Mike Paradine Group : Death In The Family

Another day, another pleasant surprise. When CackBlabbath received the debut solo album from ArcticFlame drummer Mike Paradine no one was exactly falling over themselves to volunteer to review it. But we do listen to everything that we receive, and that’s just as well or we could have missed out on a bit of a gem as “Death In The Family” is a collection well written and great sounding “classic rock” and metal songs.

Opening track Venom And Piss is an out and out rocker which relates the story of a bitter family feud, and that sets the lyrical scene for what is clearly a very personal album.

This guy has clearly had an eventful life, Rise Up From The Grave has an altogether unexpected poignancy, the story of the 13 year old Mike’s battle with Cancer, and how the medical profession wrote him off  “No one gives you a fighting chance, once you’re in Cancer’s grip”.

It’s clearly a very personal album, but it never starts to wander into “unnecessarily self indulgent”. OK, so you can explore the deep meanings behind the songs if you want….. Or you can just treat it as what it is, a collection of decent rock and metal songs.

One of the cool things about this release is the way that it mixes those two styles, and I don’t just mean that it cunningly blends them in one track, I mean that the opener is a rock song, but other tracks are more or less pure Heavy Metal, and so it goes on through the 10 tracks that make up the album.

Along side his ArcticFlame cohorts there are a number of notable guest appearances on the album, with Wolf vocalist Richard Holmgren lending his, not inconsiderable, vocal talent to proceedings. Musically Mike & Co draw on a range of bands who have influenced them, and one of the fun things about albums like this is picking out out the influences at play, bit of Kiss here (and not just in Parasite), Touch of Van Halen there, spot of Ozzy, Priest, even Guns’n’Roses…. you get the idea.

It mostly works well, although it does fall a bit flat at the end with the overlong “ballad of 9/11 by numbers” The Dust which does take the “finish on a high” theory… and ignore it .

So there you have it. Maybe it’s nothing to shake the world but this is an album that is immediately likeable, and there’s no denying that it’s enjoyable enough right from the very start.

Good, fun, stuff. Like it a lot.