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Paradigm-The Madhouse

paradigmBand Name: Paradigm

Album: The Madhouse

Best Element: Dynamics, tempo/melody shifts

Genre: Progessive/Indie rock


Label: Unsigned

Band Email:

Chicago’s Paradigm has been evolving since their conception in early months of 2001. From multiple line-up changes to the production of several demos, an

EP, and a full length album, Paradigm now adds one more full length to their resume of blood, sweat, tears, and musical productivity. The Madhouse, named aptly for the variety of sounds within, demonstrates not only the band’s growth since their previous release, but also the strength they’ve carried with them to be able to even release it.

The Madhouse kicks off with “Dead Man’s Horoscope,” a song that screams of discontent with the habitual, machine-like nature of everything that bogs people down in life. Jack Essenburg’s rolling drums set the tempo before Nate Leslie and Raul Cotaquispe tear into the song with a raging rhythm that entails crunchy palm-muting and the undeniable rock signature of pinch harmonics. Leslie comes in with mature vocals then, alternating between his natural voice and a high falsetto that will haunt many of the songs on the album.

“Peripeteia” starts with a smooth intro before sailing into a rocking toe-tapping beat. Leslie’s vocals come in with attitude and a rocking ending carries the album through into “Lost and Found,” easily one of the best songs on the album. A peaceful verse that allows for Allan Marcial’s thundering bass line to stand out adds to the fact that Leslie’s vocals actually carry with them some added feeling beyond the words he sings.

That same feeling is picked up by Cotaquispe’s guitar work in

“Captivate” and the CD’s lone instrumental track “…” The unnamed instrumental song picks up where “Captivate” ends and features fast tempos, spiraling solos, chaotic arrangements, and an insane trip straight into the album’s title track “The Madhouse.”

Haunting and mellow, Paradigm’s “The Madhouse” is given depth by the appearance of a cello, as well as the epic, emotional soloing of Contaquispe.

Leslie’s most powerful vocals are found in this song, and his songwriting ability is given credibility by lines from Shakespeare and references to a poem by Sir Edwin Alden Robinson.

The album ends with the seemingly peaceful “Riptide” that starts off slow but ends with intensity. Leslie sums the song up as having a ‘Bring it on!’ attitude and wrote the song to bring an end to the messages of madness throughout the album.

Despite having many positive things going on through the album, Paradigm’s latest effort comes off sounding much of the same. From intense rhythms to mellow verses and straight chord filled choruses, each song flows much the same and contains many of the same formulas. Leslie’s vocals, though mature and powerful at times, seem to be, like most of Paradigm’s songs, lacking a certain “x-factor.” The songs have everything going for them except for power. Call it a mixing problem or what you will, because the boys of Paradigm aren’t lacking in talent.

The Madhouse is a good album for the underground rock fan. Poetic lyrics and musical creativity allow for a great listen, but incomplete satisfaction.

Irregardless, Paradigm recently found themselves a new front man and, hopefully with new inspiration and creativity at hand, the “x-factor” missing from The

Madhouse will soon follow.

Erik Williams