Review: I Found Paradise Showcase the Importance of Mental Health Awareness with Debut EP, Paradise

Artist: I Found Paradise
Album: Paradise – EP
Label: Independent

1. Toxic
2. Parasite
3. Paradise (ft. Lily Bogue)
4. Broken
5. Misery

The concept of paradise can have a number of different meanings. For the religious or spiritual, it’s the idea of the wonders that the afterlife may hold. In a typical sense, it’s clear skies, crystal clear waters and palm trees. For others, though, it holds a deeper meaning. For those who struggle with mental health issues, paradise is simply an escape from the demons within. A place where you can quiet your thoughts and sit in silence and peace. Music has a way of being paradise to many people, myself included. For four individuals out of the Kansas City area, this word is symbolic of the latter. Having debuted less than a year ago (1/6/22), by way of their music video for “Parasite” exclusively through SpaceUntravelI Found Paradise seek to put a heavy focus on discussing mental health through their art. While not new to music, in any sense, vocalist Weston Bakunas, guitarists Sam Baldwin and David Martinez and Drummer Aaron Valdez have come together to create their Paradise. While the word conjures up images of the subjects previously discussed, there is a heavy aura to the music created in their debut EP of the same name. While the music itself is heavy in nature — a cross somewhere between post-hardcore, metalcore and thrash/heavy metal — the subject matter contained within creates a sense of extreme vulnerability.

Shining spotlight on “Parasite” as their debut single couldn’t have been a better choice. This song is a no-holds barred, high-bpm and no frills thrash-fest that is bound to leave the listener breathless from how hard it will knock you back. However, it’s the message that resonates and solidifies what this band is all about. This song is about escaping the negativity in life, about getting away from those who seek to destroy you, especially for the demons that you wrestle with on a consistent basis. All too often, those with mental health issues are painted as bad people. They’re painted as outcasts and pariahs of society. This song is about reminding you that you are “more than just your demons,” as the chorus indicates. While the track doesn’t kick off the EP, in the just-under four-minute runtime of the song, you get a major idea of what this band is capable of. Not only does Bakunas showcase the amount of power he possesses but there are moments when everyone gets to shine, as each musician is given room to breathe while remaining a cohesive unit. Not to mention that the video gives you an exact idea of what to expect from them on stage.

One of the truly shining moments, in terms of guitars, is that of “Broken.” The main riff and especially the solo, take influence from heavy metal and bleed through every note they touch. This track, like the rest of the EP, touches on a heavy subject. Do you know what it’s like to feel broken? To despise the person who you’ve become? This is about pushing past that and a reminder that you are stronger than your afflictions. It’s cliche to say “there’s always a silver lining” but that’s more or less the point this song is trying to get across. This song (and the song that follows it) will resonate greatly with those who suffer from self-hatred but this is a way of telling you that you’re worth more than you’ll ever know. Chase your dreams, ignore the hate and tell yourself the same. “Misery” is cut from the same cloth but dives deeper into the concept of overcoming self-hatred. When you find yourself dealing with depression, you fall into the pattern of always seeing the negative in things. As they say “misery loves its company” and so you begin to manifest negative traits within all aspects of life. This song is about breaking free, not letting your misery cripple you and, once again, reminding you to tell yourself that you’re worth more than what you give yourself credit for. After all, you will always be your toughest critic but that critique doesn’t have to be so tough that you can’t bounce back from it. Be confident, believe and you can go far.

I Found Paradise are a band that is more than just a play on words. These guys have all struggled with mental health and have been able to find solace and strength in one another. Their art is reflective of who they are and their message is one that needs to be spread each and every day. Paradise is an introspective look at what it’s like to suffer with mental illness and what it takes to overcome those afflictions. The band played their debut show on March 11th, 2022 to a sold out venue, in their home town while opening for Scarlet View and it was clear that their message was heard loud and clear by all attending. Keep an eye on this band, as they’re clearly going places. Paradise can be streamed using the links below, as well as purchased on all major digital retailers. While clocking in at just 20 minutes, this EP will send you reeling, so be sure to check it out!

Purchase/Stream Paradise – EP

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