PARADOX – TALES OF THE WEIRD
Label: AFM Records
Release Date: December 14, 2012 (EU)
Back in the 80s, the world saw the face of Thrash Metal as it manifested on the west shore of the States, an era which today we all know as Bay Area Thrash Movement. This period surely marked an epoch in the history of heavy metal and led to birth of major bands Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus and many more. During the same time, another wave of thrash metal, comparatively less known to people, originated in Germany, known as Teutonic Thrash. It possessed more powerful and classified characteristics like faster palm-muted riffs, more gravelly and raspy vocals, even speedier double bass drums and complex song structures. One such band, which made a huge contribution to the German thrash metal scene, is Paradox. Hailing from Würzburg in 1986, Paradox is often credited as a very major influence in early thrash metal scene in Germany.
One very characteristic feature of the band’s sound is its heavy influence from progressive/power/melodic metal. The songs have a complex riffage, verses are often bridged with clean guitar melodies and vocals have an immense touch of power metal. Paradox have been on and off the heavy metal radar with n number of line-up changes, with Charly Steinhauer being the only constant member throughout handling the vocal and guitar duties on releases. Charly along with Christian Muenzner on guitars (the man we know from Necrophagist and Obscura), Olly Keller on bass and Daniel Buld on drums, releases Paradox’s sixth studio album, Tales Of The Weird, on December 14, 2012. (January in North America)
Tales Of The Weird bears an obvious resemblance to their third album, Heresy, right from the artwork to music aspects. Just like Heresy, this albums kicks in with a melodic and clean intro of title track which merges into typical ground-breaking thrash riff. We can witness a brilliant fusion of melodic choruses with relatively thrashy verses and the hole drilling speedy solo simply kills. Talking about solos, the album has absolutely mindblowing guitar solos with insane amount of shredding and sweeping. You would get a good roller coaster ride if you were travelling along Muenzner’s fingers in those enthralling sweeps. I would generally state the good ones in the record but Tales Of The Weird features frantic and electric solos in every song.
As I have mentioned earlier that the sound of the album carries a progressive/melodic wave of thrash metal, which is often despised by a typical thrash fan. Tracks like “Slashdead”, “Brainwashed”, “Escalation” and “Day Of Judgement” contain some pure thrashy riffs, which would be the perfect for their butchery; whereas the melodic listeners would cherish the guitar harmonies of “Fragile Alliance”, “Brutalized” and “Zeitgeist”. “Zeitgeist” is a short acoustic piece featured on the album which features gracious work on guitars with an impeccably laid bassline. The word Zeitgeist means “Spirit of the times”.
We can witness some fine work on bass throughout the album. Unlike a conventional thrash record, the bass is very much audible and the walloping basslines on the songs enriches the dynamics of the album. The work on drums is insane. The record also displays insane work on drums with lightning fast double bass and escalating runs. Daniel pounds our skull hard every time he hits the snare.
Tales Of The Weird is some crazy shit by Paradox and it simply reflects the amount of experience these people have gained over the years. On the other side of the coin, even though it is a brilliant release, it may not be liked by cult thrash followers because of the lack the crude, unrefined riffage in the album. The heavy essence of processed sound and power metal influence in the vocals can be a turn-off for them. But in my opinion, the compositions are gut-wrenching and sick enough for me to want more from them.
Summing up, the album is darn good. Go and get it.
Tales of the Weird landed on our 2012 Best Thrash Metal albums list.
On a side note, frontman Charly Steinhauer underwent open heart surgery today (Christmas Eve, December 24). The entire Metalholic family wishes him a speedy recover so he can get back to doing what he does best.