If you’re feeling neck-deep in existential angst right now, Swedish horde 偏執症者 (Paranoid) know just how you feel. The group fully admit to feeling like they were drowning in darkness and wondering whether to put an end to the band as they began hammering their latest relentless full-length, Out Raising Hell, into shape. But Paranoid dug in and soldiered on, keeping things on the down-low as they recorded their surprise new album. That’s proven to be a successful strategy too, with Out Raising Hell selling like fuckin’ hot cakes from the get-go.
(Actually, before we move on, let’s pause for a second and take a little time to gaze adoringly at Out Raising Hell‘s evocative cover art—courtesy of Anton Atanasov. I mean, come on, that’s perfect.)
Out Raising Hell is kind of perfect, too. Paranoid’s aimed for a “simple, primitive, and spontaneous” release, and Out Raising Hell is all of those things and more. Sure, the band might have faced tiresome tribulations of late, but Out Raising Hell doesn’t suffer from a lack of energy or enthusiasm. The album is stacked with cathartic physicality, sounding like it served as a crucial vent for Paranoid’s frustrations. Out Raising Hell sees Paranoid doing what they do best: mixing råpunk, d-beat, and Japanese noisecore with chainsawing black metal. Punk rock blazes in the heart of the band’s sound and vision, but savage old school metal (inspired by the likes of Hellhammer and Venom) has always made its presence strongly felt as Paranoid have injected Disclose-like mayhem into storming Nordic hardcore.
Out Raising Hell follows on from a flurry of rowdy releases from Paranoid in 2019. (Which included the band’s ear-wrecking Kind of Noise EP, a 7″ split with fellow noise-mongers Sex Dwarf, and Paranoid’s aptly howling Northern Winds of Brutal Hell Mangel: Volume 1 & 2 compilations.) Paranoid’s last full-length release, 2018’s Heavy Mental Fuck-Up!, was their most *metal* release yet, and while Out Raising Hell features abundant battering / metallic riffage, the album’s unrehearsed rawness sees it maintain a punk af temper throughout.
Tracks like “機械仕掛けの殺戮者” (“Kikaijikake no Satsurikusya”), “まだ見ぬユートピア” (“Mada Minu Yuutopia”), and “光の館” (“Hikari no Yakata”) come crashing out of the gate as guitarist / vocalist Henrik Låsgård, bassist / vocalist Joakim Staaf-Sylsjö, and drummer Emil Bergslid construct formidable d-beaten shield walls out of eviscerating berserker metalpunk. Elsewhere, songs like “墓場の目” (“Hakaba no Me”) and “狂気の端” (“Kyoki no Hashi”) take their time to coil evermore tightly before striking out with deadly force and a fittingly venomous bite. Serrated-edged numbers like “晦冥勢力” (“Kaimei Seiryoku”) and “闇夜の火炎” (“Yamiyo no Kaen”) show Paranoid haven’t lost their gift for sculpting rough-hewn tunes spiked with gripping hooks. And similarly crudely cut juggernaut punk resounds as Paranoid attack all their cacophonous tracks.
Out Raising Hell isn’t a harsh blizzard of static like Paranoid’s Kind of Noise EP (which, FYI, I also loved), but plenty of abrasive elements continue to run rampant. Paranoid’s approach has always felt like it was born from playing filthy shows in even filthier venues, and Out Raising Hell‘s songs evoke that gritty flick knife and broken bottle feel. Produced and engineered in-house, the record was mixed by Joel Grind and mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door. As such, the album’s songs sound big, but also feel downright feral, and all the raucous instrumentation and vocals make for a cutthroat battery that’s jagged yet always razor sharp.
Paranoid recorded 15 songs for their new album and sought feedback from a crew of trusted supporters before choosing the 10 eviscerating tracks you’ll find on Out Raising Hell. You can hear the other tracks up for consideration with Paranoid issuing an equally frenzied 5-track 12″, Out Raising Hell – Outtakes, to accompany Out Raising Hell‘s release.
There’s zero evidence of Paranoid feeling weighed down by life on Out Raising Hell. The album is set to smash your anxieties to smithereens with Paranoid sounding ready for battle as they tear through the stampeding tracks. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that Paranoid have had to deal with significant challenges in recent times, but they’ve definitely put whatever stress has arisen to excellent use, channeling their anger on a set of furiously exorcising songs.
Who knows what the future holds for Paranoid (or any of us, at this point in time), but if Out Raising Hell turns out to be the band’s last stand, then Paranoid are waving goodbye at full strength, and with a storehouse stacked with decimating tunes. If you’re feeling like the end of days is fast approaching, then Out Raising Hell is the album for you. It’s fierce, fun, and a full-bore apocalyptic riot. Oozing with raw, instinctual punk, Out Raising Hell is a certified, Mad Max, off-the-leash ripper. Grab your battleaxe, don your bullet belt, and slap on your studded-vest. Hell’s a-comin’, and Paranoid are leading the charge.