VOID PARADIGM ‘Earth’s Disease’ Review

‘Earth’s Disease’ is the follow up to the self titled 2012 debut release from French black metal trio ‘Void Paradigm’. They describe their sound as “hypnotic dodecatonic black metal” and hypnotic it certainly is and by dodecatonic, I hazard a guess, as a non musician that they might mean that it is based around a twelve note composition, similar to the a style originally invented by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg , but away from the history lesson and getting back to ‘Earth’s Disease’ it is a very strange and compulsive listen, very avant-garde with a strong progressive and bleakly disturbing edge and with philosophical lyrics that encompass the universe, the human condition and void emptiness, so in that respect it meets a modern black metal criteria.

This five track thirty-nine minute release is considerably shorter than its predecessor, but I think that is a good length for this particular, rather unique style, which could become too wearing if the release was too long.

‘Crushing The Human Skull’ begins on a drone opener , which expands out into the guitar sound , which here, is quite simplistic and certainly has that blackened edge, this is balanced by a very complex, almost syncopated drum style which is excellent and my favourite aspect about the release. The only thing I struggle to get my head around are the vocals which are predominantly a somewhat emotive, deranged edge scream , but in many ways they do fit in with the eclectic nature of the compositions, with this track even taking on a slight punk/ grind feel briefly in the final two minutes.

‘Revenge’ is where you really start to get the “dodecatonic”, edge, if I have interpreted their meaning correctly, the sound becoming very atonal and broad ranging though I can’t tell if twelve notes are used equally and really related only with one another, my technical knowledge of music being way too limited for this kind of analysis. I like the vocals better here; they are less tortured and deeper. Expanding on the avant-garde nature of their sound there is a lot of inclusion of experimental sounds and sound-bites, this track ending bleak squeal fading to silence.

‘Earth’s Disease’ opens on sound-bite and the guitars and drum work both have a very off kilter edge, this, along with the vocal screams make the overall sound is a dark disturbing one but the best aspect of this track is the final three minutes where a very avant-garde string section supersedes the previous mix and adds a very different, dark and deranged edge to the track, which is both quite unique and unusual, fading to the close.

On ‘Sick Life Fading ‘ the first two minutes have deep superb spoken vocals, my favourite of release, set against a minimalist repeat guitar and drum background that is very hypnotic, the screams returning with a tirade from the drums heralding a swift elevation in the tempo, with some great raw edged guitar work matched by the eclectic drumming before a return to the a very atmospheric feel at the mid-point, with distant haunting screams and chants, drone like guitar work and methodical drumming.

Final track, and possibly the best of the release, ‘From The Earth To The Skies’ is by far the longest, at eleven minutes, its predecessors all clocking up between six and eight minutes, it’s also the most traditional and most obviously black metal sounding of the release, with slightly deeper, gargle edged vocals, but that off kilter feel to the drums and guitar work is still there, maintaining that unusual quality to the sound. As you would expect with a track of this length there is a lot of time and scope for tempo and direction change and this is well implemented, becoming slower and much more sinister at its mid-point, with a deeper darker section to the vocals here also, ending on a distorted fade out.

‘Earth’s Disease’ is released on May 11th 2015 (June 6th in the US) via Apathia Records.

Review by Jools Green]]>

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