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paleos confront fear through heaviest metal

January 23, 2020
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Our favorite thing about Paleos, the Stone Mountain, GA metal five-piece whom AFROPUNK first met when the group came in as runners-up at last year’s Battle of the Bands in Atlanta (and then played the main stage at the Carnival of Consciousness), is how it mixes the heavy with the melody. Even when lyrically Paleos sticks to metal’s tried and true themes of darkness, fear and despair, with guitar solos blazing and double bass drums blasting, the group never forgets the adding a touch of melodic light — or a sense of humor, like describing their doom-laden roars as “bops” in an interview with us.  And their new single “Thanatophobia” follows that pattern.

“Thanatophobia” is defined as fear or anxiety of death. Though that topic is a common trope for black metal and death metal songs, it is also a daily consideration for Black men in the U.S., when you consider mortality statistics and their causes. Yet the social consciousness that vocalist/lyricist Jamal “Scar” Jeffrey works into the song is not overt, even if a discernible cloud hangs over the proceedings (“These eyes have witnessed the end/ With peace wrapped up in a body bag”). And that air envelops not only the darkness of his guttural vocals, but the beauty of Silas Stephens and Steven Armstrong’s guitars — and whoever plays the gorgeous little keyboard line that appears throughout the song. These are proof that Paleos very heavy trip is not an exclusively dark ride.