|Review: Paragon - Screenslaves|
Label: Massacre Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: January 30, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (12 Votes)
The first thing that will jump out at you on this release lies in the number ten slot on the track-listing, and for those of you who haven't looked yet, it is a Backstreet Boys cover song. The cover itself isn't that bad, but it's just the inclusion of it in general that confuses me. Did they think it was funny? Was it some kind of intergalactic punch-line to a joke only they knew about? What? It's like one of those obnoxious jokes told by that one kid who everyone else hates, but doesn't have the heart to turn away. It's like he told a fart joke and is now sniggering at it while everyone else just rolls their eyes. Maybe it was some sort of slap in the face to all the close-minded True Metal fans who have...worshiped them faithfully all these years, without fail? Well fuck, that's some devotion to your fans there, guys! This makes no sense at all, but it isn't even really the bad part about this, anyway.
No, the bad part about this is the rest of the songs, which aren't necessarily bad by themselves, but the execution is. Paragon have always been a guitar-centric band, with the vocals merely being the vehicle to sing along to, not the central focus of the music. It helps that Andreas Babuschkin has a great voice for this style of music, but here it's like the band decided, "Hey! We already made one obnoxious cover song, so let's make the rest of our songs sound like that!" A lot of the choruses here are veeery suspicious (check out the title track and "Disconnected" for the main examples), and they don't point at all towards a very good future if the band decides to expand on this sort of songwriting trend. It wouldn't even be that bad if the band hadn't decided that they didn't want to write those catchy, galloping, commandeering riffs they have always been known for, and stuck the distorted guitars in the background. Come on, guys, what the fuck?
But here's the most baffling part - I still like this album. It is silly and pretty poppy at times, and it is hideously obnoxious, but Paragon are still writing solid Metal songs here, despite the band having toned down the aggression and having moved towards a more standard Power Metal sound here. Despite all my bitching above, I can still listen to this album and genuinely enjoy it, with songs like "Hellgore," the epic "Bloodfeast," the old-school PARAGON (you know, back when they were worthy of having their name in caps) slayage of "The Blade in the Dark," and the duo of the speedy "Death Next Door" and "The Killing Hand" being fun and enjoyable nonetheless. Paragon have got some serious explaining to do about this one, but calling it a bad album is a stretch.
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