Australian metal outfit As Paradise Falls burst onto the scene in 2014, and in 2015 they began recording their first full length album, Digital Ritual. Unfortunately, while they were recording the album, guitarist Glen Barrie passed away in his sleep. Fast forward to two years later, As Paradise Falls have risen above this tragedy, releasing an album that delivers on oh so many levels.
Released worldwide on July 21, 2017, Digital Ritual brings with it a fairly interesting concept – that of technology not simply controlling, but actually ruining our lives; and that in and of itself raises some interesting questions about our modern society. Vocalist Shaun Coar has said of the album:
“The concept of the album as a whole is how we, as people in the modern western world, are living an almost symbiotic relationship with digital technology. For some, it’s the first thing we see when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we see when we go to sleep. Digital technology has immense benefits, especially with the massive progress it has made in the last decade alone. But the question is – are all the changes for the better? Through the songs on Digital Ritual, As Paradise Falls explore parts of us we may have left behind and some dark things we have created to fill the void in this technology-ridden world.”
The songs on Digital Ritual have important messages attached to them, all with the encompassing theme I described above. For example, “The Ultimate Consumer” is about humanity’s almost compulsive desire to consume everything we like until it is no longer sustainable. “Reborn” is a treatise on the fallacies of online activism (read: slacktivism), and “Hysteria” deals with the idea of modern day propaganda. Have you ever clicked the ‘I Accept’ button without ever reading your Terms of Service? “Automated Sacrifice” is for you.
They say a good playlist rises and falls, and if you can consider an album to be a playlist, Digital Ritual definitely has the rise and fall part down. The intro track, also called “Digital Ritual”, begins somewhat softly with clean guitars, and is soon overcome with a loud distorted riff you’d expect from a heavy metalcore band. This intro track sets the tone for the rest of the album, with the next track “Balance” throwing loud, Hatebreed-esque vocals in your face and incredibly heavy guitar riffs. The first single off of the album, “StarBlind”, slows it down just a little, showing off Coar’s clean vocal capability with a distorted, down tuned guitar and incredibly fat bass.
My favorite track off the album has to be “Glory to the Server”, where you can definitely hear some superb drumming, a hint of a Marilyn Manson influence in the vocals, and a chorus that is definitely reminiscent of old school Alice in Chains. You definitely hear influences injected from all corners of the rock and metal world in this album, and they connect seamlessly.
Digital Ritual is an absolute fantastic album. As Paradise Falls has definitely done a service to Glen Barrie, not to mention the Australian metal scene as a whole, and indeed metal fans everywhere. Clean intros, heavy distorted riffs, zesty bass lines, amazing drumming – Digital Ritual has it all. It’s a heavy record that knows when and where not to get too heavy, and is about something meaningful.
Go buy this album! Listen to it on Spotify. Better yet, if they’re coming to a venue near you, buy a ticket, and then buy the album at the show. You won’t be disappointed in doing so.
Rest in peace, Glen Barrie.
The Ultimate Consumer
Glory to the Server
Pride and Disgrace
Captive to the Creation
Shaun Coar – Vocals
Jimmy Upson – Guitar
Danny Kenneally – Guitar
Jon Messer – Bass
Christian Rady – Drums
Written by Mitch Ellerbrock for Bloodrock Media on September 26, 2017