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Paradox - Tales Of The Weird Award winner

Paradox
Tales Of The Weird
by Salvador Aguinaga II at 15 November 2012, 4:19 PM

This is all I have to write and it would be a good review but I have to play the unbiased party. Christian Muenzner, he’s one of the guitarists for OBSCURA and previously worked in NECROPHAGIST having the album, “Epitaph“, under his belt and also has his solo project going for him and several other projects. Not only did he deliver the masterpiece, “Omnivium” in 2011 but also within a month’s time after this magnum opus his solo project’s debut “Timewarp” was released. In 2012 we see the release of SPAWN OF POSSESSION’s “Incurso” and now we have PARADOX’s “Tales Of The Weird”. I really hope he keeps up this stride and as far as the material here goes there’s nothing to worry about him slowing down anytime soon.

The title track, “Tales Of The Weird” begins with a stormy night, rain pouring and etching the earth with acoustics pushing the music forward. A wolf howls into the eternal night, calmly but rushingly surging that energy through your spine. The acoustics control your movements, confined into the black night turning towards the eminent dawn. Once the rest of the instruments start to engage you are hypnotized, senselessly trying to bring you back from that beautiful shock you didn’t know you were in. When it comes to the multitude of solos the first one sounds like time shifted into the Egyptian realm trying to resurrect a pharaoh from his decrepit sarcophagus. Well done Muenzner and not only him but the rest of the crew. This is easily one of the best songs on the album.

I don’t know what equipment Muenzner used on the album but he sure has a different unique tone. It’s apparent on “Brutalized”. On the first solo you get this new tone and it’s just warming and comfortable to hear. A melodic solo and when it reaches a higher pitch it’s what I’d like to compare as a bee humming a song during the brightest summer. I didn’t hear it upon my first voyage through this album. In fact it took me three times to really notice it. On the second solo it’s like “Screw it! I’m Christian Muenzner and I want to play a full on progressive/technical death metal solo.” It’s called “Brutalized” for a reason and no I don’t think he’s conceited as I make him to be so just follow along and don’t pay too much mind to it. The outro is folk influenced as was “Tales Of The Weird” after the howling of the wolf. Spellbinding and it leads you into the mood of the next song. It’s like reading an ancient book and following along with the unorthodox adventures.

I could be wrong but “Fragile Alliance” seemed to be slightly influenced by CHILDREN OF BODOM. Listen to “Cry of the Nihilist”, the riff starting at (1:40). Let that song sink in and come back to this one. It’s about less than a second but it has the same vibe, at least to me. It repeats itself three times on different points of the song. On certain passages Charly Steinhauer sounded like James Hetfield back when his voice had a more melodic and innocent quality to it. Also there’s clapping towards the end or maybe it’s something else but I agree that this album deserves an applause. “Escalation” starts off real thrashy also the riffs prior to the solo have a classical-esque composition quality to them and as a classical music fan I really enjoy combos of the sort. Muhammed Suicmez is quite guilty of this as well, check out the song, “Intestinal Incubation” full of that great majesty of the 18th century. “Slashdead” gets the award for strangest song off the album but hey this is “Tales Of The Weird” so it fits nicely. It’s a straightforward thrash song but it articulates a bit on tangents. Towards the ending it brings back good memories of Pokemon when it says “Slash!”, Sandslash anyone?

“Zeitgeist”is personally my favorite song off the album. I actually know the word since it was discussed in my psychology class. If the translation is correct it means “spirit of the times.” It’s the perfect track in describing the obscurity and gentleness of the album. First “Tales Of The Weird” with its trip back to the times of pharaohs and during a period where the sun was deemed as a god and among several other deities. Then “Escalation” with its classical fluidity and now “Zeitgeist”. This song’s where my inception of the idea of the humming bees came from, “Brutalized” further supports the point. The concept of spirit of the times fits great with my perception of the bees which leads to that birds and the bees speech to explain reproduction. It is the beginning of life and exploration. It creates people and with people it creates these atmospheres during a certain period in time, thus spirit of the times or “Zeitgeist”. On “The Downward Spiral” it seemed to be influenced by DEATH’s “The Flesh and the Power It Holds” (around 3:03) on two different points during “The Downward Spiral“. The bass created the illusion that I was going in a spiral. A chaotic stream of an evolving abstract staircase that disappeared within a few moments if one isn’t quick enough to get on the ride.

Overall, this is a very impressive album and trust me when I say the more you listen to it the better it gets. There’s a chance you won’t think much of it the first time around as you might be hypnotized by Muenzner’s guitar work that initially the rest seems inferior to it. Alas don’t fear, digest the album well, its replay value is really high. V. Santura did an amazing job on mixing and mastering, definitely giving PARADOX an evolutionary album. Bass had a tendency to be technical in sneaky places but Olly Keller had his own style. The synergy between the bass and guitars reminded me so much of OBSCURA. Only problem I seemed to have is the drums were at times oblivious in the mix. I actually heard the bass more than the drums. I’m sure though with a few more runs with this album I’ll be able to hear it more and better comprehend Daniel Buld’s contributions.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tales of the Weird
2. Day of Judgement
3. Brutalized
4. Fragile Alliance
5. Escalation
6. Brainwashed
7. Slashdead
8. Zeitgeist
9. The Downward Spiral
10. A Light in the Black
Lineup:
Charly Steinhauer - Vocals, Guitar
Achim Homerlein “Daxx” - Lyrics
Christian Muenzner - Guitars
Daniel Buld - Drums
Olly Keller - Bass
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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