Company: Napalm Release: 2012 Genre: Power Reviewer: EC
This is the best the band has sounded in years
This German grunt truck has been pushing heavy Teutonic metal since the early 90s. In a time where more bands were opting out of metal (US and otherwise), Paragon were just stepping in. Ten records so far and the band has made quite a name for themselves, at this point doing Grave Digger and Running Wild much better than Rolf and Chris. All great things eventually seem to recycle, the life's blood drained and then filled again. That same sort of cycle has affected Paragon.
For this tenth studio effort the band has a complete makeover. In fact this band does not have one single remaining member from it's conception and debut record (Exciter anyone?). The original Paragon that we knew has departed and what remains are the two oldest members in Andreas Babuschkin and Jan Bunning, both of which joined six years after the band's beginning. Going into 2012 the band replaced guitarists Martin Christian (founding member) and Gunny Kruse (joined in 2007) with newcomers Jan Bentram and Wolfgang Tewes. Bassist Dirk Siefert is replaced by Jan Bunning, an odd circumstance considering Siefert replaced Bunning back in 2007. With all of the internal changes comes a difference in labels as well. The five year marriage with Massacre Records has ended and the group begin their new life with Napalm.
So are the changes an improvement or a decline in quality?
"Force Of Destruction" rivals and may even surpass the band's crowning achievement in "Law Of The Blade". This is the best the band has sounded in years and improves in terms of guitar playing, production and intensity. "Iron Will" starts the show with a massive chorus and mid-way you can hear the dueling melodic leads from Tewes and Bentram, something that has never really been present before. That same chemistry prevails on "Rising From The Black", amazing twin guitar dueling about three minutes into the song. We still get the trademark Teutonic galloping, evident on Accept like "Gods Of Thunder" and "Blades Of Hell", both packing a punch in the way the guitars are really crips and up front, all locked and loaded with the pounding double bass and quick snap snares. The band show off some slower numbers on "Dynasty" and the ghoulish "Demon's Lair" and throw down some serious Candlemass doom on epic "Blood And Iron". The band still place speedy numbers in the mix as well, highlight being the Running Wild like "Secrecy". The album comes with two bonus tracks, a mean cover of Accept's "Son Of A Bitch" and an alternate version of "Blood And Iron" featuring Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween).
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details