PAARIS is the solo project spearheaded by guitarist, composer and producer Enrique Marquez Paris from Caracas, Venezuela. A well seasoned musician, Paris has done the rounds with multiple bands and artists for over 18 years, gracing these lucky people with his enviable skill for the guitar. In fact, this six-stringed wonder is the driving force responsible for the creation of the PAARIS solo project, a project that Paris describes as “a reflection of all the guitar heroes that inspired me to pick up the instrument”. PAARIS’ recent EP release, titled ‘NORA’, is the first full length release that successfully communicates Paris’ guitar led vision; for an album of this nature, the guitar assumes the role of the vocalist and let me tell you – this virtuoso can really make it sing! PAARIS treats the listener to six guitar-led songs that weave in and out of prog, metal, punk, hard rock and even a bit of flamenco. It is no surprise that the ‘NORA’ EP features an all star cast of well known names in the latin music scene to accompany Paris’ ambitious guitar work. As well as Paris on the acoustic and electric guitars, the EP features Luis ‘Peep’ Mendez (bass), Anup Sastry (drums), Diego Alvarez (percussion) and Joey Izzo (keyboards and piano) – these musicians make up the cake that Paris’ guitar decorates!
Overall, the EP’s sound is metal-heavy with a couple of songs being just that little lighter as to allow other possible genres to be identified. ‘1RA’, whilst a short track, packs a punch with its fast pace and quick transitions into new ideas, opening with a rapid, ascending chugging figure. Likewise, ‘2020’ is alike in style with a similarly explosive opening and ever-changing rhythm guitar parts that keep up the momentum of the piece, leaving no time for rest or respite. I’d say that ‘2020’ is the closest to prog on the album due to its complexity and reminds me most of the sound on John Petrucci’s new solo album ‘Terminal Velocity’. Whereas a song such as ‘CARIC’, whilst heavy in sound, lends itself to a more punk influence due to its melodic and anthemic nature. It takes its time to unfurl, sticking to each idea for a longer period of time and developing on it rather than moving swiftly on. I love the pauses at the end of each phrase in which the silence is filled in by either the keys (near the start) or Paris’ guitar (near the end), a great way of separating out each phrase. Something else that is noteworthy, consistently throughout the EP, is the interplay between the rhythm guitar parts and the lead/solo parts. Most of the rhythmic complexity comes from the rhythm parts which alone are beefy and satisfying to hear; no more apparent is this than in ‘ARISTA’, when the rhythm part tears through the quiet opening! The addition of a guitar solo helps to then lift the music from its beefy depths. However, it is also nice to hear a few lead/solo parts in ‘APOLLO’ that shine through with little accompaniment from the rhythm guitars, as it gives the lead parts a certain clarity that is unhindered by the rhythm parts which sometimes demand the full attention from the listener. It is also worth mentioning the ending of ‘APOLLO’ which sees Paris’ guitar take part in an epic call and response solo section with the keys, allowing Joey Izzo a chance to leave his mark on the EP – short but sweet! The EP closes with ‘HERRERA’, a taste of Spain with its flamenco inspired sound, electric guitars are replaced for acoustic ones and the drum kit is replaced with percussion. The result is a very convincing take on flamenco; the piano and percussion accompaniment add a traditional flavour to the piece, aiding Paris’ playful lead acoustic lines. It may be flamenco, but Paris keeps it grounded so that it doesn’t feel out of place as it brings the EP to a close.
PAARIS has successfully created a solid EP with a consistent heavy sound yet with subtle hints of other genres creeping in. Having written all the parts himself, Paris deserves a lot of credit for the music he has created. Nothing can stop this guy – I mean really! You can go and check out another single he released this year titled ‘LUNA’; it has a saxophone in it if that tempts anybody! Give this project a listen and keep up to date with whatever PAARIS releases next, which is likely to be very soon – you can thank me later!
Written by Dominic Sanderson
You can find PAARIS on Instagram! ‘Nora’ is available for listening on all major streaming platforms!