St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
This Thursday, I’m going to work a bit backwards with the featured PARADOX and their Product of Imagination 1987 debut. First, I’ll admit these German thrashers are quite new to me, and — more importantly for today’s post — I’ve become better acquainted with their post-revival albums than their older obscurities. Like their countrymen ACCEPT, PARADOX is a band whose newer, meatier style is very well suited to the bombast of today’s big productions, perhaps even helping them outshine their earlier, less streamlined and less consistent efforts.
Listen below for an interesting head-to-head; first Product of Imagination and then BONUS VIDEO: 2012’s Tales of the Weird.
First, Product of Imagination: it seems more than competent, even above average, though perhaps somewhat generic and just slightly too late to ride the Teutonic thrash comet to major label stardom a la KREATOR. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, whatever that means. For fun, check out the “Mechanix”/”Four Horsemen” ripoff at the opening of “Kill That Beast” — not just the opening riff but cadence of the vocals in the verse are a pretty damn close match. Superb! It really shines a light on some of the other MEGADETH influence here, particularly where the riffing turns semi-melodic in that special Mustaine-y way. It also shows a band coming into their own in a genre flooded with acts of the same stripe.
Now the newer work. Improved soundscapes aside, the evolution and maturation of the craft is clear. Some of the overlong, plodding, bouncy or just plain boring parts of old have been excised, and in their wake follow some truly massive thrash riffs with scathing tempos and destructive breakdowns to match. The vocalist adds just enough to highlight the themes, like RUNNING WILD without the over-the-top beer hall choruses, but most of the overt power metal influence ends there. All told, a fair comparison is SEPULTURA’s definitive Beneath the Remains by PARADOX’s penchant for harrowing open-string gallops, swinging mid-paced sections and some rhythmic sleight-of-hand from a truly thoughtful drummer. Subtract some of the acrobatic flexibility of that classic album and color everything with a heavy metal awareness of riff economy, melody and tasteful repetition and we’re right in PARADOX’s realm.
PARADOX have been cranking out this well-oiled style for nearly 15 years now on the German juggernaut AFM Records and I’m glad to have finally discovered them. Now I need to complete my collection, and if I have anything to say about it we’ll have a few of their titles in the shop soon. Be sure to ask for them on your next trip in as well!
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