This superlative new album from the Belgium based band is so dynamic, it’s the one that Queens Of The Stone Age have forgotten to make. It’s a bold statement to compare one of the world’s biggest hard rock bands to an obscure European band but it’s damn near accurate. And as it’s produced by QOTSA leader Josh Homme, you know what kind of playground you’re fighting in.
Headed by Tim Vanhamel (vocals, guitar and composition), this belated follow up to Outside The Simian Flock, which was originally released in 2001, certainly does pack the punches. Forget any fickle talk of Sylvester Stallone making a comeback as boxer Rocky Balboa in a proposed Rocky VI film. Paradisiac is the new king of the ring: it’ll do all the punching and weaving and come out with only a few minor scrapes.
Vanhamel and drummer Dave Schrogen were previously in a band that had the rather unfortunate name of Evil Superstars – they folded after their record label went bust and the only incarnation of Millionaire was formed afterwards.
Paradisiac starts off so thunderously heavy that an earthquake could have occurred close by and gone unnoticed. I’m On A High is a ballsy high school tough kid of the year and A Lust Unmatched is at least its equal. Rise And Fall has patience and complexity that some of its siblings don’t much care for, such as the headache inducing We Don’t Live There Anymore – not a bad song by any means, just exhaustive.
The rippling bassline that flows through the entire album could cause a vicious tidal wave in the Atlantic Ocean and Vanhamel’s musicianship is clearly something worthwhile. As his dad was a jazz musician and he formed his first band (funnily called Sister Poo Poo) at the tender age of 13, he has an obvious love and passion for the music in general.
The albums downfall is that some of the songs sound too alike, so after pressing the repeat button it’s not clear where the album could start or finish. It also has little sense of pace as each song feels like your head is being smashed into a wall but what the hell, that’s rock music, man.
For fans of Soundgarden, Audioslave, Rage Against The Machine and the like, this album is emphatically worth a piece of your time. It has the mammoth thumping sound of the aforementioned American bands with a similarly huge commercial texture.
It has a big, vibrant look on life and glossy production yet doesn’t sound like it is competing for stardom in an episode of America’s Next Top Model. Paradisiac has an abundance of grit and verve that it shouts out confidently.
There is more muscle in Paradisiac than Arnold Schwarzenegger had during the heyday of his action star career and more attitude than Mr. T had in The A-Team, so roll up your sleeves and get ready for the big fight. A knock out it most certainly is.