PARAGON - "CHALICE OF STEEL" (B.O. RECORDS)
A band really needs to stand out from the rubble these days. There's so many metal releases - either the buying public has to make a selection or their bosses/parents have to double their income/allowance. Sticking out is especially true for the crowded 'traditional metal' market into which Paragon sits, even though it's flirting with a few outsiders through the window.
For starters, Paragon sound good. It's no use if you produce traditional metal that actually sounds like it was made a decade, or more, ago. Paragon couple traditional riffing and the unsurprising sorcery-and-dragons lyrics with state-of-the art sound. What you end up with is a heavy sounding album with cool songs that rarely sit back to allow your eardrums some rest. There's a few acoustic intros, but that's about it. For the true lovers of traditional metal who were actually around at the time when 'traditional metal' was 'contemporary metal', there's a nice surprise in the form of the album closer, a cover of Exciter's "Violence and Force". Hm, I still have that album on vinyl somewhere, even though my record player has long since vanished.
More of this, please, and less of some of those others...
Written May 1999
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