A great way to start a week is with having your brain smacked back and forth inside your skull so that you are completely awake and ready to tackle your environment. Right? No? OK, be skeptical all you want, but having music that will stimulate your mind and force you to be aware is good for your soul and, in turn, your productivity.
Well, today’s metallic helping will allow you to achieve that mental state described above, as Void Paradigm’s warped, progressive-fed black metal is sure to leave you uneasy and at a higher state of mental alertness. You really have no choice if you’re going to take on their stunning second record “Earth’s Disease” (out on Apathia Records) because once they have you in their grasp, you are a slave to their whims. There is no time, nor any room, to stretch out for comfort. The band puts you into an aggressive, demanding workout over these five tracks, and this follow-up to their 2012 self-titled debut (which was released by Totalrust) ups the ante not only for Void Paradigm but for forward-thinking black metal in general.
The three musicians who comprise this lineup also made their marks with other bands. Vocalist Jonathan Thery made his mark in Ataraxie, Funeralium, and Bethlehem, among others; guitarist/bassist Julien Payan also plays in Ataraxie and also spends time with Sordide; while drummer Alexis Damien is in Orena and Pin-Up Went Down. They combine their flexible resources to make for a dynamic, noisy, hypnotic trip that’s more quaking than it is mesmerizing. They certainly space out in spots, but never long enough to let your mind wander. If it does, the band yanks it back to reality and puts it through enough punishment that you’ll not think of drifting off again. Hence why this record is a good way to get your motivated to tackle a new week.
The record opens with “Crushing the Human Skull,” a song that tells you everything you need to know in its title and gets to work with reverberating noise and muddy chaos. Once the track rips open in full, you are treated to throaty growling, a sludgy feel, and lead guitar work that sounds properly damaged. Crazed howls find their way into the madness, with voices swirling in the air and the band speeding up as the track reaches its end. “Revenge” bursts all over the place, with a dizzying, proggy edge to the track, exploratory playing soaring alongside the damaged growling, and some really cool melodies making their presence known. The track hits a burst, with the drums decimated, guitars bustling, and the back end dissolved in a bed of sound. The title cut opens in static, with each element added in calculated fashion until it reaches the point where everything becomes unhinged. It can get dreamy at times, no doubt, but there is a ton of chaos going on, challenging your senses, before the final minutes are taken over completely by violin and cello scraping their way over the land, leaving a bloody path behind them.
“Sick Life Fading” has dark guitars swelling, creaky speaking spilling in, and a tempo that seems destined for the stars. But suddenly it supernovas, with tricky and heavy playing, a great sense of melody tied in, and some strong riffs that remind a bit of Rush’s Alex Lifeson (which obviously makes me insanely happy). The vocals sound like mad howls, and the guitars swirl at the end, combining with the other elements to cause a vertigo effect. The mammoth 11:08 closer “From the Earth to the Skies” feels atmospheric at the start, but then things get crunchy and scathing, pushing the violence forward, but always taking time to go back to blue-sky entries where the coolness breezes your cheeks, and slow-driving mud awaits at the other side. The situation settles and boils, with eruptions ripping from the earth, the band settling into more progressive waves, and one final implosion being met with militaristic drums and a heavy noise fog settling in and sweeping you away.
Void Paradigm’s approach to their music is fresh and fun, and they never try to fit into any patterns or paint by numbers. This band has a bravado and a creativity you have to admire, and those traits are all over “Earth’s Disease.” This album is a great choice if you need something to get your brain up and running or if you just want a slab of black metal that’s not terribly interested in playing by the rules.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/voidparadigm
To buy the album, go here: http://shop.apathiarecords.com/en/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.apathiarecords.com/