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Paragon

Wie mijn recensie van Paragon's vorige langspeler 'The Dark Legacy' (september 2003) had gelezen, wist dat ik niet weg werd geblazen door die plaat. Het kleinood bevatte weliswaar enkele uitstekende nummers, maar miste de spanningsboog die nodig was om het niveau van eerdere platen te behalen. Welnu: Paragon is terug met hun nieuwe plaat 'Revenge' en veegt daarmee de kritiek op de voorganger in één keer van de tafel. Iets wat bassist Jan Bünning niet meer dan terecht vind, want al is de band niet getekend bij een Nuclear Blast of SPV, zijn band is op zijn minst gelijkwaardig aan bands die wel bij de grote labels zitten.

Door: Ferdi | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

You're a band that is not shy on a cliché or two, so I propose we start with the biggest one of them all: what do you think of your latest album 'Revenge'?

"Well, it wouldn't surprise you if I said that it is our best effort so far, would it? Hehehe. Well, it is difficult to say. When you finish an album you always feel that it is your best one so far. Only when you learn to take some distance from it you can truly judge it."

How does this new cd fit in with the rest of your albums?

"'Revenge' is our fourth cd for Remedy Records and it combines elements of all our cd's. It has the freshness of 'Steelbound'. It has the songwriting of 'Law Of The Blade'. It has the sound of 'The Dark Legacy'. It sums up pretty nicely what we have been doing in these last couple of years."

The title of the album is 'Revenge'. Who are you having your revenge on?

"The story behind the title started when we were having problems with the booking-agency we had at the time. At one point someone of the band came into the rehearsal room with the title, and we stuck with it. At the moment we were all quite pissed off, so everyone gladly agreed. Call it our payback. Shortly thereafter we split with our booker. But the title also goes deeper than that. It is a metaphor. Back when we wrote the album we were quite frustrated with our place in the metal scene. We release quality cd's all the time, but whenever there is a soundcheck in a magazine we end up ten places behind bands like Primal Fear. Now I am not to say that Primal Fear is a bad band, I am just pointing out that I do not believe that we are anything less than they are. Still, Primal Fear is signed to a bigger label and immediately gets more attention. That is the kind of frustration that we were dealing with when we wrote this cd."

Some band signed to bigger labels such as Nuclear Blast and SPV are able to live off of their music. Is that your ambition too?

"Well, I do not know. We have now reached a position in the metal scene where we can release record without interference of managers and such. People pay for our studio-costs and other people enjoy the music we make. For the moment that is enough for us. We all have day-jobs."

You have played on several festivals in the last couple of years, including several big ones. Which one did you like the most?

"We have indeed played on several festivals. I think that so far I like Bang Your Head the best. In one way or another it seems to have the best old metal bands and the most relaxed people. Playing Wacken last year on the mainstage was great too, as we had never done such a big show before. Our expectations were quite low as we were playing very early on a very hot Thursday afternoon. But the field turned out to be packed with close to 8000 people. We had a good sound and a great response, so in many ways it was a perfect gig. And the biggest one so far. Once you have played Wacken, you are unlikely to play anything bigger for the rest of your life. Even Sweden Rock, which was great too, did not even come close."

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Paragon has played plenty of tours, though none in the Netherlands. When can we expect to see you on Dutch shores?

"As soon as someone offers us a large sum of money! No, seriously: we have been in this band for over ten years now. None of us feels like putting up money to do a couple of shows. It is different when you do something like Wacken of course, but that's in a whole bigger league. We had some offers to play in your country, but none of them paid well enough to even support the costs of a car for us to rent. If someone offered us a proper deal: sure, we would come to the Netherlands. But so far, that has not happened."

How big is the band anyways?

"I would say that we have a cult-status in Germany. France has been quite good for us also, as we always get a good response and good reviews over there. I do not know how big we are elsewhere in the world. I do not suppose that we are a very large band outside of Germany."

The new cd comes with a bonus-dvd. Does this mean that you are not going to release a 'proper' dvd?

"Aaaah... No. We were asked to have our show at Sweden Rock filmed with four professional cameras. We gave the guy in charge permission to use the material, but only if he could provide us with a cut to put on cd. And that is exactly what happened. I think it is a good bonus for the fans. The image of the dvd was edited, but the sound remains unaltered. So no tinkering in the studio: the performance is rough and in your face. Just like when you see us live."

Yes. But what about a 'proper' dvd?

"Oh yes. We are working on that too. We filmed the Wacken-show last year with 8 professional cameras and we will be filming our performance on the Metal Bash in Germany this Fall. So together with the Sweden Rock-show we will have three full shows to choose from, as well as a lot of backstage footage."

Last question. On your website you mention the two Dutch bands Reviver and Vortex. What is your relationship with these groups?

"I got to know the guys from Reviver when working for Limb Records. The band Montany, which was signed to Limb, split up and a couple of members went into Reviver. I tried to get them signed to a label and after that we became good friends. As for Vortex, what can I say? I cannot remember how many times I have been talking, let alone drinking with those guys! They are one of the oldest bands in your country. I mean, all of the guys seem like fifty years old, but they can still rock like hell. Great band."

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