The Paramedic – Smoke & Mirrors (2012)

Every once in a while, I’ll come across a post-hardcore band that’s doing something a little bit extra in comparison to most of the other post-hardcore bands around. When I began listening to The Paramedic’s Smoke & Mirrors, I was hoping that I had come across one of these above average post-hardcore albums. After a very soothing piano intro, what I actually found was the complete opposite from this five-piece band that hails from Dayton, Ohio. They have been around for a few years and released a few solid EPs, but Smoke & Mirrors is the band’s first full-length album and it seems a tad bit rushed. Earlier on in 2012, Bullet Tooth Records signed The Paramedic. They had built up a fairly sizable fan-base while they were unsigned and the music that they had put out was somewhat fresh in a genre that is over-saturated with bands that sound exactly alike. Sadly, the band has taken a step back on their new release. For the most part, the instrumentals are generic and the lyrics poor. This can be heard fairly early on when you hear “We came to party/We don’t give a fuck” on the album opener, “Xenophobia”. Another example of cheesy lyrics can be heard just a few seconds into the next track, “We Left Our Souls In New Jersey”, when the vocalist calls out “Bitch! I am the legend, the truth untold”.

There are a few things that stand out in a positive way, though. The harsh vocals are decent, but the cleans are very good. Almost every chorus on Smoke & Mirrors is very catchy. In addition to being catchy, most of the choruses feature a decent use of synth and instrumentals that sound much better than they do during the verses. A few tracks that stood out to me were “We Left Our Souls In New Jersey” (despite its lyrical flaws), “Sol, The Conspirator”, and “All For You”. The aforementioned tracks are definitely the strongest on Smoke & Mirrors and they will probably be the only tracks that I come back to listen to.

Smoke & Mirrors has its ups and downs, but the negatives outweigh the positives by a slight margin. If you’re a fan of mainstream post-hardcore bands that like to break up their chugging with a catchy clean vocal chorus or two (Asking Alexandria, Crown The Empire, etc.), you will probably dig The Paramedic’s new album, and I recommend that you check it out when it hits the shelves on October 23rd.

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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews