Four years ago, ‘Force of Destruction’ blew me away, and I finally managed to catch Paragon at a later Hammerfest show, a real treat for myself and speaking with the band afterwards was a fan boy moment for me! Paragon have countless albums behind them, highlights include the aforementioned ‘Force of Destruction’, ‘Steelbound’ and ‘Law of the Blade’; but this new release ‘Hell Beyond Hell’, see’s Paragon moving even further into the stratosphere.
It’s noticeably darker in its stance, as the PR material suggests, mainly some of the chord progressions and atmospherics you hear from time to time, but still in character of the known Paragon. On ‘Hell Beyond Hell’, we welcome the return of founding guitarist Martin Christian, so that may have something to do with it I suppose, but whatever the reason, this is another album that’s a show stopper if it were a band you had just discovered.
Sticking with what they know best, the album is once again produced by Piet Sielck, and results in a slick and heavy representation that booms out of your sound system, in various formats too; the modern MP3 player, the car and the good old separates hi-fi, its works on all levels, something I cannot say about a lot of modern releases. Moving onto the more hell-raising tracks like ‘Stand Your Ground’ you are rewarded with tireless guitar explosions whilst other tracks like ‘Buried In Blood’ and its predecessor ‘Meat Train’ show a particular level of depth of character mixing light and shade and coming across as very intense when required. It worth getting the expanded edition of this album as the bonus track ‘Thunder in the Dark’ is pretty cool too.
If you are looking for a burst of excitement, strong vocals, warrior like togetherness then ‘Hell Beyond Hell’ is the place to be. You hear the enhancements to their previous releases, but what you don’t hear is any lessoning of the Paragon arsenal, that my friends is very strong.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)