'Paranoia' is the fourth album from Swedish crust Lords Martyrdӧd but the first I have heard and from the very first track I was blown away by it. Noticing the band were signed with Southern Lord I was expecting an album of 'In ya face' crust Punk influenced death Metal, but this is so much more. The lyrics are all in Swedish, so it's a shame I don't speak Swedish because despite the harsh vocal style, which I love, the vocals are so powerful that they are sung with clarity.
The album opens with 'Nog Är Nog' ('Enough Is Enough') and immediately the guitars took me by surprise. This was far beyond what I was expecting. I was confronted by a catchy, crisp, dynamic riff fest. The next surprise was the vocals, also not what expected to find alongside these guitars, they were harsh, gravelly, powerful and so opposite to the polished, crisp top layer of guitar work.
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The key holding it together without being overpowering is the crust aspect, acting as the mortar to cement the other elements together. I love this track, one of my favourites on the album, although choosing is difficult.
The title track, 'Paranoia', also made a profound impression on me. The slow ominous opening then the barrage of drums erupts and the intensity returns. There was also some standout drum work which caught my ear on this track. The tempo change at the midway point added further interest.
On 'Överkom Er Rädsla' ('Overcame Your Fear') the underlying D-Beat holding it all together is very much apparent, yet there is so much more to this track with the layers of guitar work, as is with 'Köttberg' ('Meat Mountain'), it's a short, angry and direct track showing the band's straightforward D-Beat oriented, crushing style.
The album continues to rage with 'Klassfienden' ('Class Enemy') and 'Hör Världens Rop' ('Hear The World Cries') a brute-force crust attack, with dynamic leads and empowering vocals sung with anger and conviction. 'Ett Hjärta Av Eld' ('A Heart Of Fire') has a slower opening that builds into the familiar D-Beat led sound, a longer track but with an interest retainer in the form of a tempo and mood change at the midway point.
'En Tragisk Zeitgeist' ('A Tragic Zeitgeist') is another slice of delightful D-Beat led, crusty goodness and the excitement continues with 'Det Sker Samtidigt' ('It Takes Place Simultaneously'). Although continuing in the same vein, the excellent 'Avbön' ('Apology') is a little different with its catchy underlying riff.
Finally ending with the same ferocity as it started, 'Varje Val Har Sitt Pris' ('Every Choice Has Its Price') also has a bit of an epic solo towards it's end. What a finale to the album!
This is an excellent album, a mix of crust, death and black Metal and D-Beat Punk in a perfect mix of startling power. You will press replay when you reach the end because you won't believe what you have just heard. The album was recorded at Studio Fredman (At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Opeth).
'Paranoia' is out now on Southern Lord.