Paranorm - Empyrean review




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Reviewer:
8.2

59 users:
7.83
Band: Paranorm
Album: Empyrean
Release date: February 2021


01. Critical Mass
02. The Immortal Generation
03. Edge Of The Horizon
04. Intelligence Explosion
05. Cannibal
06. Empyrean
07. Lost Cause
08. Desolate Worlds (Distant Dimensions)


Thrash metal and death metal blended together, that's pretty standard. Progressive metal and death metal? Sure. Progressive metal and thrash metal... uhm... what?

So, what in the name of Hell is going on here?

For real though, Empyrean has an enjoyable blend of thrash metal and death metal, while also delivering on the promise of being a progressive record. And frankly, I was really surprised by this. On one hand you've got a genre that's known for its straightforwardness and speed, and on the other hand we have the length and variety of the other. It's weird, but in a good way.

Anyway, let's discuss the production first. It's good. Guitars have the prominence you would expect from a thrash metal style record and the drums sound fine. That said, I would have liked the cymbals to have a bit more prominence and distinctiveness in the mix, and the same goes for the bass guitar at times, though that small criticism is partially because of my own preferences. Overall this is solid throughout.

Same goes for the vocals on Empyrean, which are a bit of a mix in terms of styles. It's predominantly death metal, but with a bit of blackness around the edges at times, and it works well with the style of the lyrics and music. However, don't expect them to be very varied, because they keep sticking to the same formula for the most part, and while that does help with the consistency in sound, I still feel like a bit more variation would have spiced things up a little bit.

Like I hinted at earlier, I found Empyrean to be really engaging instrumentally. Paranorm managed to hit the right balance between all the different subgenres. The result is a record with nice variety, intensity and pacing. It doesn't happen too often that a thrash album offers some room for softer moments. This one does, and that increased the engagement factor for me significantly.

Also worth mentioning are some of the influences that you can hear on this record. The most notable ones I can think of are Megadeth and Vektor. But also another band came to mind: a band that came into the news the last couple of weeks because of what the founder did. I heard some "Framing Armageddon" in "Edge Of The Horizon" for instance.

Paranorm came into existence 10 years ago and this is their very first LP. All in all, Empyrean delivers a nice package of music; a good harmony between the different styles, good flow and pace make this record pretty easy to recommend. However, be aware that while this does strike the right balance overall, that also means that you as a listener have to be interested in these subgenres. I think for people that are exclusively looking for a straightforward thrash record, this might not be their best option. Again, I think it does the thrash side of things really well, but the death and progressive elements can't be ignored. So, if you're down for an album that likes to experiment with genres, this is definitely a worthy one to give a spin.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 27.02.2021 by You know I'm right, you just haven't realised it yet...


Comments

Comments: 7   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 75 users
28.02.2021 - 14:43
Esimunth

Great record, I hear a lot of Death, Megadeth, Iced Earth, Psychotic Waltz, and even some melodeath influences here. Vocals are easily discernable throughout which is also a plus. Excited to see what their future records will sound like.
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28.02.2021 - 15:43
tominator
At best deranged
Written by Esimunth on 28.02.2021 at 14:43

Great record, I hear a lot of Death, Megadeth, Iced Earth, Psychotic Waltz, and even some melodeath influences here. Vocals are easily discernable throughout which is also a plus. Excited to see what their future records will sound like.


I agree this is a really strong LP debut. They have a promising future ahead of them.
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28.02.2021 - 18:31
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Very solid album indeed. A fun listen with many influences as described in the review.
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01.03.2021 - 12:22
musclassia

On track 2 now, my mind definitely goes to Vektor, but I can also hear hints of some of the other bands named here too. Really cool sound, hope the rest of the album keeps it up as it should be one of the best thrash albums to come out this year if it does
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01.03.2021 - 13:27
tominator
At best deranged
Written by musclassia on 01.03.2021 at 12:22

On track 2 now, my mind definitely goes to Vektor, but I can also hear hints of some of the other bands named here too. Really cool sound, hope the rest of the album keeps it up as it should be one of the best thrash albums to come out this year if it does


For me it maintained the same level of quality throughout. Though it's too early to really tell, I can definitely see it as a worthy contender for best thrash album of this year.

They've got a good thing going on here.
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03.03.2021 - 03:36
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
It also reminds me quite a bit of Carcariass.
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03.03.2021 - 13:42
tominator
At best deranged
Written by Dream Taster on 03.03.2021 at 03:36

It also reminds me quite a bit of Carcariass.


Haven't listened to them yet. I'll have to check them out then.
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