Paragon – Force Of Destruction
DISCLAIMER: I have never written a review with dislocated neck muscles before, but here we go. If you spot any spelling errors, blame our proofreader, or the fact that I’m facing my computer sideways while typing this.
Have you ever heard an album which you knew from the first song was going to be a good one? Such is Paragon’s tenth album Force Of Destruction, a title as subtle as a cannon for a doorbell. Four years have passed since Screenslaves, which I missed, and this is the longest gap Paragon has ever let between releases. Whatever batteries needed to be recharged are bursting with energy now, and Force Of Destruction is up there with their best.
After an intro we all roll our eyes at these days, “Iron Will” announces itself like a wrecking ball about to level the building. Piet Sielck once again produces his countrymen’s razor-sharp riffs to a bone-sawing degree, and should henceforth be known as the Midas of heavy/power metal, for everything he touches is gold. If you need proof, please welcome Iron Savior, Mercury Falling or Vorpal Nomad into your life. Preferably all three, but your pick.
“Tornado” is not only the horse of Zorro, but probably about half a billion heavy metal tracks. Always room for one more, right? ‘This song is like a whirlwind!’ a reviewer incredibly pleased with his own cleverness might say, but I’m better than that. It’s totally storming, though. If you are allergic to cheesy lyrics, you’d better lock yourself up with Opeth’s latest “Meandering Spoons Of Thoughtfulness” or something, because this is steel, gods, thunder and the whole shebang. You could easily compose all the song titles AND lyrics from those three words. Which is not even remotely an insult, because if I want to shout, I don’t want to shout about feelings.
In a year where Manowar put out an album that may put insomniacs into a coma, and Grave Digger settled for safe, it’s nice to hear a band do creative powerized speed metal right. Relentlessly galloping on, no string un-shred, no finger left un-blistered, and no fist left un-shaken, this is a record to raise many, many beers to, whilst making bold violent declarations your inebriated state will no longer allow you to fulfill. Hell, I’m sober, and it’s still kicking my ass so much I’ll have to retrieve my pajama pants from my left kidney.
Piet Sielck can never resist making a vocal appearance on an album he polishes, and this is no exception. He even invited Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween) to join him on the plodding “Blood & Iron”, which is everything you have ever wanted since hearing “Watcher In The Sky” from Iron Savior (or Somewhere Out In Space, if you want), but slower. Just like on Heavenly’s “Time Machine”, which also featured Sielck and Hansen, you’d almost forget this is a Paragon song. Just like every other damn chorus on this thing, the climax is soaring and memorable, and takes me back to the heydays of this band with Law Of The Blade, The Dark Legacy and Revenge.
I could write another paragraph about the second half of Force Of Destruction, but I have banged my head into my laptop, and have spent several hours reattaching the ‘q’ and ‘;’ buttons. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have bothered. This album never lets down, and doesn’t stop for soppy ballads or filler material. It’s Iron Savior with less atmospheric keyboards, more straightforward pummeling, and overall fewer spaceships. If you’re looking for your next whiplash, concussion, or simply a creative way to blow up your stereo installation, Force Of Destruction is a recommended buy. If not, it’s still bloody great.
Arno’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5