Released: 2012, Napalm Records
Paragon is one of those bands that I consider myself lucky enough to stumble upon quite early in their career. I remember quite distinctly finding the debut (WORLD OF SIN, 1995) album in a record store while on a working holiday in San Antonio, Texas in 1999. Back then in the 90’s when Metal was supposed to be ‘dead’ I was on a high from just seeing two classic Metal bands, Flotsam & Jetsam and Riot live in concert and I was always on the lookout for bands that looked like the Real Metal I craved. WORLD OF SIN looked like it fit the bill so after a blind purchase, I really enjoyed the band and quickly grabbed the second release (THE FINAL COMMAND, 1998) and the new album, at the time, (CHALICE OF STEEL, 1999).
I followed them for a few more years and then for some inexplicable reason I just drifted away from the band and didn’t get the last four studio albums. So here we are in 2012, over 20 years since they formed, and they have just released their 10th album FORCE OF DESTRUCTION. After a long stint with Remedy Records they made the shift to Massacre Records for one album and have now settled on Napalm Records. I’m always impressed when any Metal band in any sub-genre can make it to ten albums, it’s a milestone very few (less than 1%) ever get to achieve.
The four years since SCREENSLAVES has seen more than just a label change. The band endured losing three members and gaining three replacements. Paragon is in fact one of those are and odd bands with no original members left! Well over 20 people have passed through the band over the years and the vocalist, Andreas is pretty much the main sole-survivor of the band from the early era, despite not being the first singer. The new guys are Wolfgang Tewes (guitar) Jan Bertram (guitar) and Jan Bunning on bass. That is a pretty big line-up change but the band has seemed to endure and have come back with a ripping Power Metal beast. The album cover is back to a more classic style in line with the other albums after SCREENSLAVES went with a very modern motif, and the bands long-standing logo (skull and weapons) is back!
As predicted the band has not really changed dramatically, which is such a relief! I don’t want bands like this to change. They have perfected the Metal sound that they started with and the 11-song, 51-minute album is 100% pure, certified Grade A, High-Quality, German Metal. I could write a long, long list of True Metal bands that you could compare Paragon to, but maybe it is time we stared to compare all those other bands like Hammerfall and Majesty to Paragon who were doing it first! The album fits the Metal mold perfectly, pounding double bass, chugging riffs, gravelly voice roaring through songs of battle, steel and fire aided by some killer sound-effects on high-light song ‘Bulletstorm’.
All of the songs on FORCE OF DESTRUCTION are unto themselves a mini-force of destruction with fist-pumping mania and head-banging action bolstered by huge biker-gang choruses! Fun, escapist, and so dedicated to the cause you cannot help but smile, Paragon have put out one of the finer True Metal albums this year.