Category Archives: heavy rock

paralyzed

Paralyzed

Know how you’ll be in the queue at the supermarket when it dawns, though you have no idea who they are, the person stood behind you is a sportsman / sportswoman of some fame? Or you’re at a gig and as they take to the stage, before even striking a note, you know the unknown support band are going to be great? Or you hear a band, previously unknown to you, in Bandcamp and realize within seconds they are class; top quality and playing just the sounds you like to hear?

What connects the three examples above, is they have ‘presence.’ There is an aura surrounding these people that sets them distinct to others in their field.

Such is the case with Paralyzed. a hard rock band from Bamberg, Germany.

Paralyzed

You only have to look as far as the MUSIC PAST page on this very blog to see what kind of music excites me – and more to the point, excites me sufficiently to make more people aware… and write about it.

And all that helps explain what attracted me to this band the moment I clicked on their new album, ‘Heavy Road.’

I have to concede knowing very little about Paralyzed other that they formed in 2019, and have just released their second album, a follow-up to January 2021’s eponymous debut LP.

There was also an excellent value, seven track, thirty-four minutes long, EP release ‘Hidden Sun‘ back in the year of their formation, and a seven minute long digital single release, ‘This Woman’ in 2020. (Tracks fromHeavy Road,’ ‘Paralyzed’ and Hidden Sun form the ‘live’ set that features at the end of this piece.)

‘Heavy Road’ album artwork

‘Heavy Road’ comprises eight tracks over around forty minutes duration. It is pretty much rooted in a ’70s Rock feel, and thus, just my bag!

Album opener is ‘Devil’s Bride.’ From the opening vocal, there’s a very distinctive sense of Jim Morrison / Doors, which hooked me right away. It ‘modern’ terms, you’d say the riff, for the first three minutes of the seven and a half, is quite doom laden. The song then erupts in intensity and pace. Vocalist Michael Binder seems to morph into a Ian Astbury (The Cult) while executing a couple of searing guitar solos. A terrific start.

‘Orange Carpet,‘ has a real chugging riff. No nonsense hard rock, pure and simple. ‘Mayday’ is more of a mid-tempo, smokey, bluesy number, again with head-nod inducing riff. ‘Black Trees Pt 1‘ opens in dark mood; heavy blues at its finest – slightly rasping vocals over the top of moody, wah wah type guitar solos and deep, resounding bass lines.

Paralyzed.

‘Pilgrim Boots,‘ is the second track, after the opener, to breach the seven minute mark. Again, there is an undeniable Doors comparison to be made, but hey – that’s all pretty cool by me! Caterina Bohner’s organ work is more noticable on this one, and overall, the track has a vibrant, boogie feel to it.

Black Trees Pt 2‘ chugs away for three and a half minutes – all upbeat and again with a couple neat guitar solos thrown in. ‘Coal Mine’ is another slow burner. Building as it progresses, the bass line adopts a doom style feel, threatening; menacing. Michael’s vocal seem to become angrier and his guitar raging.

And then we’re at the album closer, ‘White Jar.‘ Straight off we’re into a short guitar solo, with the organ dancing in the background. More ‘wah wah’ guitar blends in mid-track alongside an almost funky bass line this time. A strong fnish!

I’ve made reference to Paralyzed being very ’70s rock inspired. And they are – or at least they sound that way. Yet – there is more to them than a band living in the past. They have incorporated modern elements into their music, but without going overboard in trying to be ‘different.’

Hard, driving rock will never die. And certainly not when the band producing it has such ‘presence.

One thing you sure won’t be on buying and listening to this album, is Paralyzed.

PARALYZED

Michael Binder – Vocals / Lead Guitar
Caterina Bohner – Organ / Rhythm Guitar
Philipp Engelbrecht – Bass
Florian Thiele – Drums

Paralyzed

man in the woods

Man! This is one LOUD band!

For the best part of fifty-two minutes, the power and maelstrom that is Man In The Woods raged around me. Yes, their new album, ‘Badlands ‘ runs to around fifty-two minutes – that’s a lot of bang for your buck, and I do mean ‘BANG.’

