Paradox are a 3 piece Alternative Rock band hailing from Cork, Formed in 1996 by brothers Pete and Mike Mac, 2015 sees the release of the bands 4th album entitled “Chapters”. Drawing from their influences such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Therapy? And Kerbdog and you can definitely hear their influences scattered all over the album.
The album opens with an unnecessary 45 seconds of screeching noise from cellos before going into track 2, As the World, Kicking off with downstrokes from a chugging heavy bass and drum loops. While listening to the track I found it grew a little bit monotonous. What sounds like the same verse and chorus being repeated over and over again. Half way through the track a heavy distorted guitar riff and pounding toms caught my attention before going back into the verse that had been repeated a number of times before. By this time I was reaching for the fast forward button as I had enough.
Track 3 is an acoustic number called Nothing Lasts, This is the bands current single. I just don’t see why the band picked this to be their first single. Its slow and drawn out. When the song does actually kick into gear I was already a bit lost and wanted the track to hurry up and end. It finishes very strongly but after the first few verses and chorus I was ready for the 4th track.
For me track 4 entitled S.A.D is arguably one of the albums stand out tracks. It’s dark and almost has an A Perfect Circle feel to the song. Full of distorted guitar, sludgy chunky chords interlocked with big fat palm mutes. It’s melancholic and dark… Nice.
Track 5, Free as a bird, starts off as an acoustic number before bringing the band in for what sounds to me almost like an Oasis sounding track, filled with acoustic guitars and 7th Chords, for some reason even the vocal melody kind of reminds me of She’s Electric by Oasis and just doesn’t sit well in the album, in fact I don’t think the “sound” fits with what the band are trying to do, it sounds more suited to a side project. The track just seems out-of-place.
Little Lies, starts off with a vocal and guitar line being played but the thing that caught my attention is how it sounds really Lo-fi and sounds like it was recorded on a cassette recorder before a big fuzzy bass kicks in followed by thunderous drums and chunky distorted power chords. Clocking in at just shy of 5 minutes, I think at least a minute of the track could have been shaved off as I found interest waning near the end but still a really solid track with a melody that will stick in your head for the night.
In Disguise is a track that just didn’t go anywhere for me. Coming in at near 7 and a half minutes with the last 2 and a half to 3 minutes being nothing but a riff that’s just jammed out, it honestly bored me a little and couldn’t wait for the track to finally end. It took about 2 minutes into the track to finally kick in for only about another 2 minutes before we come to the build-up leading to the unnecessary “Jam” for the last 3 minutes. So for me… the song could have been 2 minutes long and that would have been enough.
Painting Pictures is a beautiful acoustic track complete with a beautiful cello line. In fact, I personally think it’s one of the best tracks on the album but alongside the tracks Nothing Lasts and Free as a Bird, I feel like these would fit on a totally different album and doesn’t really belong to Chapters.
Burning Out is a great Rock N Roll song that reminds me a lot of the band Dinosaur Pile-up, nothing can really be said about the track, and it’s just bitchin’. Big Drums, killer guitar riff and a track I would love to see the band put out as a single. A definite highlight of the album.
Second last track, Otherside, is a lovely track and perfect to close the album with (the last track is just like the opener… 45 seconds of screeching cellos so I’m going to say this is the last track) Otherside brings me back to my youth and reminds me a lot of the Silverchair track – Ana’s Song from Neon Ballroom, a CD I wore out listening to as a teen. Otherside evokes some dark but beautiful imagery about well…. Meeting on the Otherside (Duh!!!) Accompanied with a droning Cello and a well-structured guitar line, the track is a great choice to close the album.
One of my gripes with this album is mainly the lead vocals, now… I’m well aware that the Cork accent isn’t the most “Rock n Roll” sounding, hell, most Irish accents are shocking, but I don’t get why this fake, whiny American accent has to be used, I get that the bands influences are primarily US 90’s grunge bands and I love Grunge as much as the next person but the whiny Kurt Cobain-esque vocals complete with accent….it’s just uncalled for. Just sing in your own voice, I also think your vocal chords will thank you in 20 years’ time.
While I don’t think this is at all a bad album, In fact I feel the second half of the album is very strong, I do feel its times like this when a band needs a producer or a third-party to come in and say what does and doesn’t work for an album in the rehearsal room. Maybe someone with no affiliation with the band who knows what they are talking about and who can tell them straight with no bullshit and tell them to cut some of the riffs or instead of 32 bars of the same thing for an intro, why not put in just 8 then kick into the track so you don’t lose the listeners interest. I found there was times during the album because of the long drawn out intros or needless jams that I found my interest waning or skipping on through the track but there are a lot of positives on the album. Tracks such as Painting Pictures, Burning Out, Otherside and S.A.D are definitely the stand out tracks. In fact, I think if this album was cut down to about 9 tracks and structured differently, this could be a total stomper of an album.
I always say about any review, this is just one person’s opinion and as we all know, opinions are like arseholes…. Everybody’s got one!!! While “Chapters” isn’t a bad album at all, actually it’s got some real stand out gems, especially in the second half of the album, I personally feel some of the album sounds a little bit dated. If the album had of come out 15 or 20 years ago, or even if you had of given it to a 15-year-old me I probably would have really enjoyed it. It’s Moody, Angsty, Dark, talks about hope, love, loss and moving on (hence the name of the album, with this being a new “Chapter” in the bands near 20 year career) and stirs up emotions that everyone can relate to at stages in their life.