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Canadian black/death metal is fast becoming one of my favourite genres over the years, with bands such as Antediluvian and Adversarial releasing atmospheric yet utterly crushing material. Paroxsihzem was formed in 2007, and with their self-titled 2010 demo, they have managed to capture my attention as well, with this year seeing the band release their self-titled debut full length album under fast-rising label Dark Descent Records.
An inspection of the tracklist reveals that the tracks on the album are similar to that of the demo, and one would quickly realise that the material on Paroxsihzem (the full length) are a re-recording of the songs that the band has written a couple of years back on the demo. But this is certainly not a reason for those who have already listened to the demo to not bother check out the album, as the material on the full length present a rather different experience compared to the demo.
Unlike the demo, the atmosphere that is present on the full length is much more crushing, much more suffocating, with a more low-end heavy sound that asphyxiates the listener under the intense pressure of the oppressive riffs. The opening Intro sets the ominous mood for the album, but once Vanya begins, all hell breaks loose. While those who have heard the demo would realise that the speed that the band goes at is slightly slower here, the band more than makes up with the intensity in the music, as guitarist Impugnor and drummer The Desolate One providing all the crushing goodness that is present. The similarities to their compatriots such as Antediluvian and other such atmospheric black/death metal bands such as Bestial Raids are easily heard, not only in the music but also in the songwriting and the deep, throaty vocals of Krag, bringing to mind such legends as Incantation to mind as well at times.
Like mentioned, the atmosphere on the album is one of the key elements in making Paroxsihzem such a successful release, with a constant dark cloud that hangs over the release. The band cleverly makes use of spoken samples on the album as well to reinforce the haunting and dangerous mood on the album, on top of the frantic trem-picked riffs and the non-stop blasting of The Desolate One, who provides a martial feel at times such as on Nausea. Album closer Aokigahara is easily the most crushing track, and is the perfect track that displays the band’s style of music.
With Paroxsihzem being a re-recording of old songs from their demos, it certainly leaves fans of the band craving for new material. Fortunately, the dynamics of the band after the inclusion of The Desolate One, and the entire new sound that the band has produced in the playing of these materials have provided a temporary relief for the time being.