We here at HeavyBlog are big fans of James Norbert Ivanyi, an Australian guitarist who is at the forefront of the modern instrumental metal movement. Last year we praised his excellent EP titled The Matter Circumvention and this year he returned with another stellar EP, the far too short The Usurper. However, what many may not be aware of is that prior to pumping out killer EPs as a solo act, James was in an Aussie progressive metal band named Paradigm. They put out one record, 2012’s Mind Is Key, prior to disbanding, and you should definitely go listen to it!
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The record kicks off with the monstrous “Android”, a 17-minute (you read that right) shredfest full of catchy riffs, tasty licks and attention-demanding solos. Whilst the playing is extremely technically demanding, at no point does it feel over the top or forced, instead there is a razor sharp focus on songwriting and ensuring that each moment builds on what has come before. The guitar solos have a classic ‘70s tone to them, and the track as a whole has a really nice bounce and groove to it throughout. Now whilst the guitar playing is at the forefront of the album, we must not forget that this is a band and so the other members also deserve our attention.
The drumming features a fill-heavy style of playing which rhythmically locks in well with the guitar work during the verses, provides a counter-point to listen to during the more melodic sections and allows the tracks space to breathe during the solos. Unfortunately the bass is somewhat buried in the mix, and so it’s difficult to discern what it’s actually doing. Finally, we arrive at the biggest difference between Paradigm and James’ solo work, vocalist Thomas Acardi. That’s right, this is not an instrumental act, and the vocals are a mixture of cleans and relatively non-abrasive, nu-metal style harsh vocals. The latter complement the underlying instrumentation really well; however, the cleans leave more to be desired and so, whilst he is not a bad vocalist, one feels that he is not up to the same standard as the musicians around him.
So there you have it folks, this band may no longer exist, but their music is still worthy of your attention and they’re Australian, so you know it’s good. This is the part where we usually plug their Facebook page, but given they’re defunct, don’t forget that James’ solo work is not just alive and kicking, it’s thriving! So if you love the guitar work on this album make sure you check him out on bandcamp and follow him on Facebook!