Music Review: Paradigm Shift – Coalescence

By Prayag Arora-Desai

With the advent of every new album, there are certain preconceptions and expectations surrounding it that tend to blind my objectivity when judging the music. Don’t pretend it doesn’t happen to you, too. But in my case, there’s nothing of the sort with Paradigm Shift. I never heard nor heard of these guys until Mehta linked me to their album stream. I guess this is the first record I’m reviewing on an entirely clean slate of opinion. Maybe I’m growing up. Hi mom.

After listening to Coalescence, it’s easy to see where Paradigm Shift are coming from, and it’s easy to see where they want to go. They’re the kind of guys that push themselves to not simply make music they like, but also straddle the urge to create something different and experimental; to truly be pioneers of something new, and they attempt to do so in the stale realm of ‘prog rock’. Stale, because ‘prog’ and ‘rock’ are only generic stumps. Anymore, they don’t say much and neither does Paradigm Shift’s music. Like so many Indian metal/ rock acts, Paradigm Shift’s aspirations go way beyond their skills, resulting in a record that reflects the redundancy of the genre they’ve slapped it with.

In a nutshell, Paradigm Shift have a vision, and I get it. I even admire it, because pushing Indian classical music and Hindi vocals to metal/ rock audiences in our country (which mainly consist of complete fucking noobs) is a brave thing to do. What I don’t get is the execution of aforesaid vision. In spite of Indian classical influences, plausibly melodic violin tunes, and little niblets of post-rock in between the meaty guitars, Coalescence is still a half baked dish that turned cold even before it got to my table.

At this point in a review I begin to think of redeeming factors, but I haven’t ripped Paradigm Shift enough yet and there isn’t much that they need to be redeemed from except a pretty obvious lack of originality. Vishal J. Singh and Vinay Venkatesh both feature on a track each, but their talents don’t exactly buffer against the general mediocrity of Coalescence. Vishal J. Singh – also the producer of the record – is one heck of a musician, and I’m a little disappointed to say that he missed the mark with this one.

This album’s been a buzzkill. And I’m not impressed.

Rating: Fuck it. I don’t believe in ratings anymore.


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April 2012
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