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Paradigm Blue – Transist

Paradigm Blue
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 September 2021, 10:20 AM

PARADIGM BLUE is a Progressive Rock trio out of North Carolina. Their new double album is presented here, combining ear-catching melodies with a sprawling Science Fiction epic of self-realization and winding destiny. “The Mobius Trip” is a tribute to the band’s love for RUSH’s “Cygnus X-1” and “Hemispheres.” The album contains fourteen tracks; similar to the way a RUSH album’s tracklist would read.

“Difference Engines (I. The Optimist)” leads off the album. The bass guitar thumps away, with light rhythms and vocals, giving off a TOTO vibe to me. That keyboard solo is very nice. The melodies are subtle, as are the vocal harmonies. “II. Zero One,” the second part of the opening movement, picks up where the previous track left off. Easy listening tones carry the song forward, with pronounced bass notes and dreamy vocals. Once again, keyboards bear much of the melodic sensibilities here. “Part III. The Determinant” features more of those bright keyboard melodies again. Guitars augment the sound. It’s a jovial number that just makes you feel alive.

RUSH vibes really come into play in “Bravo Sierra.” Bassist Ruben struts deep and thick bass notes, with most of the melody in his fingers. Just after the half-way mark, the band goes into full jam mode, and what results is a really nice display of musicianship. Pretty vocal harmonies come in from there. “Perihelion” is a three-and-a-half-minute song linking the lengthy opening piece to the gargantuan closing song. Bass and keys play very well together here, highlighting the band’s songwriting and musical dexterity, especially the energetic closing sequence. “The Mobius Trip” closes the album, in nine movements. “Revelation” is the eight-minute opening act. Bass guitar dances together with keys to create a strong melody line. Towards the middle, the sound drops, with outerspace like elements. Laur does a nice job on the kit here as well.

“Singularity” is a shorter song, beginning with a mid-tempo but slightly darker melody reminds you of your mortality. “Space Angels” opens with a really trippy bass guitar line, full with effects, and a jumping rhythm that gets your blood pumping. Pay special attention to the drum work here as it is fantastic. “Powerless” is a brief interlude of darker sounds, especially in the opening key sequence. It opens up a bit from there, but ends before you realize it. “Solar Sails” is the twelve-minute meat of the track. Beginning with keys and vocals, locked together with a tender approach. From there, the track features an extended instrumental passage where they lose me for a bit, but they seem to know where they are going.

“Veil of Stars” opens with a charming melody and smooth vocal delivery. The vocal harmonies here are very poignant, as is the message of hope among the open skies and starts to be wondered at. “Resistor” begins with more darker tones. Once it gets going however, it another song full of punch and energy, and the band knows when to turn it up. The heavy accents here satisfy the Metalhead in you, but don’t detract from the melodies. “Positron Heart” is very beautiful. The band have found their way once again. If this song doesn’t put a smile on your face and love in your heart, you might already be dead. “Genesis” is the closing act…back to where it all started. The melodies are on point here, and Ruben’s bass guitar work is exceptional. It ends on a long fade-out.

This was a very ambitious outing…14 tracks and a double album…not many bands shoot that high lately. But, this is Progressive Rock, so there you go. Like RUSH, the bass and keys are featured, but without the shrilling vocals, it lacks just a little. Ruben mirrors Geddy Lee, in his application of the three instruments. It is very hard for any band to compare to the Progressive legends that are RUSH. But, PARADIGM BLUE give it everything they have, and although at times they can get just a little bit off track, it’s easy enough to follow. The melodies are perhaps not quite as accessible as they could be, but it’s a fantastic album for those to get lost in on a Sunday.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Difference Engines (I. The Optimist)
2. Difference Engines (II. Zero One)
3. Difference Engines (III. The Determinant)
4. Bravo Sierra
5. Perihelion
6. The Mobius Trip (I. Revelation)
7. The Mobius Trip (II. Singularity)
8. The Mobius Trip (III. Space Angels)
9. The Mobius Trip (IV. Powerless)
10. The Mobius Trip (V. Solar Sails)
11. The Mobius Trip (VI. Veil of Stars)
12. The Mobius Trip (VII. Resistor)
13. The Mobius Trip (VIII. Positron Heart)
14. The Mobius Trip (IX. Genesis)
Juan Mantilla – Electric and Acoustical Guitars
Ruben Moreno – Bass, Vocals, Keys
Steve Laur – Drums, Percussion
Derek Sherinian – Guest (Keyboards)
Record Label: IrisStorm


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