Not quite how I thought this CD would start out. Soft piano with nicely sung male vocals. Then again, maybe I should have expected it. Paramaecium experimented a lot on their first release "Exhumed of the Earth", it would only be natural that they surprise us even more on their next release. I guess I was just used to the massive heaviness and sickening growls that this nicer sound caught me off guard. The heavier guitars come in a minute or so into "In Exordium", but the nicely sung vocals continue throughout. I was starting to wonder if someone switched my CD's. "Song of the Ancient" seems to start off more like a Paramaecium song with the deep growling and heaviness, but it quickly gives way to some meandering guitars and female vocals. The song occasionally will delve back into the familar Paramaecium sound, but for the most part the female vocals rule the song. About this time, I realized that yes, this was Paramaecium, but they had had quite a facelift. By the third song "I Am Not Alive", and the harpsicord intro, I'm thinking that maybe I'm getting used to the different Paramaecium. That is exactly when the Paramaecium I'm more used too comes raging back into my CD player...albeit at a slow, doomy pace. The rest of the disc, although experimenting with lots of different sounds like cellos and flutes sounds more like what I'm used too. Not that Paramaecium didn't use these instruements last time around, they just use them to a much greater extent here, along with much more clean female and male vocals.
The band really hits their stride on "Gone is My Former Resolve" which is just a totally awesome song. The song starts off with some amazingly beautiful acoustic guitar playing for about two and half minutes while Andrew Tompkins does cool singing that is somewhat in the background. The guitar stops and then Andrew says matter of factly..."Sometimes they scream..". The brutal guitars immediately rips into the mix along with growling vocals and some operatic female vocals. This song even picks up the pace ala "Injudicial" off their first release. I think I like it so much cause it sounds more like their old stuff than any of the other songs. All of the songs are very well done though and the more I listen, the more I like the experimental stuff they tried. My favorite songs would be "Gone is My Former Resolve", "Of My Darkest Hour", and "The Grave, My Soul".
Lyrically, Andrew Tompkins takes us on a journey with a man named De-nyl, who meets with other characters on a quest to find real truth. In the end he finds the truth he seeks in Christ. Pretty interesting storyline which makes for a cool concept album. The artwork here is also very good.
As much as this album is different from "Exhumed..", the more I listen the more I think it is very similar to it. Yes, this still sounds very much like Paramaecium. They've just branched out a lot. I think this is a very good thing that will eventually pay off dividends in the longevity department. If your fans get bored it's not a good thing. I have a hard time deciding whether I like this album or their first better. I'm leaning towards "Exhumed...", but this is by no means a sophomore jinx. It is a powerful, creative album that deserves to be heard. Another reason to buy this record is that it is the last Paramaecium album that Jayson Sherlock (one of the best drummers ever) plays drums on. (Review by Matt)