REVIEW: Paralydium – Worlds Beyond

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Hailing from Sweden, progressive metal outfit PARALYDIUM was founded by guitarist John Berg, who envisioned a mixture of hard hitting riffs, melodic soundscapes, and nifty grooves. With this in mind, he gathered accomplished musicians from the Swedish metal scene and recorded the three-song EP titled “The Paralydium Project,” which was released in October 2015. Four years later the full debut album, “Worlds Beyond,” was completed and it will be released by Frontiers Records on 12 June 2020.

As a concept album, “Worlds Beyond” follows the story of a man on his quest to find higher powers. However, what he discovers during his journey is not exactly what he had expected and as such, he needs to rethink the purpose of his life. For such a topic, one would think the music is dark and gloomy (maybe similar to KAMELOT’s “Epica” and “The Black Halo” albums), but it’s actually pretty melodic and groovy, with a lot of melodies and harmonies coming from Mikael Blanc’s keys to counterbalance the heaviness of John Berg’s guitar. In other words, this is the type of album that disguises its heaviness with melody, as the soundscapes take the listeners though time and space. If Mikael Blanc’s keys and Mikael Sehlin’s vocals give the album depth and texture, it is definitely John Berg’s guitar, Jonathan Olsson’s bass, and Georg Härnsten Egg’s drums that ground it in heavy sounds by providing a strong rhythmic backbone for the vocal lines and keyboard melodies to develop and take the music to a whole new level.

Opening track “Enter Paralydium” sets the tone with an urgent melody and ominous strings, before the drums and guitars kick in and elevate it to a symphonic level. If this was in a movie, you’d know something bad is about to happen. “Within the Sphere” continues with pounding drums, intense guitars, grave bass lines, and broody vocals that give it a darker atmosphere, as the protagonist ponders over the meaning of life (“Here I stand facing my darkest hour / As the tide rides up to the verge”) and decides to start his journey. Mikael Blanc’s lush keyboard melodies accompanied by some gentle guitar melodies open “Synergy.” The chiming keys bring a serene, dream-like atmosphere to this 7-minute epic track, bouncing off the guitars and vocals as the music progresses. The guitar solos add more heaviness to the song, making it feel more grounded and robust, while the bass and drum interplay seems rather SEVENTH WONDER. Released as a single, “Finding the Paragon” is a hard and heavy track, with a singalong chorus, great headbanging rhythms, and some backing keys that add texture to the music, while “Crystal of Infinity” is more on the melodic side, as the keys are a bit more present, playing off the guitars and drums beautifully. Mikael Sehlin’s vocals are soaring and powerful, adding emotion and tension to the music with his delivery.

Atmospheric and ethereal, with some melodic guitar lines and strings, and a gloomy undertone to it, “Awakening” acts as an interlude between the first and the second part of the album. It leads right into “The Source,” a melodic piece of progressive metal that ebbs and flows between mellower passages and heavier moments, while not losing any of its momentum. The spare keys tickle the ear, while giving off a certain SF vibe and bringing to mind the music of CHAOS OVER COSMOS. Dramatic “Into Divinity” is the climax of the story, as the protagonist “has found the key” and “the enigma unfolds.” The track grows in intensity, starting off on keys, bass, and almost whispered vocals, but gaining momentum and volume as it progresses, closing with soaring vocals that sound a bit like DYNAZTY. Keys and vocals open the final track, “Seeker of the Light,” which presents the conclusions of the protagonist’s journey. Feeling like an 80s power ballad, the vocals are powerful and dramatic and the chorus is hooky, while the instrumentals add nuance to the song, especially the backing keys. The song, and album, end on a cinematic note.

Could this be Paradise, or just another false illusion?” asks Mikael Sehlin on “Sinergy,” which raises the question “Could this album be one of the best progressive metal albums of 2020?” I have my answer to that! Layered and complex, “Worlds Beyond” requires multiple listeners to uncover all its lyrical secrets and musical aromas. Highly recommended!

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  1. Enter Paralydium
  2. Within The Sphere
  3. Synergy
  4. Finding The Paragon
  5. Crystal Of Infinity
  6. Awakening
  7. The Source
  8. Into Divinity
  9. Seeker Of The Light

Lineup

Mikael Sehlin – Vocals

John Berg – Guitars

Jonathan Olsson – Bass

Georg Härnsten Egg – Drums

Mikael Blanc – Keys

Label

Frontiers Records

Links

Website   |   Facebook   |   Instagram

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