Paragon is a tank. This band doesn’t care about its surroundings, what’s going on outside of their window, what other bands are doing or what the trends of the times are; they are simply plowing through the metal scene with their inexorable mixture of heavy, speed and thrash metal which they have been firing at their fans’ ears since 1995 without much change. Be it their debut record World Of Sin or 2019’s Controlled Demolition, you are in for a ride without breaks in this tank of mass destruction called Paragon.
To be fair, a few things did improve over time. First, production quality on Controlled Demolition is amazing thanks to Piet Sielck’s mixing and mastering, providing the skullcrushing sound Paragon‘s kind of riffy and bass-heavy metal requires. Instrumental skill and songwriting qualities have progressed as well, but really only within the scape that is Paragon‘s style. No need to get fancy when all you’re looking for is kicking ass in the vein of Grave Digger or Motörhead (figuratively speaking, Paragon do not sound like Motörhead, but are similarly uncompromising in their sound).
That said, Controlled Demolition delivers exactly what you’re looking for in an album released by this Teutonic force. “Reborn”, the opening track, throws you right into combat mode. With blasting double bass, annihilating riffs and, above all, Andreas Babuschkin’s iconic voice, Paragon once again prove they are out for blood. As always, the bass is merely more than a deep rumbling in the background, but it does add punch. Still, a clear bass sound is the one part in metal productions that often gets overlooked. Go listen to Stormwarrior‘s Heading Northe if you want to know what a good bass sound on a speed metal album sounds like. Of course this is high level criticism, Piet Sielck still did a great job producing Controlled Demolition.
Like with many previous Paragon records, the album really picks up pace over time. You wouldn’t think that given the all-out nature of the opening track, but Paragon don’t give you a second of rest. The album’s undisputable best track can be found in the middle of the record: “Musangwe (B.K.F.)” is one of the best Paragon songs of recent years, and there were many good ones. From my research, Musangwe is a kind of African traditional bare-knuckle fist fighting, and this is what the track sounds like. So much energy, so much brutality in one song.
If you never change your style, you can never go wrong, right? At least this is true for Paragon. Similar to Grave Digger or Sabaton the Germans focus on what they’re good at, refining their sound gradually with each album and shaping their identity. In times where many bands are trying questionable elements or changes in their music, it’s refreshing to have a band as honest as Paragon deliver their kind of metal which can only be described as true, as in genuine and honest.