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At 28 minutes this EP is practically an album so perhaps it should be treated as such; it definitely feels like a long listen (however that’s not really a compliment in this case).
Anyway to describe the sound I would call it slow, heavy, dark, raw, minimalistic, and...progressive. The production gets the job done but it’s anything but shiny. Its very loud. The guitarist chugs really heavy riffs; they ARE heavy but they are often monotonous and lack the groove and even the modest complexity of the riffs on “Leaving the Past Behind” for example. He does show some decent soloing skills on tracks 2 and 3 in particular though. The bass and keyboards get the chance to take centre stage several times in this album which sounds great in writing, but it isn’t really that great on the album despite the odd good keyboard line here and there. Vocalist of Wuthering Heights fame as well as several other bands “Kristen Andren” is not really at the top of his game here in my opinion. He sticks to the same range throughout the album and never does anything particularly interesting despite some good vocal lines and some crazy robot vocals in “where dreams collide”. The lyrics are pretty strange but this isn't a bad point. The problem was I couldn't hear what he was saying without the lyrics bar the odd chorus.
It’s probably the right CD for the right person (definitely sounds like 90s Swedish Metal ala Morgana Lefay or something!) and Tad Morose completionists should get this; but for me it’s just too slow and not engaging enough to the listener. 99% of Prog or Power bands could cover this album. A little more energy would help I think. Even the ballad (last track) doesn't set itself apart from the other songs with anything distinctive. Even with the prog style song writing (that manages to sound predictable) and quasi-unique atmosphere, it just can't hold my attention for long.
It just isn’t that remarkable and unless you are a big fan of either Swedish 90s Heavy Prog, Tad Morose or you just want something a little different you probably have something better to check out.
Most bands who release EPs do it mostly to introduce their new sound to their fans. The EP is followed by a full-length if the responses are positive enough, so most of them seem incomplete. Paradigma is a big exception. Although it consists of merely five tracks and has a total running time of 28:42 minutes, there is a great sense of unity between all the songs. This is a true 'mini album'. There's a reason for it to feature only so many tracks; it doesn't seem like the band ran out of compositions to release this as a full CD. It's simply that this release doesn't really call for any extra songs. It is so mature, so full, so honest. So, this is the most significant aspect of this record that sets it apart from most other EPs in my opinion. Another thing is that Paradigma is the last Tad Morose release featuring original vocalist Kristian Andren behind the mic. It's a given that Tad Morose became a much bigger band with the addition of new singer Urban Breed, and while I happen to love the Breed-era albums a lot, I think it's somewhat disappointing that they had to let go of their prog metal roots to adapt a more straight forward heavy metal approach.
The Breed-era albums, especially Undead and Matters of the Dark, are all much easier to get into compared to Andren-era stuff. Most fans are turned away by Andren's vocals, because he has a very different style that may take some time to fully accept. I myself took over two years till I began to appreciate the talent on the albums Leaving the Past Behind, Sender of Thoughts, and the Paradigma EP. But today I consider all three CDs timeless. They're the epitome of prog metal with an own identity. It is a shame they never reached the position they deserved and had to part ways with Andren. What I miss the most in today's Tad Morose is the lack of keyboards. The older stuff is pure magic, the keyboards add a totally new dimension to their songs and the atmosphere is really heavy. So if you like the songs on their first two CDs, Paradigma won't fail to impress you. It's a perfect combination of those two releases with a more prominent prog vibe to it. Also the band chose to be a bit more experimental--not on the technical aspect, but in the songwriting department.
As "Stories Around A Tale" begins, it puts an immediate smile on my face reminding me of all the perfection on Leaving the Past Behind, and particularly Sender of Thoughts. The song opens with a lush keyboard intro and is backed up by the very heavy bass and drums and finally the rhythm guitars. As the music slowly builds up, Andren uses his voice to layer over the instruments as he did on the first two records. I honestly can't think of another singer that could give these songs so much life and depth. Andren has sung in many other bands like Memento Mori, Fifth Reason, and Wuthering Heights, but I feel his highpoint in his career are these three Tad Morose albums. The singing on this track is perhaps my favourite, but it's really hard to decide. The bass is employed liberally as it was on the previous releases. He gained a trademark sound with his performance on the earlier Tad Morose catalog: rhythmic, heavy, focal, but not over-the-top showboating. The song also makes lyrical references to the title song of their debut release. That's a sign that with Andren on the bill the band kept their strong ties with their past, while with Breed they went for a new identity dropping the keys and getting a second guitar player. "Eyes So Tired" sees Andren shifting to operatic vocals at one time and displays an excellent guitar solo. The keyboard textures surround all other instruments without dominating the overall sound. The drumming is at its heaviest; no other song on the CD contains such a high drum mix. The guitars fill in whenever Andren finishes singing a line, so the songs are very full and thick sonically.
"Where Dreams Collide" is possibly the most experimental Tad Morose song ever. It starts off with some processed vocals, and there is a perfect harmony in the rhythm section. Both the drums and bass play for each other. The minimal keys take the song to new ground and Olsson's guitar solo is mindblowing! Structurally it's a very complex song and I would have been most interested to see where they're going if they'd retained their sound. "Absent Illusion" contains awesome keyboard and guitar trade-offs and there is actually an amazing keyboard solo, something not too common in Tad Morose compositions. The guitars, bass, keys and drums all operate simultaneously towards the end before moving to an atmospheric keyboard tone that is carefully combined with the intro of the last song "Another Paradigm". Basically this is a continuation in the way that the keyboards are identical but the song changes shape as we hear acoustic guitars and Andren's bare vocals. It's the most ballad-esque song on the EP. It is fascinating to see a band covering every possible ground with only 5 songs. I am most pleased with Paradigma and don't hesitate to call it one of my favourite Tad Morose albums. Recommended highly along with their godly album Sender of Thoughts.