11 Paranoia’s are an interesting bunch. Relying solely on improvisation and stream of consciousness/heat of the moment song writing, the seriously psychedelic, fuzzed out doom trio have carved out a unique sound and approach to their craft and the result is rather interesting. With some terrific artwork from Surrealist movement pioneer Max Ernst to top it off, it’s time to see where this instinctive audio adventure takes us.
“The Great Somnambulist” opens up the album with a dark and foreboding sound. The deep bass, minimalistic drums and effects coupled with whispered like chanting vocals create a very tense atmosphere which would feel right at home in a nightmare or an old actually scary horror movie, especially when listened to through headphones (which I HIGHLY recommend!). The hypnotic, slightly Middle Eastern-vibe guitar rounds off the song nicely, complimenting the eerie whispers and foreboding sound, in all, it’s a great introduction! “Paranoiditude (Beyond the Grave)” follows with some fuzzed out bass and crashing drums and cymbals. The drone-like noise and massively heavy Sabbath-esque guitar played at a crushingly slow pace hits you full on. The harsh, almost painfully delivered vocals cut through the instrumental wall of noise and help keep the sense of dread from the previous track building. It’s simple, stripped back approach works brilliantly. Only the drums seem to be the complex part, switching from steady beats to pounding, fast fills to up the tension where needed. Halfway through, it takes on a more Bongripper like approach with some serious fuzz and sledgehammer like riffs before the final minute or so of the song is an awkward sounding guitar solo. To summarise this, it’s like an uncomfortable 10 minute long trip through hell, where you’re dragged kicking and screaming all the way!
“Surrealise” opens with a clean bass sound which still keeps the ominous vibe up. Its slow pace with a jazz-like sound mixes it up a little, but it’s still got the same eerie vibe which this album gives off. Round the halfway point, the song kicks to life with a roar of harsh distortion and painful sounding vocals, ramping up the intensity significantly as the word “Surrealise” is almost screamed over and over. Keeping with this more intense approach, it drags itself on before finally fading out with some feedback and sustained effects. “At the Cursus” keeps to the bass and effects starting off the song formula. The slow, scraping noises and swelling effects in the background over the sparse drums and slow bass-line keep the dark scene set for this 12 minute epic. The distortion hits and the bongripper-esque approach returns with the heavy hitting riffs, gradually slowing the song down to an almost crawl like pace. Round 8 minutes in, it enters a break. A steady pounding drum beat which grows in volume is followed by a deep growl and then more heavy as fuck riffs. Despite the slow pace, headbanging to this is mandatory and this continues right up to the end of the track.
“By the light of a Dying Star (Neutron Start)” sounds less sinister as it starts, but with faint whisperings in the intro, it brings back the creepy vibes. The middle-eastern vibe, similar to that of Zaum returns on this track and it works great. Sounding less dark but just as full-on, it grows in volume until it swells into some controlled feedback before descending into some seriously low register, fuzzed-out riff abuse. The thundering sound of the bass is unreal and the howls of feedback between riffs near the end with the low, growled vocals tip this right back into dark sounding territory. “Lost to Smoke” keeps up the full on fuzz and slow pace. Opening up with some heavily echoed clean vocals over slow paced riffs and steady drums, this isn’t as unnerving as previous tracks, but it’s still unsettling despite being the ‘brightest’ sounding track of the album. The ‘out of tune’ sounding leads and spaced out vocals add a sense of psychadelica to this track, and the low siren like noises in the background help make it almost like something you’d expect in one of the Silent Hill games/films. No matter how you look at this, this album just keeps getting more and more twisted as it goes on. Round the mid-point of the song, it picks up the pace and gets into a decent groove before some serious effects-laden bass takes over, really lifting the track. If one were to be on something when listening to it, then this point of the track could possibly be the ideal time to peak, it’s just so surreal sounding, the only way to really justify it is to listen (from 3:30 onwards).
“Retribution of Dreams” closes the album. Its slow pace is a comedown from the previous track’s big finish. The haunting, spaced out vocals remain over the steady drums, keys and deep bass and it keeps the ‘out of it’ feeling going. Being the lightest sounding track of the album so far, it comes as a relief given the previous tracks and even when it picks up the pace and volume round the halfway mark, it isn’t as disturbing as the rest of the album. It’s almost like a reward for making it this far. In the final minute of the song, the guitars drone out, almost descending into feedback, but not quite as the vocals and steady bass lead it into a groove driven fade-out to close the album.
“Stealing fire from heaven” is an experience. No other real way to describe it really. It really plays on the senses and feelings, creating an overwhelming sense of dread and discomfort at times with the dynamic approach the band uses. It’s one hell of an album and well worth checking out! Steal fire from heaven if you dare, just try not to be burned by it as you carry it away.