Album Premiere: Parius – The Signal Heard Throughout Space
When we last left our heroes, Parius had blasted off into the far reaches of space in pursuit of a mysterious signal, risking life, limb, and their legacy as musicians as they blazed a new and perilous prog-metal path! Can they brave the dangers of this new direction and define a bold new sound? Find out today!
Today, we carry on the proud Toilet tradition of yelling at you about Parius. Preeminent ToH News Scholar Joaquin Stick and I have been making a bunch of noise about their upcoming album for the past couple months, and we’re capping off the shouting by bringing you a full stream of The Signal Heard Throughout Space. If you want to skip the noise and get straight to the jams, then you can dive on in right here; otherwise read on for a full review.
If you’re an established fan of the band, there are two things to know going in. The first is that this album is not death metal, or minimally so anyway. The band has leaned hard into the prog side of their sound and in doing so have produced a full-on bona fide rock opera. Screams and growls are still present but are used sparingly and only when it serves the narrative, and the instrumentation, tone, and overall vibe are less aggressive than previous outings. As such, the showmanship and bombast have been cranked up appropriately, with the addition of keyboardist Sean Gallagher bringing a lot of new textural elements and layers into their sound.
The second point is that it not being death metal hardly matters: this is a Parius record through and through. For every bit of Dream Theater or BTBAM or The Dear Hunter I’ve heard throughout my listens, they are just snippets of color woven into that signature Parius tapestry. Many of the writing idiosyncrasies of The Eldritch Realm are still here, fleshed out and built upon in captivating ways. Those oh-so-smooth guitar lines are out in full force and are backed with some excellent pocket playing on the kit, tied together by the aforementioned keys and the ever-brilliant bass work of Kenny Rentz. It’s flashy and technical without ever being overwhelming; this is a rock opera, after all.
And it succeeds on that front as well. Parius did their homework on this one, having studied every rock opera they could get their hands on- “from Jesus Christ Superstar to Ziltoid the Omniscient” per their own words- and spent the past few years demoing and trying out material until it was well and truly ready. Louis Thierry’s vocals are strong and highly varied, covering a breadth of styles from glitzy showtunes to a gravelly rock-oriented timbre to the occasional scream, and he hits it all with gusto. The narrative is woven seamlessly in the music, following the travails of an astronaut seeking the origin of the eponymous signal from deep space and the trials he overcomes as he sees his journey to its conclusion. It’s a fun story that wouldn’t be wholly out of place in a Flash Gordon or Lost in Space serial, complete with a narrator piping in at key junctures not unlike the Serling-inspired voiceovers on The Eldritch Realm. The pacing is immaculate, each song hitting you with hook after hook that build and play off of powerful leitmotifs, all building up to what I can safely call one of the most satisfying endings to a concept album I think I’ve ever heard.
Friends, I simply do not have enough good things to say about this album. I’ve been sitting on this for damn near three months now dying to talk about it, and now you can hear it in its entirety. Find yourself some time to jam this end to end if you can; trust me when I say the journey is worth it.