Paralysis – Mob Justice Review

Crossover thrash certainly seems to be making an honest effort to have its day in the sun lately. While it has existed since the early 80s and has had its loyal adherents ever since, the genre is suddenly teeming with new life. Bands like Power Trip, High Command, Enforced, and Red Death are capitalizing on the resurgence of interest in the style, and the results have been quite glorious. Crossover takes the groove of thrash and the violent bounce of hardcore punk, and when successful, creates a synergistic whole that can appeal even to folks that don’t usually enjoy its two constituent parts. Crossover done well hits the sweet spot between violence and fun, but it can be a tough balance to strike. New Jersey’s Paralysis are back after releasing their debut in 2017, so let’s see if follow up Mob Justice can deliver the genital kick we’re looking for.

Paralysis plays a pretty streamlined and straightforward style of crossover thrash with some definite similarities to Power Trip. Single “Oblivious” is a fun wrecking ball of a track, sporting some serious riffage from Jon Plemenik and Ron Iglesias to go along with an impassioned vocal performance from the former. The song certainly hits that sweet spot mentioned in the intro — it’s unmistakably violent, but in an infectiously fun sort of way. Multiple tempo changes and a good solo complete the package, and I’ll be honest, after hearing “Oblivious” for the first time, I thought I was onto another modern day crossover classic.

Unfortunately, this ended up being one of those “fooled by the single” trap albums. Don’t get me wrong — there are some good songs on here. First proper track “Master Manipulator” is another winner bolstered by a hardcore swagger, a squealing solo, and quality vocals from Plemenik, and “Onward to Slaughter” features some excellent drumming from Samith Force and an incredible number of rhythm changes, ending with some delightful thrash as it speeds to a close. I’ve now described just about everything I remember from Mob Justice. All of these moments occur in the first half of the record, leaving the rest to flow by competently but unremarkably, making a concise 29 minute runtime seem substantially longer. It’s honestly hard to describe what’s missing here. The musical performances are very good, but the songs themselves are missing that intangible oomph that a band like High Command delivers in spades. Plemenik’s performance is partly to blame — when he’s spewing piss, blood, and vinegar, his passion imbues the music with life and energy, but when he falls back into a more restrained hardcore shout, it takes the air out of the tires.

The production follows the standard modern crossover approach, i.e. it’s loud as fuck but sounds rad. The guitars are scrumptious, the drumming has enormous impact, and there’s even some bass to be heard throughout. To be honest, the sound on the album somewhat carries the record through its second half, allowing the songs to feel a bit more compelling than they actually are. I kept waiting for things to click on this one. On each spin, I expected that this would be the time that my mind would suddenly grasp the genius hidden within the music. But it never did. Check out “Oblivious,” “Master Manipulator,” and “Onward to Slaughter,” and if you like what you hear, try your luck with the rest and see if you’re more successful than I was.

While Paralysis seems to have all of the components required to write a really good crossover album, there’s just something missing during much of Mob Justice. There are a few standout moments, and while the album is more than competently executed, I generally found myself wishing I was spinning a record from any of the other bands mentioned in the intro instead of this one. Maybe next time the band delivers a kick to the groin, I’ll actually be able to feel it.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self Released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: May 29th, 2020

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