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Very unique; it may be important very soon - 81%

Noktorn, September 6th, 2007

No matter what happens to a genre of music, there should generally be three classifications of bands. The first set should be those playing firmly within the confines of their genre: these artists stabilize the style, and provide a firm foundation for others to grow upon. The second set should be pushing the boundaries of their genre, be it through drawing outside influences, changing the way the style is interpreted, or merely pushing the boundaries of technicality, speed, or other such immediately recognizable factors. The final category, and the one that Minnesota one-man project Paradigmshftr belongs to, are those artists who exist nearly on the outside of their respective genre, and make it their duty to experiment, to contort and deform the root genre of their music into a nearly unrecognizable form, and thus create new, outlandish ideas that explode in a flurry of expansion for their musical community. This is unlike just about anything I've ever heard.

The best way to describe the music here is probably as Skinny Puppy playing heavy metal. There are definite metal riffs here, inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath and Godflesh, but the music as a whole is overwhelmingly beat driven. Lots of bass heavy drumlines with the occasional section of syncopated snare ala Godflesh make appearances, as do additional industrial samples, which are often excruciatingly loud, seemingly for the purpose of assaulting the listener with even more abrasive musical textures. Bursts of electronic noise, clicks and whirrs play another song, off time with the normal instruments, making music that is at once complex and barely sensical. Vocals are very reminiscent of one Nivek Ogre, and are sparingly used and soaked in reverb and echo effects, sort of draped over the constantly clicking drum machine samples and droning riffs. Probably the most 'metal' song here is 'Worthless', as it is the most riff-based, peeling off combinations of doom/death and oldschool heavy metal riffs, albeit downtuned and droned out of recognition. The rest of it, though, is very industrial inspired, but in a good way. I find myself enjoying this quite a lot.

I haven't heard anything really like this apart from the aforementioned Skinny Puppy comparison and a bit of Godflesh. This is much more Roadkill Sodomizer than Fear Factory; you know, an artist that realizes that 'industrial' doesn't just mean steady, heavy beats, drum machines, and repetitive staccato riffing. It's a purer marriage of industrial and metal than just about anything out there. There's a willingness to push each genre beyond its boundaries and make undeniably abrasive, grating, darkly apocalyptic music that I appreciate greatly when most people are concentrating on coiffing their hair perfectly for their next photo shoot. It's a beautiful blast of noise, really, and I'm looking forward to the next Paradigmshftr release very eagerly.

The very best track, though, is the final one, 'Effigy'. Ambient synths and distant, pounding, martial drums that would not sound out of place even remotely on Skepticism's 'Stormcrowfleet' or an Atomtrakt record fill this longest track, and I could listen to this one song on repeat for hours. The other material is very good; but this keyboard funeral is something I would very much love to hear an entire, haunting LP of. Gratingly hideous, lushly beautiful: the music on this demo speaks to great variation and talent to be evidenced in the future.