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A sweet-sounding technical thrash fest, Empyrean hits us full force from the first second as Sweden’s Paranorm release their first full-length album after a 7-year absence since 2014’s promising EP The Edge of Existence.
The guitars crisp and warm, the bass oddly soothing, the drumming blending seamlessly with the guitar riffs enhanced with quality, clean production – there isn’t a weak track on the whole album. With its fair share of quiet-loud-quiet moments, the Swedes lull you with meditative phrasing and soothing breakdowns before feeding you to the thrash wolves. The breakneck speed of the solos and riffs is impressive and it’s nice to not have to hear them struggle in the mix against the drums as is so common these days.
The album is executed with talent and ambition, but the style and sound has been done before and there’s nothing too new about what Paranorm offer: the vocals, and sometimes lyrical choice, are reminiscent of a certain Mille Petrozza, the breakdowns of the early years of little bands called Death, Exodus, and Kreator. Other than that, and maybe the (admittedly glorious) cover art, it’s totally original. What makes Paranorm stand out from their peers is the meaty production, the complexity of the songs, and the obvious talent each member has.
The band have a lot of musical muscles to flex and they do it with aplomb, clearly masters of their craft, offering a lot promise for a scene that is a tad lacking in this department. It’s refreshing to see bands influenced by the original thrash scene heavyweights rather than copying the copycats like so many other members of the scene.
Release date: February 26, 2021
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