Paralysis – To The Trenches (EP Review)

Sydney’s own War Thrashers Paralysis brings their own take on some combative art with Metal straight from the frontline. Having burst out with their first EP ‘Prisoner of War’, I took a look at if this release kills on command, or just woke up dead.

Opening with a straight-out thrasher, “To the Trenches” works to establish a grizzled tone to the EP. Throaty, animalistic vocals loaded with personality, along with the trotting, mid-tempo drums work well in enforcing military march imagery. There’s a solid, crisp sound to the chugging rhythmic verses with an upbeat quality to it. The track comes across as a sort of marriage between raw belligerent testosterone with a critical, almost self-aware tone, like if army recruitment ads were written by Sacred Reich. Overall, “To the Trenches” delivers some great fun to get things going in the right direction.

From the get go, “Haunting Visions” feels as if it has a very fitting title. There is a clear tonal shift that differentiates this track from the predecessor stylistically, with the hummed, almost crooning vocals and soft guitar introduction. Paralysis looks at their wartime source of inspiration in a different way here, emphasizing a more sinister unideal image of war that’s a far cry from notions of honor. When the absolutely crushing guitars kick into the meat of the song it feels really jarring, in a good way that lends bleaker, harsher aggression than explored thus far. The vocals are blended between the snarled lyrics and an occasional harmonic backup chiming that creates a nice dynamic of rough hostility with those touches of vulnerability that sell the weight of post-traumatic experiences well. Musically, this is complemented by a real neck-snapping good groove, with all the instruments having a real metallic, mechanical tone. A major standout of the release, with all the quality of a commercially and critically successful track, “Haunting Visions” will make you commit this band to memory.

Prisoner of War” returns to the familiar tried and tested style of the first song, super memorable and well worthy of being the title track. The raspy, spitting vocals blast through early before you expect them, reminiscent of having your door kicked down and could certainly be some subtle cleverness with supporting the theme of being taken captive. Thunder-strike drums work well to achieve a more fast-paced and frantic feel with the varied guitar riffing that keeps things fresh. This one could easily be the staple of Paralysis‘ live show, with a real anthemic feel that is sure to be sung along to by even the least passionate of Sydney’s Metal patrons.

In general, this is EP succeeds in giving what I believe is a comprehensive teaser of their sound and has certainly made me anticipate seeing them next. As a small compact release of three songs, the arrangement works perfectly, making me almost suspect these songs were made specifically for this EP (a mini-concept album telling a story of a soldier recruited, exposed to war horrors, and finally captured) as opposed to just selecting three of their favorites to be made available for purchase. With this in mind, I don’t feel like I can deduct from their evaluation because of the EP’s length, as any of these songs could easily be the anchoring track for a full release. I feel like I have to reward these guys for making a solid release with no filler in sight. I can only hope we get even more of the same next time.

Paralysis: Facebook

Release Year: 2014
Label: self-released
Category: EP
Country: Australia

Reviewed by Jay