Released: 2016, AFM Records
Celebrating 30 years as a band, Paradox returns with their 7th LP in PANGEA, coming three years after the well-received TALES OF THE WEIRD. Named after the ancient super continent, PANGEA offers up the hyper, committed and technical brand of thrash these Germans have been peddling since day one. In keeping with their milestone anniversary, PANGEA is the band’s longest album to date at roughly 60 minutes. The original lineup was also brought together for the title track, offering a bit of recognition and nostalgia for the long-time fans.
PANGEA is an album with a loud mix, really a strange sound that takes some time to digest. The songs are melodic, fast and nervous, moving through numerous riffs and changes. We get a history/political lesson in “Ballot or Bullet”, a reference to Malcolm X’s 1964 King Solomon Baptist Church speech. It is blistering and anxiety inducing. “Manhunt” comes at just the right time, the clean intro offering a brief respite from the first 4 pummeling songs before transitioning into decidedly faster fare.
“Cheat & Pretend” is also a welcome mid-tempo chugger, recalling Rage at their best. “Vale Of Tears” offers more variety, being sort of balladic in a dissonant, Nevermore way. Mostly though, this album resembles current Helstar with dashes of old Coroner, Paradox capable of equaling the former but not the latter. While there are vague power metal references in the melodies, this is basically thrash for complexity-obsessed speed freaks, Paradox incapable of standing still long enough to offer a hook or groove. Fans of this type of thrash should be pleased, as this is highly accomplished and does not really sound like anyone else, Paradox somehow continuing to intensify as they age.