Paramaecium - Echoes from the Ground

Veridon Music


Well, it's about freakin' time!  I, like many others, had began to wonder if we'd ever see another album by Paramaecium.  I hoped for the best, but I was not getting overly optimistic about it.  However, good ol' Andrew Tompkins stayed the course and made sure that all his die-hard fans were not left out to dry.
Echoes from the Ground is Paramaecium's fourth full length release and while it doesn't have quite the mega-extreme doom-laden feel that Exhumed of the Earth had, it is still very heavy and still sounds distinctly Paramaecium.  The band who on their first album released what many consider a classic in the doom metal genre, now find themselves in more of a melodic death category than strictly doom.  The band still embraces a slow and somber sound, but the many excursions into mid-tempo territory force one to admit that they basically just have some doom influences at this point in their history.
Regardless, this is a very good album that succeeds in much more ways than their 1999 album A Time to Mourn.  While that album was good, it just didn't really grab me like Within the Ancient Forest or Exhumed of the Earth.  This album is not as great as Exhumed of the Earth, but it ranks right up there with WTAF in my opinion.  It could've almost been the album that was released inbetween their second and third albums.
The disc opens with the song "Night Fears Morning" and the opening violin drips of the sadness that brings to memory the violin used on the band's opener on their first album, "The Unnatural Conception".  The violin also appears throughout the song in some almost "violin solos".  Atilla Kuti, who also appeared on A Time to Mourn handles the violin duties here.  When the brutal and sludgy guitars kick in a short time later, you instantly know that this is the Paramaecium that you've so dearly missed during these five silent years.  The song incorporates clean vocals by Andrew Tompkins that fit the mood of the song perfectly.  Very haunting and gloomy.  I love the droning, but simple chorus of "Night......fears......morning.....".  They actually start the first word of the chorus as they sing the last word of the verse (which I think sounds very cool).   
The album continues to impress throughout as Andrew gives a good dose of both clean and deathly growls.  Musically, the band spends their time mixing the very brutal with the dismal, while maintaining a fairly slow to mid-paced tempo throughout.  Ex-guitarist Jason De Ron even makes a few appearances in the first two songs!  The violins also show up numerous times with sounds remenescent of earlier Paramecium and Believer.  As if that wasn't enough, the band also utilizes some fantastic soprano vocals by Tracy Bourne (also on A Time to Mourn) that mix in really good with Andrew's vocals (especially on the songs "They Tend to Die" and "My Failing Heart").
The album closes with the slowest song "Echoes".  This song combines everything used by the band throughout the album...clean male vocals, female vocals, growled vocals, violins, and of course the heavy, "drag you through the mire" guitars.  The mega-slow pronouncing of every lyric was a welcome treat to finish out this disc!
Speaking of lyrics, the band presents a very interesting story of an English academic student from the 1860's who travels to Palestine in an attempt to verify the historical accuracy of the scriptures, and to seek out a firm justification for his own faith.  All his searchings lead him to discover that the truth was in his "aged heart within".  Great storyline that was much more refreshing than the same old rehashed, cliche subjects that many other bands sing about.  Andrew Tompkins has always fasinated me with his lyrical abilities and this album does not disappoint.
I must say that I'm very pleased with this new Paramaecium offering.  This Austrailain band has been around for over ten years and despite seeing big names like Jayson Sherlock, Jason De Ron, and Ian Arkley come and go, Andrew Tompkins continues to press on and create very high quality, doom influenced death metal.  Echoes from the Ground is a disc that will definitely not disappoint long time fans of the band.  Welcome back mates!  (Review by Matt)