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Paul Epic
South of Heaven, North of Hell
Sacred Flow Productions

Before he was old enough to drink legally, Paul Epic set a record for power lifting (810 lbs) on his way to becoming the World Champion. When he retired a decade or so ago, he turned to skydiving, eventually winning a gold medal at the World Wingsuit Competition in Stupino, Russia. In 2004 he took up kickboxing, and won his first fight by TKO in the second round. Did I mention that he is also a motorcycle drag racer, trained stuntman and, oh, by the way, a rock star? The latter is clearly evident on Paul's indie rock debut, South of Heaven, North of Hell, a hard rock effort that feels like the culmination of Epic's epic lifestyle.

Epic's powerful voice sits somewhere on the spectrum between Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) and James Hetfield (Metallica), and with such an adrenaline-charged lead at the helm, it should come as no surprise that none of the album's dozen songs lasts longer than three-and-a-half minutes long. The shortest, "Faster", is a blast of high octane metal that recollects Metallica's "Fuel" or Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart," and the longest, "Proud," is a ballad that brings to mind Nickelback's "Photograph" or Silverchair's "Tomorrow." In between those two extremes are an assortment of similarly tight, powerful songs that call to mind the sorts of acts that have tended to polarize opinions. Take, for example, Track 6, "Your Song", which reminds me of nothing more than Winger at their height during the first Gulf War. Or consider album closer "Last Stop on a Long Hill," which could easily be a hidden track from Metallica's "St. Anger". Love it or hate it, there's no denying this music is Epic.

Favorite Track: Track 2, "Truth"

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Michael Fiegel is a freelance writer and graphic designer. His diverse background includes journalism, radio copywriting, technical writing, game design and music reviewing. He is best known as the creator of the Internet cult sensation, Ninja Burger. He can be reached at or at his website,

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