2016 was a relatively quiet year in the Atlanta metal scene, and though 2017 promises a few high-profile releases (Mastodon, Death of Kings), Paladin is already out here killing it. The band has been around for nearly two years, but their new two-song demo is the first bit of recorded material to see the light of day. Don’t be fooled by the demo status though, there’s nothing lo-fi, sloppy, or ill-defined on these two tracks. Instead, Paladin deliver a scathing mix of thrash and power metal with some Scandinavian influences corroding the cleaner edges.
Guitarist Alex Parra previously worked with Sadistic Ritual, and though the emphasis here is more on slick riffs than the intense brutality Sadistic Ritual is known for, Parra provides noticeable grit which livens up the more predictable power metal progressions. Your drunk uncle who idolizes Dave Mustaine would probably raise a beer to Paladin, but there’s more to the band than thrash revivalism. The group’s willingness to discard tradition isn’t so much a middle finger to metal purists as it is a re-imagination of metal’s history from the ’80s to the ’90s by four dudes who not only have a deep understanding of the genre, but a propensity to kick some serious ass.
Air guitar rating 10/10.