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Paralydium – Worlds Beyond Award winner

Paralydium
Worlds Beyond
by Joseph Brewer at 01 July 2020, 9:05 PM

One of the joys of being a metal fan is that so many bands can take you on a journey with any number of entertaining themes. Real world experiences or adventures in fantasy worlds, there is no real limit to the imagination that these artists can imbue into their music. One of my personal favorite past times is sci-fi: movies, TV shows, and comics all stand out as very accessible mediums to delve into the openness of space, in no small part because of their ability to appeal to your visual sense. In the musical world, this task is much more challenging as all of that imagery needs to be conveyed through sound alone, ideally without leaning too hard on cheesy synth. “Worlds Beyond”, the debut album by progressive metal band PARALYDIUM, is a cosmic tale of adventure through space that not only succeeds at giving you a true sci-fi experience; but is also a top-tier metal album.

Enter Paralydium” kicks off the adventure with a sweeping, epic orchestral arrangement. String instruments frantically sway, the drums pop in with odd tempos, the chimes ring true, and most prominent of all is the brassy horn instruments blaring in majesty. I love the effect that brass and orchestra can have when combined with electric guitar and PARALYDIUM executes it perfectly here. They arrange the score in a way to present feelings of wonder, awe, and excitement, but as the instruments are recognizable and classic, it provides the imagery of an alien planet: familiar, yet exotic, an exciting locale of the setting of this concept album.

This then leads into the first full song of the album, “Within The Sphere”. Now, you get a taste of the true sound of the band, an energetic, epic, pulsing, progressive metal experience. The song gets off to a powerful start, all instruments roaring awake before Mikael Sehlin enters and sets the opening scene for the album. John Berg on guitars and Jonathan Olsson on bass lay down a simple, atmospheric melody that pushes forward with spacey synth keyboard action from Mikael Blanc. Underneath it all, pushing the song forward to a crescendo at the chorus is drummer Georg Härnsten Egg. Berg and Blanc in particular really shine in the majority of the songs by either trading arpeggiated moving solos with each other or, my personal favorite, teaming up for a guitar/keys harmony that will blow your mind.

Synergy” is up next and is definitely my favorite song from the album. As a fan of progressive power metal, this track hits all of those characteristics that make the genre so musically addicting. To start, this track kicks off with an insane instrumental section that would please any DREAM THEATER fan. Once Sehlin comes in, however, he takes the song over and blasts it into new heights. As the song continues on, the bridge reaches a progression in the chorus and Sehlin soars with the band in an absolutely stunning way. It’s a fantastic melody and will undoubtedly get stuck in your head for weeks. His voice has the high purity in the falsetto that works so well for this genre, but Sehlin also has an ability to add grit and power that imbues emotion and energy into the lyrics. The influences of SYMPHONY X are strong in “Worlds Beyond” and Sehlin caps that off with vocal power akin to the great Russell Allen.

PARALYDIUM cap off an incredible front half of “Worlds Beyond” with the next two tracks, “Finding The Paragon” and “Crystal Of Infinity”. “Finding The Paragon'' was the single for the album and continues all of the positives that the band can deliver. When you dig into the lyrics, you see that they are working hard to add detail to the story of adventure and discovery of their protagonist and cleverly use genre-related words to elevate that point without it coming off as silly. “Crystal of Infinity'' slows things down to an almost ballad level, but one that still has a pulse and movement. The chorus is outstanding, Sehlin’s vocals soaring majestically and the musicians behind him laying down a head banging rhythm that works perfectly. The best moment though comes at the very end when the song has repeated the chorus a few times and is winding down. PARALYDIUM hits an abrupt turn and Sehlin erupts in an intense growl “Something awakens…”. The effect is unexpected and foreboding, adding to the drama of the story.

After an appropriately named instrumental track, “Awakening”, PARALYDIUM finishes the album with three more amazing songs. This review has already run long so I won’t go into details; but rest assured that each song is written extremely well, executed to perfection, and most importantly, interesting and engaging. PARALYDIUM have really mastered the art of delivering an epic, addicting chorus on just about every song; a reward for following the story and participating in the journey of the album’s protagonist.

This is one of the first albums in a long time that has had me coming back to it over and over again. It’s satisfying that need for “old school” power-prog metal that bands like SYMPHONY X and PAGAN’S MIND are famous for, but haven’t delivered in recent years. Hats off to the members of the band for committing to the album, as there were many years between the release of “Worlds Beyond” and the original demo. Not only is this debut album by PARALYDIUM well worth the wait, it is amazing enough that it should be topping the “best” lists for metal fans this year.

Favorite Songs: “Synergy”, “Crystal Of Infinity”, “The Source

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

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enter Paralydium
2. Within The Sphere
3. Synergy
4. Finding The Paragon
5. Crystal Of Infinity
6. Awakening
7. The Source
8. Into Divinity
9. Seeker Of The Light
Lineup:
John Berg – Guitars
Georg Härnsten Egg – Drums
Mikael Blanc – Keys
Mikael Sehlin – Vocals
Jonathan Olsson – Bass
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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