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Paradox: Heresy II End of a Legend

German Thrash Metal icons Paradox have returned with a sequel to their 1990 classic Heresy. Released through AFM Records, Heresy II End of a Legend, brings the story of the original concept album forward and reaffirms the band's intention to remain one of the best Thrash Metal bands in the game. Frontman, guitarist and driving force of the band Charly Steinhauer has assembled a killer line up to tackle this material in the hopes of living up to the classic first installment. Coming back into the band after a one album layoff is guitar wizard Christian Munzner and long time bass player Olly Keller, as well as, Paradox founding member, drummer Alex Blaha who hadn’t played with the band since Heresy. Also included for the task of completing the story concept was the original lyricist from Heresy, Peter Vogt.

Musically the band is in electrifying form. The songs are vibrant, heavy, melodic and exciting. Taking equal parts Thrash, Melodic Thrash, Technicality, Classic Heavy Metal and Power Metal and even elements of Doom and molding them into a completely coherent mix that works to perfection. Lyrically Heresy II End of a Legend continues the story of the crusade of the Catholic Church against the schismatic Cathars in the 13th century. Heresy II End of a Legend begins somewhat doomy with “Escape From The Burning” and as the song builds up they unleash the Thrash and absolutely nail it. There are even some touches of groove metal in “The Great Denial''. The song also has fantastic vocal melodies from Charly and of course Christian showing once again, as he does throughout the album, why he is one of the best guitarists in metal these days. Songs like “The Visitor'' and “A Man Of Sorrow'' among others highlight the band's anthemic power while never getting anywhere near the cheesiness of some power metal. The guitar solo’s throughout Heresy II End of a Legend are the epitome of excellence, which is the hallmark of Christian’s playing on all the albums he’s done. Vocally Charly delivers a perfect hybrid of Thrash delivery and Power Metal melodicism. It always feels that it could all derail at any moment but it never does and so that gives the music a great tension and danger that makes it so compelling. Alex Blaha is a pummeling force to be reckoned with and drives the whole album forward with dynamic ferocity, and Olly Keller’s melodic bass lines are classy and enrich the whole album. Also the band has managed to achieve a modern production sound while also capturing the old school thrash sound as well. An Impressive feat.

The mission of this album was to live up to Heresy and they have succeeded in not only reaching that level but surpassing it. Heresy II End of a Legend is overflowing with amazing, hard hitting riffs, epic and uplifting melodies, in your face Thrash pummeling onslaughts, doomy escapades and top tier guitar playing. Most importantly each song on this album is a beast and even though I’m personally more of a fan of shorter run times for albums, and even with the 1hour and 16 minute runtime, in this case, there is zero filler and only killer. Heresy II End of a Legend is a masterclass in Melodic - Power Thrash.

The Line Up:
Charly Steinhauer - Vocals and Guitar
Christian Münzner - Guitar
Olly Keller - Bass
Axel Blaha - Drums

1. Escape From the Burning
2. Mountains and Caves
3. The Visitors
4. Children Of A Virgin
5. Journey Into Fear
6. Burying a Treasure
7. A meeting Of Minds
8. Priestly Vows
9. Unholy Conspiracy
10. A Man Of Sorrow (Prologue)
11. A Man Of Sorrow
12. The Great Denial
13. End Of A Legend

Added: October 9th 2021
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1447
Language: english

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Paradox: Heresy II End of a Legend
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-10-09 22:39:37
My Score:

Paradox have never been a band to look backwards, each of their seven previous albums a progression and evolution on what has come before. Hence it was something of a surprise when the return of their original drummer Alex Blaha not only saw a pleasant reunion for this classic German thrash outfit, but also the promise of a second part to their 1990 Heresy album. And as such it should possibly be little shock to discover a partial return to the classic thrash roots that saw this band establish themselves back in the late 80s and early 90s. However, rather than simply retread old ground, with Heresy II: End Of A Legend, Paradox take that base and expand upon it in quite marvellous fashion.

The band have long been led by singer and guitarist Charley Steinhauer, but with the return of Christian Münzner also on guitar and long time bass player Olly Keller, there may be three different members of this band since the release of the rather excellent Pangea album in 2016, but not one of them actually makes their Paradox debut here, with the latter pairing last seen on 2012’s Tales Of The Weird. None of that apparent upheaval is even vaguely hinted at on Heresy II, this lengthy detonation of traditional thrash values as convincing an outburst as you’re likely to hear. The concept behind the album picks up from where the first Heresy release left off as we follow the remaining Cathar forces who were nearly decimated during the Albigensian Crusade, as covered in the first instalment some three decades plus ago. The music too harks back, a brutalistic bludgeon of an album given just enough refinement to make it a mighty but crafted attack of grinding guitars, uncompromising vocals and powering drums. Clocking in at the 76 minute mark, neither does it take the easy route and I’ll admit that it took me really quite some time to unravel the beauty at the heart of this beast. Once I had, the riches came fooding forth from a collection of music that’s hugely coherent as it takes pinpoint swipes at everything within touching distance. Blaha has, it would appear, hardly been active behind a drum kit since his departure from this band’s number back in 1991 but he’s a powerhouse here, whether driving “A Man Of Sorrow (Prologue)” with intensity and focus, or adding a subtle groove to the twisted stab of "Children Of A Virgin”.

That, however, would mean little if the snarling sneer from Steinhauer wasn’t so damn convincing as he snaps and bites his way through “Journey Into Fear” and “Man Of Sorrow”. The latter of those two also highlights the stupendous guitar forays from the six-string totting singer alongside Münzer, as the duo lock in tight and fix their sights on any given target to devastating effect.

The classic thrash scene has in the last few years undoubtedly begun going through something of a renaissance. With Heresy II: End Of A Legend, Paradox have placed themselves right at the centre of that movement and are once again proving to be masters of the genre.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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