Paria- Surrealist Satanist

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, May 13, 2013

German black metal band Paria has been around since 1995, but didn’t release their first official demo until 2002. Like many of the other groups out there Paria had a fairly long incubation period, and has gone through considerable lineup changes over the years. After 2010’s Unchain the Unclean vocalist Qual left the group and rather than looking for a new singer to fill the gap bassist Panzerdaemon stepped into the role. This year’s Surrealist Satanist full length marks the first time the band has been a three piece but they certainly haven’t lost any intensity in the process and have unleashed another dense, chaotic slab of black metal.

After a short melodic introduction that feels appropriate for an album entitled Surrealist Satanist, the instrumentalists launch into harsh arrangements that have a familiar feel. Paria pulls from the standard mix of fast to mid-tempo blasting and slower sections that give the layers of sound and atmosphere the chance to expand. There is a nice balance between overwhelmingly fast sections that build up dense walls of sound and slower sections where the slight melodic touches of the guitar work are able to break through. Surrealist Satanist offers up the type of black metal that I like the most, as rather than sticking with repetitive blast beats the entire time the instrumentals change tempos on a regular basis and spend plenty of time building up a tense and chilling atmosphere. While some listeners might find that the first time through this release sounds a bit typical for black metal, there are subtle nuances that stick with you and I found the second half of the album had quite a few riffs and experimental sections that got under my skin. Paria seems to have upped their production values a bit this time around, as there is a surprising amount of clarity to the recording that makes it easier to make out the individual instrumental elements without everything blurring together into pure noise.

This may be the first time that Panzerdaemon has taken on the vocal position for Paria, but it doesn’t take long before it becomes clear that he’s a perfect fit for the group. His primary style is a distorted scream that’s already fairly high pitched, but there are numerous times throughout Surrealist Satanist where his voice hits ranges so high that they sound downright terrifying. It has been a little while since I have heard a black metal singer that can nail some of these pitches and this helps to make the performance really stand out. There’s just something about the sheer intensity level that helped further draw me into the material, and should the group choose to keep Panzerdaemon in the lead vocal role I think he will continue to help give them an extra boost.

Paria’s lineup changes have clearly not hurt them at all, as they have returned with a release that has the right mix of all-out blasting and chilling melodies that make your skin crawl. Although Surrealist Satanist may not quite rank as one of the best black metal efforts I have heard this year, it’s still one that is strong enough to be worth returning to and the group has taken a considerable step forward. If you’re a fan of the genre this effort is definitely worth checking out, and hopefully the slightly experimental flair showcased on some of the longer tracks is explored even further in the future.

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