偏執症者 (Paranoid)- Satyagraha

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, October 26, 2015

Last week a promo showed up in my mailbox that instantly grabbed my attention. The CD cover had an ominous illustration on the front and a track listing in Japanese on the back, but it turns out that 偏執症者 (Paranoid) is actually from Sweden and had all of their song titles translated into Japanese on this new full length Satyagraha. Coming in somewhere between extremely noisy D-beat and punk with a healthy dose of raging metal influences thrown into the mix, this record manages to channel both the Asian and European variants of both genres which results in a killer listen that you’re going to want to crank all the up.

Satyagraha starts off with some lingering noise and ambient sounds before launching right into its abrasive assault. It’s clear right from the start that this album is focused on hitting listeners with some of the noisiest guitar riffs around, and that’s what made it instantly appeal to me. 偏執症者 (Paranoid)’s song patterns may be familiar, as they pull from the D-beat pattern frequently and have aggressive riffing and pounding drums that don’t let up for a single second. But they do it really well, and behind the sheer abrasiveness of the recording there are plenty of catchy riffs that will make you want to crank the volume up and run around with your fists in the air. There are plenty of bands going for this particular style as D-beat and punk of this type regularly have new acts joining the fray, but it’s a bit rarer to have it offer memorable riffs and standout songs alongside the sheer wall of energy. But what’s most surprising about Satyagraha is the way it ends. You get nine tracks of intense instrumentation and catchy leads that all span around two to three minutes a piece before the final song heads off in a completely different direction. Spanning five and a half minutes, the last track on the album takes the foot off the gas in favor of a haunting keyboard melody. It’s an unexpected way to end, but it feels like the instrumentals are channeling the aftermath of the destruction the rest of the material left in its wake and proves that these guys might be thinking just a little outside of the box compared to some of their peers.

When the noise level is this extreme on a punk record of any kind, the vocals have a tendency to be buried underneath the dense wall of sound. But that’s actually not the case here, as even with the ear shattering tonality of the guitars the drums and vocals stand are near the front of the mix and dominate just as much of the spotlight. I’m not sure which of the three members contribute vocals or if all three of them do in some capacity, but there’s quite a bit of variation between screaming and growling that gives the material some additional depth. What I like the most is that the band likes to use the high/low pitches in tandem with each other, giving off that towering presence that works so well for this particular type of music. As with the instrumental work, the screams and growls are unrelenting the entire time through and do their best to grab you right by the throat every single second.

I’m a big fan of any punk/D-beat that’s capable of offering both absolutely punishing tonality and instrumentation mixed with some catchy riffing, and that’s exactly what 偏執症者 (Paranoid) has been able to do on Satyagraha. The guitar attack with the force of a buzzsaw and up the noise to its maximum level, and it’s some of the sickest, dense material of this type I’ve heard this year next to Napalm Raid. But there’s also a hint of some softer experimental elements at the end that fit thematically with the rest of the record, and that’s a sure to help this band stand out a bit from the rest and leave them with plenty of room to branch out should they choose to do so. The bottom line is, if anything D-beat related grabs your attention you shouldn’t miss out on Satyagraha.

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