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ALBUM REVIEW : PALADIN — Ascension


ALBUM REVIEW : PALADIN — Ascension (2019)

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia (USA), Paladin released their first full-length album, Ascension, on May 17. Fresh blood! I love fresh blood!

I have to give props to Spotify for their Release Radar and Discovery Weekly playlist. When their single “Awakening” came out, Paladin came up on both for me, ensuring that I wouldn’t miss it. Good name, I thought, go on… I admit that I have enough digits to count the number of American bands I actually enjoy, so when a new US band impresses me out of the gate, I’m in! So I kept tabs on the album release and had myself a listening party on the day of.

There isn’t much to elaborate on; every song on Ascension is neck-breaking, eardrum-shattering, face-melting metal. Overall it has a great power metal-adjacent sound; some songs lean more towards melodeath rather than thrash, like “Vagrant” and “Genesis”, while others like “Shoot For The Sun” sound as old school as could be without feeling outdated. If you mingle with these genres, you may pick favourites but will certainly enjoy the entire album.

Paladin — Shoot For The Sun

A bit of Kalmah, a bit of Iced Earth, a swirl of Iron Maiden… Combining a tried and true power/thrash formula, a little melodeath twist, harsh and clean vocals and some precise guitar shredding to tie it together nicely, most of the songs on Ascension remind me of 3 Inches Of Blood as well as Unleash The Archers — 2 of my local favourites that made it far purely on merit. I absolutely expect these warriors to follow in their tracks and conquer the international scene. They certainly deserve it.

I’m particularly a fan of their clean vocals, very Bruce Dickinson-esque but also not at all unlike Fabio Lione at times — on first listen I even thought it was him doing guest vocals on “Carpe Diem”, but as far as I know it is all Taylor Washington, and that is quite impressive!

Fun fact: When Ensiferum came through town with Septicflesh and Arsis in January, Taylor Washington was actually playing with Arsis. I didn’t know of Paladin at the time, but I’ll recognize good nerdy tattoos anywhere. Knowing now, I’m sad I didn’t pay too much attention to his live playing skills. I can’t wait to see Paladin live and see him pull double-duty on guitars AND vocals, because on top of having laser fingers the man has pipes of steel.

Ascension is a 50-minute thrill ride you’d expect of a well-seasoned recording band. Technical, heavy, unmistakably thrashy, with the high-flying vocals and geekery of power metal, I feel like this band has created something that any metalhead with a genre-hopping palate will immediately love.

Paladin rolls a critical hit!

PALADIN — Ascension

Prosthetic Records

Release date: May 17, 2019

▶ Listen to Paladin on Spotify

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