Nima : For the past 26 years Paragon has been guaranteeing unadulterated (German) heavy and speed metal, has never deviated from their sound and style throughout their career, and has always provided quality. This month the band returns with its eleventh full-length album, ‘Hell Beyond Hell’. Don’t expect any surprises or twists and turns, because this is another typical Paragon album, with all the elements that the band has trademarked since their debut album, ‘World Of Sin’ (1995), and – partly thanks to the sharp guitar sound and the distinctive voice and singing style of Andreas Babushkin – is immediately recognizable.
After the somewhat darker 'Forgotten Prophecies' the band showed a more traditional approach on 'Screenslaves' and especially the devastating subsequent 'Force Of Destruction', and have – fortunately –continued that on ‘Hell Beyond Hell’. I don’t know whether the return of guitarist and co-founder Martin Christian has anything to do with or not, but 'Hell Beyond Hell' comes across even more old-school, yet not dated in any way.
The powerful 'Rising Force', witch which the album almost literally blasts open, instantly evokes the atmosphere of 'Steel Bound' and especially 'Law Of The Blade', and you don’t even have the chance to think and before you know it the head goes up and down frantically. The pace is generally kept delightfully high after that and just like ‘Force Of Destruction’ this album is quite aggressive. Traditionally the gentlemen come with killer and highly catchy riffs that grab you by the throat immediately and consistently put the neck to work. All tracks are of high quality and misses or fillers are out of the question. The production is again by the hands of Piet Sielck, thus you know right away that also on sound matters the album leave little to be desired and that it simply blasts.
With the closer, 'Devil's Waitingroom', however the band comes with a surprising and slightly different song. The track clocks around nine minutes and is quite varied. Initially the song takes off slowly and sounds – especially for Paragon standards – quite progressive. The song has a beautiful dark vibe and slowly builds into an impending middle piece, then paces up to a solid heavy metal blast, and from there tappers off again slowly. Although this too is utter Paragon, I must initially get used to it a little bit, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Altogether these veterans have once again delivered an outstanding and very strong album with 'Hell Beyond Hell', and prove that after all these years they are as powerful and blow away many a newcomer with ease. For the fans of the previous works this is simply a must, and also fans of unadulterated, no-nonsense, (German) heavy/speed metal would do themselves a favour by enriching their collection with this album.