posted on 11/2004 By:
“The heaviest record we have ever released”. That is a pretty promising statement from the guys at Black Market Activities, whose lineup consists of Psyopus, From a Second Story Window and Ed Gein among others. Omaha, Nebraska’s Paria has had a lot of positive buzz for them prior to the release of Misanthropos, but does it live up to the hype? In some ways, yes, but not completely. Paria play a brand of metallic hardcore similar in style to the likes of Glass Casket, Premonitions of War, Unearth and As I lay Dying (I could draw more comparisons too). While all the bands listed are promising, and at the top of their game(s) respectively, that’s also the problem I have with Misanthropos. It succeeds in cloning the aforementioned band’s sounds to a t, but it doesn’t really rise above or do anything to break itself from the mold. While this may not be a problem to some, I guess I just expected a little more from the buzz I was hearing. But that’s not to say it’s a bad record by any means!
Misanthropos has a lot of good things going for it. The album contains 9 songs (and 1 hidden track) ridden with tempo changes, breakdowns, blast beats, squeals, layered dissonants, slides, tapping solos, harmonies, double bass, noise, electronics, you name it. The album starts off very strong with the title track “Misanthropos”, which I also feel is the best song and catchiest on the record. What I like about it is the variation of riffs/tempos used on it. It starts off very chaotic, progressing its way towards a massive breakdown, and then at about the 1:38 mark, it takes an unexpected turn into a stoner rock-esque break ala Mastodon. The song moves its way along almost seemlessly, and is very well composed. The next 2 or 3 songs are pretty good (with the exception of the instrumental), with some very catchy parts included within. “The Absurdity of Solace” is probably my second favorite track on the album. It incorporates great breakdowns, tech parts in the vein of the mighty DEP, acoustic guitar breaks, etc. I could go on and on about what I like about most of the songs on the album. The problem I have is, at about the halfway point, I just feel the album loses steam, and the songs just gradually get less and less memorable. It sounds as if the band put all their focus on the first few tracks, and just wrote the rest as filler. They start to sound like a compilation of riffs, and less like songs.
The production on this record is OK sounding. There are some things that work, and some things that just annoy me. The guitars for the most part sound pretty good. The bass seems to kind of float in and out of the mix, which is annoying because the bassist seems to be pretty confident behind his instrument. I would have like to have seen him shine more with a better mix on the low end. My biggest gripe is the drums. The mix level is good, but the kick drum sounds terrible. It’s the same gripe I had with the new As I lay Dying record. The drum head sounds deflated, and takes away from the full effect. The vocals sound decent. A tad too much distortion, but it works for the sound.
I listened to Misanthropos on a few occasions and a few different stereos because I really wanted to love this record. I really enjoyed parts of this record, but it failed to really entice me and keep my interest past the first portion of it. I think they should have cut 3 or 4 songs, and released an EP with the stronger tracks. All critiques aside, I see tremendous promise with Paria. They are very capable musicians, and with some strong dedication to writing more memorable songs, this band can go a long way. Keep an eye out for them, and for only $9.99, Misanthropos is a worthy purchase for fans of this genre.
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