PARAXISM, Paraxism (1992, demo)
With this skull, Paraxism have allowed us to confidently draw a new subset branch on the Skull Cover Motif tree. And this guy, he isn’t too happy about this fate. He looks downright traumatized. This is one of a handful of skulls now officially “Embedded in Rock Wall [popular skull cover motif no. 36].” Nile is one of the memorable ones (Skull75) and we’ve got a couple more coming up soon! So for those rabid Big Dumb Skulls fans who particularly love skulls embedded in rock walls, hang onto the edge of your seats.
Forever underrated and overlooked, Paraxism is probably one of the most interesting bands to come from Finland’s early ’90s death metal wave. And, as many of their countrymen would, the band evolved from cruel brutality to something more rocking by the end of their evolution (a la Xysma, Disgrace and Convulse), all of these bands wisely avoiding sounding too obviously “death ‘n’ roll.” Thank fuck. While Paraxism’s synth-heavy 1995 demo (Selected Works) remains the apex of their output, and their final recording, a demo from 1998, is nearly unlistenable in its angular, dissonant, and cold alt-rock delivery, this first demo finds the band treading more orthodox boards. It’s not totally far away from most other Finnish death metal bands of the time, but there’s something inherently catchy and even semi-melodic in tunes like “Benefical Interdependence” and “The Breath of Plague” that sets it apart. Ultimately this is more than a mere curiosity from a band I’ve always championed (to mostly deaf ears, except for a couple guys in Agalloch who I turned onto this band a long time ago). But it’s not mandatory either, unless you’re a Finnophile looking for another cool tape to set next to your Funebre, Pakeni and Nekro-Torso cassettes. All two of you.
— Friar Wagner