Shadows of Paragon - s/t



You know, you gotta love it when a new band comes on the scene and doesn't mess around.  Shadows of Paragon comes from Sweden and this new self-titled EP has been a good listen amongst some not-so-good listens from other bands lately.  Now I'm not saying that Shadows of Paragon is ready to conquer the music world, but this is definitely a band that could make some serious noise in the future.
Shadows of Paragon used to go by the name Allsherjar, but changed their name in 2003 due to drastic style changes.  Whatever they played before, this six-person band should stick to the black metal style that they currently play in my opinion.
Musically, the band is very aggressive and should appeal to fans of In the Bleak Midwinter-era Sanctifica, early Crimson Moonlight, Frosthardr, and Dimmu Borgir.  They do make use of keyboards a good deal, but it's not too overwhelming and only occasionally do they seem to take away from the dark feel of the music.  Overall though, they offer up some really good and brutal black metal.  Some cool things they do to keep things interesting are the dueling verses on the opening song "Gone with the Mist" where one verse is growling and the other verse has sweet female vocals.  The ending of "King of the North" is really cool.  The song slows as the words "King of the North" is whispered softly and as the echoes fade, the band rips back with a vengeance as the vocalist lets loose some horrifying shrieks of "King of the North!!!, King of the North!!!"    
And speaking of the vocals, they are one of the strongest points of the band.  The shrieking black vocals, the gutteral vocals, the clean vocals, and even the female vocals (the ones at the end of the song "Psalm" are fantastic!!) are very well done.  They even incorporate some wicked sounding screams occasionally that give you chills.
Production on the album is good, not perfect, but nothing to really complain about.  It works really well for black metal.  And the packaging is really nice.  The cover artwork is simple but perfect for the style of music and the CD itself it very cool with a picture of Christ on the cross.  And lyrically, this band pens some EXCELLENT lyrics.  The remind me a lot of the lyrical style of the band Mordecai...very praise-oriented and Christ-centered.  They are worth a read even if you don't like this style of music.
Overall, the band really does have a good sound and they show great promise.  I'm excited about what the future holds if Shadows of Paragon continues to crank out the metal.  You can visit their website at: http:/// for more info.  (Review by Matt)