VOID PARADIGM - Earth's Disease

Void Paradigm - Earth's Disease

5 songs
39:11 minutes
***** ****


If someone had told me a quarter century ago that a musical genre as conservative as black metal initially was would later turn out to become the most daring and adventurous musical enterprise, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. And even though nowadays early believers are upset by the apparent takeover of the post black metal genre by hipsters, I still can come across bands that make the genre riveting without having to rely on tiresome irony.

One such fine example is black metal supergroup Void Paradigm from the Normandy in France. The three musicians are in their mid-Thirties, have played or are still playing in other bands (Ataraxie, Sordide, Hyadningar,...) but still have found the time for this endeavour, in which they set out to play hypnotic dodecaphonic black metal. The hypnotic part derives from the bands adherence to the twelve-tone technique developed in the early 20th century by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. The rules of the game are to use each of the twelve notes in the chromatic scale without giving emphasis to any special note, thus assuring that the music is played essentially in a keyless way. This sounds in theory quite technical, and the execution might very well be challenging, but Void Paradigm manage to come up with music that may come with many unexpected twists and turns yet always sounds utterly coherent.

The five tracks on the band’s second album Earth’s Disease are all quite long, yet never suffer from a lack of ideas. Take for instance the opener Crushing The Human Skull which begins with a soaring guitar riff that sounds like a beehive in action. Then the rhythm section joins in a tumultuous quasi-chaos, and the harsh vocals underline the music’s aggression. Two minutes into the song, it’s time for a wicked guitar melody that also allows the song to cut back on speed. Yet another two minutes later, we are assaulted by a totally unexpected movement that sounds like the black metal version of Balkan beat. The following Revenge is adding more progressive elements, from weirdly atmospheric progressive death metal parts over to the rhythmically challenging djent riffs. The title track offers more of the trio’s avant metal that should appeal to open-minded black metal fans and visionary prog rockers alike. The last three minutes of that track are given over to a couple of cellists who thus show the band’s modernist influence. Two final long tracks - Sick Life Fading and From The Earth To The Skies - furthermore emphasise that Void Paradigm are actually trying their very own kind of paradigm shift in metal music.

All of this might very well be too strange and possibly overwrought for the mainstream listener, but if you get tired of hearing the same ideas repeated over and over again, you might find a lot to admire. Earth’s Disease’s only little setback is its rather short length. But apart from that you won’t find any other reason of complaint. The production is top notch, the songwriting is brimming with ideas, and the dodecaphonic approach is giving the band a certain mystic appeal that might resound best with the progressive community. This is a band to keep in mind!

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