Man in the Woods

Formed in 2016, this four-piece heavy rock band from Isle of Man released their debut EP, ‘Badlands Part 1‘ in 2018. This consisted four tracks: ‘Icarus Landing‘; ‘Speedeater‘; ‘Toxicology,’ and ‘Angel of Gasoline.’

The intention was to write more tracks that would fit the narrative and release ‘Part 2’ at a later date. But of course, The World took a bit of a wrong turning and, well …

So now, with the additional five tracks written and recorded, the decision was taken to release both parts as one complete tale. Hence the longer than normal length of the new album.

‘Badlands’ album artwork.

In a sense, it was darkly ironic the pandemic and ensuing worldwide lockdown should delay the project. For the inspiration behind the music of Man In The Woods, is one of desolation; of depopulation; annihilation.

I hate to use the description ‘concept album’ because I think that may create an errant perception, but it is certainly ‘themed’ around the inspiration. in their own words:

” …  the album looks at the apocalypse which starts with an alien invasion documented in ‘Signals, Saucers and Satellites.’  The album is not in order of events and we chose to order the tracks in regards to the sound rather than the story.  In a way we have ended up with a Pulp Fiction, Citizen Kane narrative setup where sections of the story are not in order.  But both those films and the concept is quite cool.

“So once the world has been pretty much depopulated by the invasion we look at individual stories within the same universe that don’t all link into one another but set a scene.  If you imagine piecing together lots of letters written during WW1 in order to build up a picture of what people experienced, ‘Badlands’ does a similar thing.   ‘Trenchfoot‘ is about the soldiers going to war; ‘Iron Strider‘ is about a lone vigilante type character, like Mad Max, who seeks revenge; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is about a priest who sacrifices himself after he believes God has left him.  Over all each story hopefully leaves you feeling like it’s a shit environment to live.

Musically, Man In The Woods have been tagged with just about every ‘heavy’ music related hashtag: ‘stoner,’ ‘doom,’ ‘psych,’ ‘rock,’ ‘desert rock,’ ‘sludge,’ …. it doesn’t really matter. I’ll probably do the same at the end of this piece! Truth is, ‘Badlands‘ really encapsulates them all at various points.

In a nutshell, the music throughout is typified by Marc’s gruff, rasping and growled vocals laying over the top of a heavy and, yes, at times, doom-laden bass line. Christian’s pounding a crushing drums permeate every track, while James and David provide the powerful guitar riffs that drive, rhythm and share some intricate solos.

Album opener is ‘Icarus Landing.

‘Speedeater,’ to me sounds a bit like a sped-up ‘stoner’ track, if that makes any sense. ‘The Abduction of Barney Hill‘ follows. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Here’s why:

Philosorapture’ maintains the intensity and pace with a buzzing guitar riff, while ‘Toxicology,‘ slows things down a little as the mood seems to darken with more of a rumbling backing. ‘Trenchfoot‘ as you imagine with it being about soldiers being called to war, is angry and totally psyched up; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is the shortest, and I believe, the first song the band wrote together. It’s pretty straight up heavy rock, and rages from start to finish.

I’ve so far omitted tracks #5 and # 9. These are the two longest on the album. The former, ‘Iron Strider,’ breaches the ten minute mark, while closer ‘Signals, Saucers, Satellites‘ is only about thirty seconds shy of that.

I did initially wonder about having such lengthy tracks on an album of this overall duration. I needn’t have worried – they are my two favourites of the nine! (‘Iron Strider‘ just shades it, actually.)

Both, to the musically untrained ear at least,follow pretty much the same structure: with slow builds moving to heavy, steady paced mid sections, before picking up pace, bigger riffs and searing guitar towards the final two / three minutes.

And that’s it – and then there was silence.

Man In The Woods touch base with so many rock sub-genres on this album, I’m sure ‘Badlands’ will have such a wide appeal. You can check out the whole album from 29th July on Bandcamp.

Then you can buy it! And play it LOUD!

MAN IN THE WOODS

Marc Vincent – Bass / Vocals
James Oxtoby – Guitar
David Murray – Guitar
Christian Hardman – Drums

Man In The Woods