It’s an unfortunate fact that many 80’s Metal bands, right across the board, just can’t win whatever they do. Thrash bands cop for it more than most because of the 90’s. They either split up (and get a kicking for giving up) or try to mold their style to fit in with a new perceived direction…and get a kicking for selling out or band-wagon jumping. Then there are a few bands who have stuck to their roots, stayed true to their style and promptly got a kicking for not evolving. Basically, you just can’t please everybody, so why not just do what you enjoy?
Paradox seem to have learned this last ideal right from album three back in 2000. Prior to that, they released two weighty, well received Thrash/Speed Metal albums in the late 80’s and then 10 years later promptly picked up right where they left off. They have continued to do this every few years since and now here we are in 2016 and album number 7 is unmistakably the band that released “Product Of Imagination” way back in 1987. Now OK, that is mainly down to the distinctive vocals and writing style of founding member Charly Steinhauer who basically IS Paradox (The Speed Metal equivalent of fellow countryman Rock n’ Rolf…but without a Pirate fixation) and has shaped Paradox right from the start.
Undeniably Teutonic, as well as having their own distinct style, for the uninitiated they occupy (and always have occupied) an area that mixes a little European Thrash like Kreator or Destruction with some U.S. Speed Metal of say Overkill or Metal Church. As echoed on “Pangea”, this gives Paradox the scope to straddle the genres and stir them up as much as they want, mixing Thrash rhythms and almost barked verses with sung choruses and even hints of occasional Power Metal. There is a great balance of styles on display within a spectrum that can nudge all the way into a Slayer type Thrash (‘Ballot Or Bullet’), or reign it back into an almost Pariah or Malice style Metal like in ‘Cheat Or Pretend’. There’s loads of great riffs on show, a powerhouse rhythm section – tight as you could want, and all wrapped up in a crystal clear, knowledgeable production.
If it’s energy and aggression mixed with dashes of melody and acres of maturity that you like in your Thrash/Speed Metal then not only are Paradox still ticking the boxes, they have a whole back catalogue of box ticking for you to check out. Totally relevant in the modern age and showing the newer Thrash pups a trick or two, Paradox have definitely still got it.
(7.5/10 Andy Barker)