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Void Paradigm - Earth's Disease

Void Paradigm
Earth's Disease
by Danny Sanderson at 17 June 2015, 2:57 PM

France is a nation that hasn't produced a great number of memorable Metal bands. However, when a band from this country comes to our attention, it has a tendency to stick in our memories for a long while. Think of bands like GOJIRA and ALCEST, as well as one of the many excellent Black Metal acts that 90's gave us, from the likes of MUTIILATION to BLUT AUS NORD, this is country with a small yet incredibly strong Extreme Metal pedigree. This country’s music tends to lean more towards the Progressive, and bands like VOID PARADIGM manage to blend Extreme Metal with these sorts of flourishes with varying degrees of success. Their latest album, "Earth's Disease", is a prime example of this, and holds true to the trend of other French bands, heading down the path less trodden in favour of creating the bizarre and the interesting.

"Crushing the Human Skull" opens with a very thick, powerful ambient piece, before it turns into a very modern, raw take on Black Metal. It's marked by progressive flourishes, vicious vocals and scatter-brained drum work. Genuine riffs and catchy guitar work are used sparingly, and it really starts to pick up within the last couple of minutes of this track. It sadly falls short of a really good track, but nonetheless sets the listener up for the rest of the record.  "Revenge" picks up the pace, and is a very progressive take on Black Metal, with a lot of dissonant chords and time changes that are, at times, just a little bit jarring. One of the stand-out high points of this track is the vocals, which sound pretty good, and hang over the track with a harsh, metallic rasp. The song ends on some feedback that is really well placed. The album’s title track, "Earth's Disease", is the point when the album really starts to pick up the pace and become a far more interesting affair. It slowly builds up with some interesting riffs interlaced with some ambience, and becomes some genuinely eerie, vicious sounding Progressive Black Metal that goes on for a few minutes, followed by some really cool, creepy music that sounds a bit like a violin. This is a really nice touch that really makes the track, and it's a shame that these elements aren't used as often, because they sound amazing. The penultimate track, "Sick Life Fading", is one that again gradually gets bigger and bigger layering on new aspects to their sound, until we get some really powerful, visceral Black Metal with some experimental touches. It's another one of the album’s better efforts, and really helps bring the album to a climax before the closing gambit, "From the Earth to the Skies". This song is easily the stand-out track on this album. The opening riff sounds awesome, and the drumming only serves to make it sound even better. The band have managed to get the balance between progression and classic sounds just about right on this particular tune. It's absolutely monolithic, spanning over eleven minutes, and it's totally made by the vocals, which cut through the mix and basically demand your attention. The overall dissonance of the guitar lines, the thin yet palpable atmosphere that is present throughout, and the way that the sound shifts gears at just the right points, make this the perfect sound to close this record.

This album is very much hit and miss. There are points on this record that could be vastly improved, and ones that show a band that have their sound down to a tee. If you had given up on this album after the first song, you would never have gotten to the better offerings on here; it's an album that gradually gets better as it goes on, which I feel is actually one of its strengths. The opening track is sadly quite weak in comparison of what we're treated to at the very end of the record. This isn't likely to grow on you instantly, but no doubt it will have sunk its claws in after a few listens. If you are someone who likes their Black Metal to stick to a rigid, time honoured formula, then this might not be the record for you. But if you like your Black Metal with a generous helping of progressive sounds, then by all means I urge to you find this and give it a spin.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Crushing the Human Skull
2. Revenge
3. Earth's Disease
4. Sick Life Fading
5. From the Earth to the Skies
Lineup:
Alexis Damien - Drums
Julien Payan - Guitars, Bass
Jonathan Thery - Vocals
Record Label: Apathia Records
     


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