Review Summary: The sound of restlessness
Last time we checked in with Paraxism, things were just peachy. They finally got signed and dropped an EP, their trans-genre fusion was stronger than ever, and the next natural step seemed to be a full-length album. Unfortunately, that did not materialise for whatever reason, and a year later the band was back to tracking demos. Promo '97 is a restless collection of songs, shedding the remnants of the death metal stylings for some inspiration from the more metallic side of grunge ("Figures") and nu metal syncopation ("Standing"). The guys feel hungry for change but unsure where to head, leading to an unfocused and passionless batch of material not up to their prior high standards. Coincidentally, it's the exploratory inspiration meanderings that do the demo the biggest disservice, as the two bookend tracks showcasing the band's prior sound with a sprinkle of clean guitars are spot on and could have easily opened/closed the album that wasn't to be. I'm referring to "Shame" here, by the way - the outro may be a glorious display of absolutely ballistic soloing, but it feels tacked on as an afterthought that ruins the magnificent immersion of its predecessor's lead-out. Yet another level on which the release was a bit scatterbrained, I guess.