“You Can’t Win” is the newest EP from New Jersey thrash group Paralysis. Before even thinking about the music on this release, the most immediate standout is the guest lineup. Boasting veteran names like Gerre (Tankard), Josh Christian (Toxik), and Bobby Gustafson (ex-Overkill), this EP is a star-studded release. All three guests show up in a big way on this EP. Gerre is probably the most noticeable of the three since he contributes vocally, but Josh’s solo is pretty wild, and exactly what you’d expect to hear on a Toxik record.
A lineup this great typically means one of two things: either the band is using big names to try and give them more credibility, or that their music rules so much that these guys are excellent additions to the record. Fortunately, “You Can’t Win” falls into the latter case. This EP has plenty of great music to offer thrash fans across all five tracks. The title track is a definite standout, simply because of how catchy it is. Utilizing stellar gang vocals to shout the chorus, this song is especially memorable. The closer, “All Your Lies”, takes this a step further, creating a crossover sound that would not be out of place on a Leeway record (to name one example).
Even though there are a lot of gang vocals, the singing of the band’s frontman is definitely more death metal inspired than thrash. A very throaty growl is prominent throughout the record, though there’s no difficulty in understanding the lyrics (which are incredibly angry!). Nevertheless, the riffs are distinctly thrashy in their approach. In general, they tend to be stronger when they’re faster and more upbeat (though this has always been the case in thrash). In fact, if there’s one area of improvement for Paralysis, it would be in the guitar tone. I hate to recommend something being louder, but the guitars feel very muted, and lack the punch that heavier tones have. “You Can’t Win” would surely benefit from being a bit more in your face.
This is a minor complaint though, as the music that is presented here is killer. This is a savage release that offers more aggression than a lot of thrash albums (largely due to the vocals). The songs are surprisingly memorable, and offer more variety than one might expect. The awesome guest appearances only add to the quality of this release, and make it one of the more unique entries in thrash for 2016.
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"You Can't Win"
"All Your Lies"
4.25/5 or 85%.
Written by Scott