Written by John Angel
Param-Nesia – Aspect of Creation
Melodeath from Vancouver, BC
Releases June 18th, 2021
There’s something in the water in Vancouver. It’s produced some phenomenal bands, especially of the metal variety in the last couple decades. Top names to come out of the city include Archspire, Unleash the Archers, Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townshend, and 3 Inches of Blood. Something about the city and its music scene makes it an ideal forge for talented and iconic metal bands. Param-Nesia, the subject of today’s review, is no exception. Let’s take a look at their sophomore effort, Aspect of Creation.
Param-Nesia is a melodic death metal quintet based out of Vancouver, BC. Born of jam sessions in the back of a snowboarding shop between drummer Derek Hill and guitarist Andy Cahalin, the group was officially founded in 2016 and quickly added vocalist Cayle Charlton. They’ve had a bit of personnel volatility since then but the lineup has been solidified with the additions of Matt Burnham on guitar and Colton Hession on bass. Param-Nesia released an excellent debut EP titled The Beginning and is following it up with Aspect of Creation. I want to add that it’s a self-released record which y’all know endears them to me and my Z-List heart!
Aspect of Creation is a powerful slab of melodeath that takes listeners on a sonic journey. The EP is described by the band as “a bionic metal fuckfest” and, well, I can’t provide evidence that refutes that. Melodic riffs permeate the record and the group displays great rhythmic precision. I have a soft spot for guitarists that give their picking hands and rhythm-brain a work out with their riffs. Opening track “Pestilence of Man” is chock full of this variety of riffage. There’s tight gallops everywhere and some tasty guitar harmonies at just the right moments. I grew up listening to Trivium and just love all the tasty nuance that gallops and just the right guitar harmony can add. Guitarists Cahalin and Burnham lock in with drummer Hill on these riffs and deliver that pounding, robotic precision that modern metal is so known for. When not delivering on the fleet-fingered melodicism Param-Nesia deliver some absolutely crushing riffs. My favorite is starts around the 3:50 mark on album closer, “Journey to Nothing”. It’s got just the right amount of palm-muted syncopation and melodic flourishes to get one’s head a-bangin’. Cahalin and Burnham also do their part to revive the paradigm of the guitar hero that was struck down by grunge in the 90’s with some excellent solos on the record. A particularly excellent one is also on “Journey to Nothing”.
Charlton proves a talented vocalist and his tone and delivery sometimes remind me of Randy Blythe, especially on “Lethocerus”. He navigates the 6/8 time signature of the piece in a similar way to Blythe’s style on earlier Lamb of God tracks utilizing the same meter. He also goes from low to high screams a few times throughout the EP and the way he shapes them is super Blythe-ian. Charlton avoids the pitfalls of deriving one’s personal style from just one artist and notably features a prominent low scream. It’s definitely not a gutteral but it sounds badass and matches the sections he employs it on and adds to his contributions to the record.
Colton Hession is no slouch on bass. I feel bad when I’m writing these reviews because so often I’m so dialed into what the drums and guitars are doing that I often neglect to listen to the bass. It’s not intentional and it’s kind of inherent to the style. Metal already has so much going on in the low end of the frequency spectrum that it’s hard for the bassist to really stand out. And we’re not talking about funk here; metal is guitar-driven music. But bass is just as essential to achieving the full wall of sound so characteristic to metal as any other instrument in the mix. Don’t let AAL stans tell you otherwise. Hession came into the studio and nailed his fuckin’ parts and did what the record needed him to do. My hat’s off to all the underappreciated metal bassists of the world for handling the sometimes unglamorous but always necessary duties of the heavy heavy low low.
My one criticism of Aspect of Creation is that we never really hear a fully fleshed out clean section that relaxes the pace. Param-Nesia hints at it with some textural figures in overdubbed guitars that would sound right at home in an ambient section and we get a taste of clean guitar toan at the very end of the record. I probably wouldn’t have this complaint if they had kept the vibe strictly heavy but that little taste made me wish they’d put at least one full blown clean, ambient section in. I know I’m harping on a matter of taste here but the genre is known for the inclusion of passages like I’m describing and these musicians have demonstrated they know that and can write such passages so why not just put a big ‘ole clean and pretty part in there? Maybe their first full-length will have such a passage or two.
Lack of fulfillment for my specific, narrow tastes aside, Param-Nesia delivers a quality EP in Aspect of Creation. If you’re into melodeath that leans into the speed and technicality of thrash and has a splash of prog nerdiness then this is the record for you. I feel this group has a little ways to go to really fulfill their potential but Aspect of Creation is a great statement from a young band and I can’t wait to see what they do next. Be sure to give this one a spin when it drops on June 18!