posted on 3/2007 By:
The first offering from Norway’s Paganize serves up two fistfuls of traditional metal that hits the spot without truly knocking one out of the park. Not content to simply set the controls for 1985 and hammer out unmitigated hero worship, Paganize have taken a vintage metal base from the likes of Fates Warning, Iron Maiden, and Queensryche, and added in some more contemporary accents a la (traces of) Iced Earth and Nevermore. The finished product is a modern-day traditional metal with some power and prog sensibilities and a suitable polish. No doubt part of that busier sound is the formidable presence of drummer Trym, a stalwart of the more extreme side of the game through his work with acts like Emperor, Zyklon and (ex-)Enslaved. His more active, modern drum approach is a key element of Paganize’s sound.
Evilution Hour (a rather unfortunate title, it must be said) is a fairly strong first effort that’s quite listenable from front to back, even if it’s not entirely commanding. The band employs a mostly uptempo gait, occasionally slowing toward a midtempo pace, and relies throughout on tried and true hallmarks of speedy, crunching riffs, boat loads of twin melodies, and enthusiastic vocals that swing from grit to window-cracking shrillness. Thankfully, Paganize doesn’t really ape any particular classic band, but you’re likely to pick out a cadre of comparisons throughout Evilution Hour. The Maiden similarities come through the clearest in the transitions around the solos and in some of the ebullient basswork, although songs like “Divinity In Vain” have a more consistent Maiden flavor. On the other hand, “Blind Eyes”is slightly reminiscent of an updated track from the underappreciated Armored Saint. The faster tracks tend to pay the greatest dividends, with songs like “The Hour” and “Turn of the Tide”, serving as good examples. The band is less convincing when they slow down for the somewhat ponderous “Hollow”, which oddly enough sports a mid-section with a nearly (mid era) Tool-like rolling riff and rhythm.
Evilution Hour packs a meaty crunch, thanks to stout but agile rhythm work and muscular, energetic riffing. The band members turn in good individual performances, and if I had to make a criticism it would only be that although frontman Geir Helge Fredheim uses a nice range, his high notes sometimes sound like he’s working a little too hard. At the end of the day, although all the key ingredients are in place, Evilution Hour seems to come up just short in the thrills department. Still, this is most definitely a solid offering of classic-leaning metal, and those in search of traditional fare could do much worse than this respectable first effort.
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