guitar that can be seen as an intro for the song, which is a thrash number that could have been from the "Product of Imagination" session. It's Steinhauer's riffing that is one of the typical Paradox signitures, something that is also a major part in this seven minutes thrash attack.
Paradox is known for longer tunes, something that also finds its continuation on "Pangea". The title track is one of these epical tracks that incudes more creativity than some other bands get into their entire album. Breaks and twists are keeping the level of excitement sky-high, from beginning to end.
A good thrash album also needs songs that are slowly building up to riff monsters. "Vale of Tears" is the name of such a number on "Pangea" that delivers exactly the described. Starting acoustical and more silent, the number develops into a hammering thrasher as soon as the chorus starts. Although the acoustic parts are coming back here and there, "Vale od Tears" stays being a raging metal track that blows you away. And the fact that it's a bit more complex compared with the other tunes makes it even more intersting. It unveils details that you maybe missed earlier.
In case you're looking for a merciless track that is a real headbanger I can recommend "Ballot or Bullet". This one belongs to the fast ones on "Pangea" and it's an angry masterpiece where Steinhauer compresses all what's relevant for Paradox's sound into one track. This tune is a true metal powerhouse.
Somewhere in the beginning I mentioned that Paradox has been seen as the German version of Metallica. Fortunatelly this comparison wasn't right, because Paradox still releases excellent thrash metal records, while the Bay Area legends stopped with this kind of music after having released the "Black Album".
Great to have Paradox back and we can only wish Steinhauer and the band that the future will bring far more positive things than what the past had to offer. Horns up and respect for all this willpower.
- The Raging Planet
- Ballot or Bullet
- Cheat & Pretend
- Vale of Tears
- Alien Godz
- El Muerte
Label: AFM Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
Release Date EU: June 3rd, 2016