Ol' Mike has had a bit of a time of it over the years. A young(ish) veteran drummer of Metal's bar wars, he's fought cancer, probably the law and is still fighting his family. His day job is as Arctic Flame's drummer but he has taken some time out to get a few things off his chest and vent his tanks by releasing his first solo album. 'Death In The Family'.
Lizzy's Brian Downey is listed as one of the drummers that have influenced Mike's playing and for once you can tell. The drums here are kept right where they should be in the mix, complementary rather than intrusive. Paradine, like the truly great musicians, knows when to just shut the fuck up, hang back and sit in the groove. His style seems quite economical and uncluttered which is always a bonus with this kind of straight down the line rock n' roll.
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Mike has done a bit of cherry picking and produced an album that is a raw and chunky hotch potch of Metal styles. 'Rise Up From The Grave' is a headlong Teutonic inspired Metal charge and the cracking opener 'Venom And Piss' is pretty much summed up by its title.
Monster's Ball is punky with a touch of Alice Cooper's ringmaster's pizzazz while 'Taste My Fist' is a mix of NWOBHM and traditional US Metal and 'Suzie With An Uzi' has the snotty groove of The Joe Perry Project and early Guns n' Roses.
It's not all sweetness and light though. He throws in a lacklustre cover of Kiss' 'Parasite' which in view of the general quality is a bit unnecessary and closing ballad 'Dust' sits uneasily with the general defiant stand of the album, being a little too maudlin. Yet taken as a whole, 'Death In The Family' is a satisfyingly robust listen.
Paradine's drawing from various influences renders the album a touch disjointed and the production could have given it a bit more grunt and sparkle. Yet regardless of these sins of little consequence, the overall feel is that of a well serviced diesel engine that just lacks a few extra tweaks and final tune up.
It's the perfect album to have blasting away while you are setting up your truck's carburettor or trying to figure out why the bolt on your favourite hunting rifle keeps jamming.
It is not ground breaking stuff and chances are it will not be found on any year end best-of lists but 'Death In The Family' is an accomplished solid little album that has probably done Mike the world of good and might just do the same for you too.