A horrible hack

Paranoid Visions

Rock and Roll Revolution

Year Released: 2012
Format: 7"
Label: Louder Than War
Reviewed by Toby on Jan 5, 2013
I became aware of Paranoid Visions after an old band of mine toured Ireland over three Summers between 2005-2007. Their name came up again and again on the lips of punks old and young as one of the bandís I really had to check out. I dipped into the band's back catalogue soon after (stretching back to 1982) and really dug a lot of what I heard which was a lovely organised chaos of anarcho punk, hardcore and garage rock with a touch of 80's Goth via the ethereal female vocals.

So, cut to now and I was really looking forward to this new 7"/digital download which features contributions from members of Crass and Goldblade (being a fan of all bands involved) but unfortunately, for me it didn't totally come up to the standard I was hoping for.

The title track starts with a pretty sweet chainsaw riff and machine gun drumming that feels like it might be going in Dead Kennedyís or The Fix direction but due to the Mockney vocals of Steve Ignorant and the constant vocal breaks it gets a bit Phil Daniels in Park Life. Its a good tune in a Wat Tyler vein but its lacking in passion and a vocalist such as Dick Lucas (Subhumans/Citizen Fish) could have kept the direction of the song but added a much needed urgency and melody to it; it seems like the idea of having a member of Crass on a song was better than the reality.

The lead b-side is Split Personality which features Goldblade's John Robb. Musically this is much more what I expected, fast, driving punk not a million miles from Dag Nasty or even Political Asylum at times. For me though, I felt that there is way too much going on vocal wise and this really let's the song down; I imagine this multi-layered vocal approach could work very well live with a chaotic sweaty gig going on through a scuzzy PA but on record it just sounds messy. This song doesn't need three vocals and certainly not three that don't complement each other. This could have worked well for example if just the female vocals were there to take the song in a Joyce McKinney Experience/Sofahead direction or if just one male vocal was there it would give the song a DOA vibe but together the vocals just grate and drown each other out. I'm a big fan of Goldblade and was hoping for some of John Robb's Speedo-esque Rocket From The Crypt preaching way but having him just yelling over the top feels like a waste.

The acoustic version of Poles Apart is the best song here (really didn't expect to be saying that). It really evokes the 80's anarcho punk sound with touch of Fields of The Nephilim whilst still addressing modern political issues. It can sound a touch dated at times with some of the production effects but fans of this trebly, reverb heavy sound will be very pleased.

I'd say that fans of the band should still pick this up as it's far from terrible but people looking to find out more about Paranoid Visions would be advised to start somewhere else and dig back to their '80's catalogue as they might find their expectations, like mine falling a bit flat here.

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