25 years ago Paradox released their debut called “Product Of Imagination” and at the time they gained a big foothold onto the thrash scene that was set in concrete once they unleashed “Heresy” in 1989 and still is arguably their best album, though I prefer the debut, but I would wouldn’t I. Unfortunately the band failed to get anywhere and disbanded only reforming in 1999 to play Wacken Open Air, a show I missed when I was there due to big band clashes. After this event the band started up again and released “Collision Course” and for all intent and purpose Paradox was back to business as usual with solid thrash of German variety but with more than a healthy dose of the Bay Area style. However it was to be relatively short lived as the subsequent serious health problems of mainman Charly Steinhauer hindered any more album releases, obviously, until 2006 with more live shows and the eventual new album “Electrify” which was a resoundingly excellent album and followed by the also excellent “Riot Squad” in 2009. Seeing the band at Headbangers Open Air 2009 and convincing my mates they were worth seeing saw them eat humble pie as the band was truly awesome live and fun to watch too. So three years on from then and Paradox has a new album which sees the band’s finely tuned thrash metal continuing and enhancing where “Riot Squad” left off.
It takes a brave band to open with a nine minute tune which is what Paradox does with the title track which has an eerie if predictable acoustic introduction with accompanying effects. The build up of the song is palpable until their trademark vicious guitar sound unfolds into the first main riff which is indubitably immense and very 80s like. There is no denying the bands modernised style which smacks of being smart yet retaining the edge of 80s intensity within the framework of the song. The speed is quick as expected with plenty of double bass being used for power. The bands penchant for guitar hooks and lead runs is firmly intact as the tune actually has a power metal cleanliness about it especially on the vocal delivery. “Day Of Judgement” returns the band to speed metal riffing brutality with cymbal smashes aplenty signalling the song to up the pace and start moving at breakneck thrash velocity. In fact the pace is rather unrelenting preferring to snap the necks of listeners with speed that is fast enough to bang your head to without inducing tendon snapping damage. Musically there is more than a nod to Annihilator on this tune though this is Paradox through and through.
“Brutalized” does what you would expect it to, with spiked speed metal fists clenched tight the riff thrashes and bashes its way very like the material on “Riot Squad” as the tune veers close to newer Artillery material. Comparing this album to the bands discography one could say this album tones down the speed in favour of more textured guitar sections and a softer approach on the vocals, but I think this is due to the production which is more rounded and definitely does have softer feel though the riffs are no less vicious. I’d even say there are touches of Iced Earth on “Slashdead” with the heavy guitar sound being used to create a fat thrasher of tune that is accompanied by a short interlude of acoustics before the albums closing song “The Downward Spiral” which has a cracking riff and a beat not too far off something more deathly like.
Apparently the Japanese version of the album will come with the bonus track which if it doesn’t make it onto the rest of the world versions will be a shame as I am certain plenty of people will want to hear it seeing as it is a cover of Rainbow’s “A Light In The Black” and the first time I have ever heard a cover of what is my favourite song of all time and has been for 30 years now. Such a complex guitar and keyboard driven tune is no easy song to cover and Paradox do an admirable job as there is even the keyboard solo as well those sublime lead solos; even the vocals are done exceptionally well. I am still and always will be a Paradoxbanger so go check this under rated band out as I’m sure if the band could get on a tour with Evile here thrashers would bloody love them.
(9/10 Martin Harris)