偏執症者 (Paranoid) S.C.U.M. EP

It can be tempting to write off bands that wear their influences too obviously; more often than not modeling yourself directly after another band’s style and sound can come off as disingenuous and cheap, like a knockoff of a better product, a “Wish” version if you will. On paper, PARANOID’s fusion of perfectly manicured Japanese and Swedish-style D-beat may seem like such an instance, but fortunately for them and more fortunately for us, PARANOID are masters of their craft and draw from their well of influences (VENOM, CELTIC FROST, DISCLOSE, and DISCHARGE) to create something refreshingly effective. S.C.U.M. is a whirlwind EP that goes hard right out of the gate, a vicious, evil take on crusty D-beat punk that is one of the best my ears have heard in a long time. “Shiminteki Fufukujyuu” (“Civil Disobedience”) starts things off with a six-second instrumental flurry before hitting the gas and heading straight to hell. In addition to all the hissing, fuzzed-out guitars, sizzling bass, raw vocals, and thunderous drumming you’d expect in this style, PARANOID adds some great flourishes throughout, like the rockin’ outro here that’s surprising in the best way possible. “Musabetsuna Kutsuu” (“Indiscriminate Pain”) has a couple of breaks that are nearly psychedelic with shrieking backing vocals, screeching guitars, and breakneck solo drum beats. “Jinsei No Kizu” (“Wounds of Life”) and “Sensou Nanimo Oshimazu” (“Sparing No War”) are two more scorchers, with some nasty bass lines in the former and tight, dueling guitar leads in the latter. “Uragiri” (“Betrayal”) is really the only outlier here, ditching the D-beat for a quick 30-second scorched earth grind of blastbeats and gang vocals that’s over before you realize it started. It’s a great set-up for closer “Taikeiteki Kunou” (“Systemic Anguish”), which returns to the rock’n’roll influence found on the first track. Galloping drums and righteous guitar solos wrap things up, and before you know it, you’re sitting in silence ready to take the trip all over again. Considering how long they’ve been active and playing this style of music, PARANOID deserves some serious credit for keeping things this fresh and exciting. It’s true what they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.