I am assuming before beginning my review you have arrived at this page having heard of or at least have a passing interest in the progressive circles and/or Sieges Even. A progressive band sitting along rather comfortably along the borders of metal and hard rock, this you may or may not be aware is Sieges even's last album and a second (and probably final) split, i must say i'm very saddened at the idea that this is probably the last review of a new release by Sieges Even i'd be writing. As i'm quite fond of this band and have been since i was blown away by "The art of navigating by the stars" back in 2005.
Having a good 2 years to digest this slightly more challenging peace than it's past releases, i feel i have been able to trancend into the majestic soundscapes that Paramount has to offer, that said it has taken quite a while to become obvious as my first listen to "Paramount" back on it's release in 2007 i admittedly felt a little underwhelmed by the compositions, though this is a notion i no longer hold true however.
The tracklisting is rather a strong collection, bookened by the heavy and rather Dream theater esque and keyboard driven "When alpha and omega collide" and the monolith title track, of which i personally appeal more favourably towards due to the heavy riffing, something which will come as no surprise if i was to tell you i was "more into" prog metal than rock.
That is not to say however the core of the album is full of slushy meandering rock ballads, i particularly find "Iconic, Where our shadows sleep and Duende" the best songs of the central eight, combining a great and balanced mix of keyboard driven tuneful rock songs, without loosing touch with the progressive roots, with perhaps the exception of "Eyes wide open" a rather lacking and bland number, undoubtably added for the single marketing of "Paramount", a noticable oddity and doesn't really do the album any justice.
The vocals are absolutely outstanding as usual and one of the album's highlights and compliment these beautiful jam packed arrangements perfectly. Similarly the mix and production is first class and greatly succeeds perfectly in aiding the albums dark and ominous front cover giving a great swing between dark and happier moods. with perhaps the only reason preventing this from getting a five star rating is the rather unambitious compositions such as "Bridge to the divine" and "Eyes wide open" giving a slightly commercial feel which (lets be fair is not really welcome on any progressive piece,) though are not blatently executed in such a way as to become obvious.
Overall this is a great addition to any prog metal/rock collection and it's short comings neither mar the largely great points or are obvious, and they shouldn't detract from the excellence on display here either. Though admittedly "Paramount" does not shine in the same way it's predecessor did. Being a rather hard to please prog metal and rock soul, this is i think a competant and largely original prog album to come out in the last decade, and whilst this is not "Divine wings of tragedy" or "Critical mass" by any means, it is a credit to the genre and i recommend "Paramount" to anyone vaguely interested in these music worlds.