Paralysis – Life Sentence (Self-Released)

Tuesday, 27th June 2017
Rating: 9/10

Steadily refining their outlook and solidifying a new lineup, New Jersey crossover thrash act Paralysis felt the time is ripe for a full-length collection of songs, which we have in this 10 song album Life Sentence. Only guitarist/vocalist Jon Plemenik and lead guitarist Ron Iglesias remain from 2016’s You Can’t Win recording lineup – the band gaining a versatile bassist in Patrick Harte while scooping Xenophile drummer Matt Pavlik to handle the percussion duties for this quartet as well. It’s obvious right away the four-piece have spent time honing in on diverse songwriting that keeps the energy level on high, pushing key musical hooks, transitions, and gang-oriented choruses which allow for stronger brain/body retention.

Proudly embracing an East Coast attitude and execution, these songs possess the right aggression and tenacity while also taking into consideration moments where the musicianship shines. Patrick in particular places his bass skills front and center – channeling Steve Harris and D.D. Verni during the crushing title cut, while weaving low end magic during the more melodic/ anthem-oriented “Think It’s Right”. Matt also keeps his parts very straightforward and tasteful, not necessarily being as progressive-minded as his work in Xenophile – knowing when to lay back into proper groove mechanics for opener “Ignorance” while also explosive and relentless on the super intense thrashing closer “Karma”. Jon and Ron as guitarists keep their playing sharp and focused – the transitions are very tight, the lead breaks properly enhancing the songs and not just self-serving to showcase technical intricacies. The shifting riffs for “Misery” in particular stood out, bringing up everything from Anthrax and Nuclear Assault, while revamping the previous EP’s “All Your Lies” for the better, the rhythmic wall obliterating all comers, the half-time tempo transition giving the track that added melodic nuance and slam factor.

Jon’s vocals this time around have more rasp, grit, and forcefulness – still very much in that Mille semi-growl mold, but still discernible throughout. Some of his best work takes place on the shorter “Nothing But Death” which has a bit of that old S.O.D. feel to it, as well as the varied screaming he employs during a more mid-tempo effort like “Your Will”. Overall, Life Sentence crushes Paralysis’ previous offerings because the band stepped up their game in all phases of songwriting, performance, production – representing what this scribe saw and felt seeing this band on stage live. Well done, gentlemen.

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