Thursday 15 February 2024

The Paladin - Cockroach Conquest (Album Review)

Release Date: 15th February 2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Cockroach Crusade - Tracklisting

1.Red Clouds over Salem 07:54

2.Nomad 08:32

3.Pilgrimage 07:00

4.Bog God 09:21

5.Sweet Milk of Our Tears 08:39

6.Dark Academia 07:15


Jean the Baron: Guitars, vocals, and synths

Count Boogie: Bass and vocals

Lord of the Groove: Drums and percussion


Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metallers The Paladin debut album Cockroach Crusade left me wondering what I just listened to when I first heard the record. As the record is quite offbeat and absolutely surreal but also refreshingly familiar at the same time. The Paladin call upon influences such as Mars Red Sky, King Buffalo, Elder, Down and even grunge pioneers Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. There’s a sublime Space Rock sound that soon crackles to sonic distortion and Progressive based melodies.

Opening track Red Clouds Over Salem has a Doomed Out and Sludge Rock dynamic that transforms into a Heavy Psychedelic Stoner groove with grizzled vocals to match. The sound is constantly aggressive for the most part before The Paladin changes into a Post-Stoner/Heavy Psych Rock sound comparable to Elder and Mars Red Sky. Though thunderous guitars elevate the song into a Psychedelic Doom offering with a Fuzz Rock atmosphere. 

Second track Nomad brings a subtle Grunge aesthetic sound with strands of slow moving Post-Rock energy engaging with the gloomy vocals that offer a Post-Punk energy. The Paladin slowly adds moments of Post-Doom themes which is quite soothing in places but the song becomes more aggressive as time passes by. Near the third moment The Paladin change into a NOLA-esque inspired band with the sludgy instrumental moments being quite direct with the Psychedelic attitudes before switching back to a restrained Post-Stoner sound. The lyrics are quite insightful but with a bleak creative message to them.

Third song Pilgrimage opens with a fantastic bass line which offers a classic style of Doom/Stoner Metal energy to appear with a PROTO-METAL attitude showcasing some of the catchiest grooves on the album. The Paladin are impressing me more and more with their great style of fusing different sounds into a cohesive and ANARCHIC style of storytelling. The song does have a demented vision but the instrumental sounds are always refreshing and heavy throughout. 

Fourth song Bog God changes into a desolate Desert Rock style with chillout acoustic guitars slowly becoming more forceful when the quiet rhythms merge into heavier DOOMED OUT dimensions of the WEEDIAN sound. This is one of the standout tracks with The Paladin playing wonderfully intense guitar solos and extended instrumental passages with that Cosmic Rock flow allowing the dual vocals from Jean The Baron and Count Boogie offer different vocal styles to each other.  This is perhaps the strangest and progressive based songs on the album with an Apocalyptic/End Of The World feeling having quite a JAZZY approach on the more mellow parts of the track which can also be the most sinister as well with the vocals and chants that appear within the song. 

The final tracks Sweet Milk Of Our Tears and Dark Academia allows The Paladin to create more twisted Ambient moments and modern day Doom/Stoner Metal riffage that allows the album to be quite conceptual in some ways. The music is quite chaotic and dense with heavy distorted jams to punish the soul with. However, the album is quite melodic which sees The Paladin remain within the Psychedelic Doom arena with a few more impressive Post-Stoner moments to leave you wanting to hear more.

Cockroach Crusade production values have a true DIY feeling but they’re handled superbly well throughout. The sound is clear and crisp but never over done. This allows The Paladin to deliver an engaging and downright fantastic debut album to entice the Doom/Stoner Metal community with. 

Overall, this is a sublime release to add to your record collection. No question.

Words by Steve Howe 

Thanks to The Paladin for the promo.


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