Reviewed: August 2021
Released: 2021, self-released
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Paradox Of A Broken World is the latest full-length from one-man black metal band Unendlich (aka Michael Connors), from Baltimore, Maryland. Formed in 2010, the project now has four albums under its belt. The three prior releases are: Thanatophobia (2019), Scales Of Existence (2016), and Monarch Of The Damned (2013), with a demo and two EPs released as well over the past decade.
“After two years of brooding, Maryland-based black metal outfit Unendlich have unleashed their fury upon the masses with their ferocious new LP … Paradox of a Broken World juxtaposes the impending doom of a world coming undone at its seams with the consistent need for humans to deny their own reality.”
Leading with “Wisdom of Suffering”, the album is off to a gripping start. The listener is greeted with Connors’ (un-)almighty roar simultaneously with hammering blast beats and razor-sharp riffs straight away, which re-appears towards the end of the track. The opening line “I open my eyes to nothing…” reinforces the pessimism the music communicates, as do the rest of the lyrics. For such a visceral opening track, it does carry a good dose of melody which is further explored later on.
The slower tempo section in the middle of “Space Of Decay” and its eerie outro contrast well with the heavier, faster elements of the song. A very catchy number which is sure to linger in the head of listeners long after they have listened to it.
The riff-work is particularly impressive on “It Consumes You”, showing more flair and variation than most of the other nine tracks, with some of the guitar solos shining during less-chaotic spells.
After a few seconds that are reminiscent of previous song “Space Decay”’s ending, the instant groove-vibe of “Into Abandonment” is compelling as ever, pushing the instrumental elements heard on the second track even further and providing excitement throughout the shortest track on Paradox Of A Broken World.
“Inner Kill” picks up where its predecessor left off, only with a lead guitar appearance from Tyler McCarthy. Tracks four and five are definitely the sorts of songs you would expect to hear at a live show, as they are guaranteed to have the majority of people head-banging early on.
The second half of the album begins with longest song “Mask of the Adversary”, boasting one of the few calming closing moments of all the songs up to this point, bringing an acoustic end in contrast to track two’s science fiction-tinged finale.
Throughout “Being Erased”, here is one particular repeated line that adds another level of catchiness to the music. This track continues the melodic ferocity displayed previously on the album, except the melodies are just about as prevalent as the ferocious elements here.
“Culmination of Hate” manages to keep the mood evoked in track seven, despite beginning much more harshly. Every melody seems much more intertwined with the rougher components, resulting in an enjoyable sonic melting pot of conflicting emotions.
The opening of track nine brings to mind the ending of “Mask Of The Adversary”, before morphing into a different creature. The solos on this one (some courtesy of McCarthy) work well to alter the mood as the song progresses, changing from quite a depressive tone to being very defiant, adding glimmers of hopefulness to “No Hope”.
If track eight was the “Culmination Of Hate”, title song “Paradox of a Broken World” is the culmination of (almost) all the best bits on the album. Blast beats, melodic riffs, atmospheric accents, intergalactic sounds and more all make an appearance here.
On the whole, the ten songs are a little predictable and similar at times, though enjoyable enough. It would be interesting to hear Michael deliver lyrics over the lighter instrumentation (i.e. the acoustic and sci-fi parts), as these moments are atmospheric and otherworldly as they are… his vocals would likely add another layer of welcomed weirdness. That being said, Unendlich is (mostly) the work of one person, so Paradox of A Broken World should be appreciated as one of the black metal releases by a one-man band not to be overlooked in 2021.
Paradox Of A Broken World is out now! Get your copy from Unendlich’s Bandcamp here: unendlichband.bandcamp.com/album/paradox-of-a-broken-world/