The last I heard about PARAGON, this German Heavy/Power Metal band, was a few years ago, when guitarist Martin Christian left. Bassist Jan Bünning had prior to this returned to the fold. In terms of releases, “Forgotten Prophecies” (2007) was the last I heard and bought. See my review here. I didn’t like the follow-up, “Screenslaves”, which was released on Massacre Records. The previous albums were put out by Remedy Records. Fast-forward to 2012: PARAGON is now under the wings of Napalm Records. Plus, the line-up has changed once more (see below).
The first album under this new deal is called “Force Of Destruction” and it seems the band wanted to go back to a winning team and that was with producer Piet Sielck (IRON SAVIOR). He also produced “Steelbound” (2001), “Law Of The Blade” (2002), “Dark Legacy” (2003) and “Revenge” (2005). And now “Force Of Destruction” is added to that list. The album came out very recently: 19th October. It contains eleven tracks and the limited edition adds another two, i.e. “Son Of A Bitch” (ACCEPT cover) and a remix of “Blood & Iron”.
“Force Of Destruction” offers your typical PARAGON Metal hymns, to the point, no frills. It begins with an epic intro (“The Last Day On Earth”), acoustic first, then a touch of melody to build the tension. “Iron Will” sets in instantly with fast, raging guitars and pounding drums. Not to forget, Andreas’s typical powerful vocals. The bridge is more melodic and connects with a slow, hymnic chorus. After that it’s back to business. The obligatory guitar solo slices the song in two. “Tornado” is a typical Heavy/Power metal pounder and a solid one, with the drums offering a galopping beat. The chorus is catchy and live it will be easy to sing along. The guitar solos are done in turns. There are two guitarists, so this is a nice element, especially live.
“Gods Of Thunder” could have been a MANOWAR title, but it isn’t. This song is characteristic for both IRON SAVIOR and PARAGON, as both bands have songs that could be interchanged. It’s got a nice intro, making you curious about when hell will be unleashed. What follows is firm midtempo and catchy stuff. Andreas’s vocals sound a bit more furious here. As the title indicates, “Bulletstorm” is a fast and furious song with a powerful chorus. For the sake of atmosphere, Sci-Fi shootings were added, something I would rather relate to IRON SAVIOR. Then again, Piet Sielck sat behind the desk, so…
“Blood & Iron” is the longest song on this album, with a playtime of 8 minutes. It’s slow and hymnic, could have been a CANDLEMASS song. Piet Sielck and Kai Hansen (GAMMA RAY) added guest vocals and speech. Good stuff, all in all, and something different than what PARAGON usually does. “Blades Of Hell” is a straight-forward, uptempo track. Catchy and enjoyable and comparable to “Green Hell” somehow. “Dynasty” is one of the less attractive songs, but not bad at all. It’s a slow, hymnic one with Andreas sounding a bit like Ozzy Osbourne. This contrasts with the fast “Rising From The Black”, while things slow down again in “Demon’s Lair”, a power ballad. Ending occurs with “Secrecy”, where furious Power Metal is at play. Again a Sci-Fi-like shredding sample is added. The music is ok, the chorus is of the melodic kind.
In short, PARAGON made an album that shows a return to form. “Force Of Destruction” is well produced, though a bit compressed. Still, this is a very good release as it’s comparable to the older PARAGON works (see above). After 22 years, the band (though without their founder) carries on keeping the Metal flame burning. Fans of the band can buy this blindly. If you’re into IRON SAVIOR, GAMMA RAY and similar, then this album will certainly fit in your collection.
- The Last Day On Earth
- Iron Will
- Gods of Thunder
- Blood & Iron
- Blades Of Hell
- Rising From The Black
- Demon’s Lair
Andreas Babuschkin – vocals
Wolfgang Tewes – guitars, backing vocals
Jan Bertram – guitars, backing vocals
Jan Bünning – bass, backing vocals
Christian Gripp – drums