These guys sound like a hybrid of Nirvana and Bush with a heavier edge..
With 'Mr Bureaucracy' you’re immediately taken aback by the sound these guys have achieved, it’s so refined and to the point that you question whether this is really a band you’ve not heard before. At the same time, the raw and powerful edge in the music keeps it real and down to earth, it’s quite a combo! Politically charged from the outset these guys sound like a hybrid of Nirvana and Bush with a heavier edge to the music. The track is catchy from the outset, lead primarily by the guitar line but listen to the drums and what they do, then listen to the broken down section midway through – these are guys who know how to play their instruments and write a song.
As the track fades and Repress Excess kicks in everything slows down a little, the acoustic guitar takes over the lead, the vocals become soothing and smooth and the mood settles into an eerie calm. As the drums kick in to push the track onwards you find yourself sitting back and questioning the band again, why are they not more well-known? This track is well written, well produced and well played grunge with a modern edge to it, it’s spot on. Mind Mud however serves as a bit of a sharp contrast against the previous track, syncopated and sludgy this track sounds akin to some of the more raw Silverchair from the Frogstomp days, it’s awesome once again to hear. Adding in some roared vocals to the mix, this track leaves you with no questions left, just the realisation that you need to hear more.
Corporate Pollution moves in another direction, opening with faded vocals and a backing guitar line then kicking back in with those sludgy guitar licks again. As the guitar line progresses accompanied by those haunting vocals you know something’s coming, something’s building then the chorus kicks in. Catchy straight off the mark, this is another track which delivers fully as promised and you soon find yourself chanting along to ‘starve the system’. Living Demise soon kicks in, opening acoustic but soon finding that distortion pedal again, the most striking thing here is the simplicity yet effectiveness of the guitar riff – it’s solid, heavy and to the point. This track has possibly the ‘biggest’ chorus of all the tracks I’ve had a listen to, the sound created is far beyond anything I expected and carries the track to the top of my list.
'Sacred' the album (2004)
Downward Spiral is another crunchy track, opening as it means to go on drawing riffs from all the best places and backing everything with a solid rhythm section before throwing some roaring vocals into the mix for consideration – it’s different to the other tracks so far but it works! As the next track, Lame and Languid, opens with ‘can you listen to how I’m feeling’ over an acoustic line before kicking in with those guitars again you find yourself realising this band can do it all. Over the tracks so far they’ve proven they can do heavy, soft, grungy, sludgy, everything which is good in music! What You Were proves this even further as the opening ‘funky’ riff kicks in before the track becomes a Hole-esque ditty, funky, grungy and catchy from the outset, this track will have you nodding along within seconds whether you want to or not! I can also imagine this is a live anthem, one which will get the crowd jumping all over the place to the catchy beat.
The final two tracks (for the purposes of the review, there are more on their various sites) push the boat home and leave you in need of hearing more. Apathy is an almost hypnotic track featuring layered vocals, Alice in Chains style guitars and a solid bass line, very much like listening to mid 90’s music but with a modern edge. Spasm finishes the selection off nicely with a pounding drum and bass laden intro, feedback from guitars then an almighty riff kicking in. This is a track which will please even the heaviest fan, melodic yet heavy from the outset and never relenting up until the final second.
Normally I try to cover every track a band features on their sites in order to give a varied over view, but with these guys there are (firstly) a lot of tracks so I’d end up wittering on for pages and (secondly) so many influences coming through here it’s impossible to list them all. This music is timeless, solid and to the point. Coming across as heavy sometimes and soft and soothing at others, I’d happily sit for hours listening to these guys play. They need to get their album over here, get more people on to them and get their name out there – they’re a band who represent this entire section of the website, a band you need to hear.
Dave Sutton / Love-it-Loud.com
Alternative rock doesn’t come any better than this...
In 2004, Paradox released their second album, Sacred. It was an impressive collection of alternative rock tracks with its roots firmly in the grunge and garage rock of the 90s, but with a strong sense of melody and a musical maturity that made it stand out from the crowd. The only mistake the band might have made with that album is in creating an album that would be difficult to follow.
It’s taken seven years (although lead singer/guitarist Pete Mac did release a solo acoustic album in 2009), but that follow-up is finally here. And, against all the odds, it’s taken the style of Sacred as a strong foundation and constructed something that doesn’t just equal its predecessor, it surpasses it.
The album’s eleven tracks clock in at sixty-seven minutes; an average song length of over 6 minutes. This gives each one time to develop and the band really get the most out of each song without letting any of them over-stay their welcome.
Paradox seem happy to wear their influences on their sleeves, clearly inspired by the early 90s grunge scene, most notably Nirvana and Alice in Chains, but the music here is ultimately heavier than Alice in Chains and with more mellow sections and longer songs than Nirvana typically offered.
The vocals delivered by Pete Mac are even reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s more refined moments whilst maybe edging towards the sound of Silverchair front-man Daniel Johns, and the vocal harmonies between Pete and brother Mike echo those of Alice in Chains. Maybe the ultimate compliment you can pay to this album is that you could listen to it between Nirvana‘s In Utero and Alice in Chains‘ Dirt and it’s every bit as good.
The drumming also deserves a mention here. Sometimes, the well-paced beats become the highlight of a song and really grab your attention but drummer Mike Mac doesn’t overdo it and at times there’s a feeling that less is more, with the drums becoming very subtle to suit the mood of the song. In Repress Excess, for example, the majority of the song doesn’t feature drums at all, but this just adds to their presence when they are introduced. It’s just another example of a minor detail that Paradox have got absolutely right throughout this album.
The title track kick-starts proceedings as they mean to go on; crunching guitars, heavy drums and a tune that finds a nice balance between hard rock and melody. The lyrics are of a political tone, as on a couple of songs on this album, although it’s when the lyrics take on a more introspective, personal feel that they work best, such as on the next track, Emptiness, a song that sweeps gently along, fuelled by a passionate vocal delivery.
Next up is Mind Mud, the shortest track on the album at 4 minutes and with just a brief vocal section in the second half of the song. It’s aptly named as it trudges along with slow and heavy riffs and distorted, anguished vocals. The album continues in this manner offering an almost perfect mix of mellow, heart-felt moments and heavier sections of grunge-fuelled rock.
The album’s first single, Mr Bureaucracy, is probably the catchiest piece on the album but still gives a good indication of what to expect from the other ten songs, powering along at a good pace but still finding time to mix in a softer bridge which adds extra depth. Other highlights include Bury The World, Shedding Skin and the beautiful ballad, Serenity, a melancholic song about pain and loss – a perfect way to bring the album to a close.
For me, though, the strongest moment of the album comes in the form of the penultimate track Mitigate. It’s the album’s longest track at almost 9 minutes, but at no time does it feel dragged out or bloated, which is a real credit to the writing and execution. Compelling drums create an intriguing hook from the outset as distorted guitars threaten to burst into life behind them. The song gradually builds up to a thunderous chorus before subsiding to build all over again, always driven by that pounding drumbeat. At times it’s slightly reminiscent of Razorblade Suitcase-era Bush and it even brought to mind early Tool, but ultimately this is something else. This is Paradox.
If you’re partial to grungy alternative rock and you’re new to Paradox, Corporate Pollution is a great place to start. Alternative rock doesn’t come any better than this.