The buzz has been strong on this Atlanta band in the last few weeks, and they seem to be the latest darlings of the “true metal” crowd. I find Ascension entertaining enough, but I really have an issue with calling this an ode to ‘80s style power metal. That description leads me to expect something that draws a lot of influence from the likes of OMEN, MANILLA ROAD and the like. PALADIN to me sounds like they’re the second coming of 3 INCHES OF BLOOD mixed with the shredding guitar frenzy of DRAGONFORCE.
The songs are fast, leaning to thrash, bursting with lots of wild guitar solos and twin guitar runs and featuring a mix of harsh croaking vocals and very bombastic and rich clean singing. Not too many of the trad diehards I know are going to take too kindly to the croaking death vocals, which are present to some degree on just about every song. The cleans are somewhat over the top as well and there are some awkward vocal lines and choruses.
So far this sounds like a pretty critical review, but that is not necessarily so. PALADIN keeps the intensity high and things fast and shreddy, so there’s no denying their power. I prefer the shorter, punchier tunes like ‘Call Of The Night’ and ‘Shoot For The Sun’ that just get in there and crank. The longer tunes like ‘Genesis’ and ‘Awakening’ meander too much. On the whole, the album zips along so fast and breezily that there’s little chance to get bored, but I would say that HAUNT and TRAVELER are more of what I think of when it comes to thrashy power metal with the 80’s vibe. PALADIN is a bit more modern than they let on.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality
3.5 / 6