Paradise Lost
Obsidian

For a few albums now, England’s co-god fathers of Doom metal (along with My Dying Bride and back then, Anathema) have, like My Dying Bride, successfully mixed their old doom/death sound and their more commerical, mid era Depeche Mode plod, peaking with 2015s The Plague Within, where vocalist Nick Holmes even brought back death metal growls, much to the joy of fans. However, for me, 2017s Medusa was a slight,  rushed step back, that had few early highlights (“Fearless Sky”, “Gods of Ancient”)  and frankly I’ve maybe listed to to  a handful of times, it’s that forgettable.

So it was  with a little trepidation that I decided to give Obsidian a go. I’ll be honest, when it comes to Paradise Lost, I have never been a fan of their much lauded mopey rock era (Draconian Times, One Second, Symbol of Life. Host, Paradise Lost, etc), but hold the debut and Gothic in super high regard. So their newer stuff, while certainly a shift back to better ‘growlier’ times, still has strains of that era running through it and thusly has me a bit torn.

First thing I noticed, the production, once again from Jaime Gomez Arellano, is stunning, removing some of the weird, forced stoner fuzz from Medusa and delivering a clear, bottom heavy throb, especially Stephen Edmondson’s bass. Second, Paradise Lost‘s song writing has never been better in the band’s new found mix of old and new, often rivaling “Beneath Broken Earth” from The Plague Within.

Opener “Darker Thoughts” is a killer opening track, one of the best they have penned in years, and features a killer string section (which sadly rarely gets used again) backing the direct, agonizing, but catchy stomp. Second track “Fall From Grace”, is a bleak, classic mid era sounding Paradise Lost number, but adds some heft and growls. “Ghosts” is a return to the band’s later 90s offerings of Depeche Mode-y ness, but adds a satisfying level of chunk and growls, but still has me a bit on edge, as does “The Devil Embraced” which starts a bit weak, but then throws in some excellent, crushing doom to the proceedings.

“Forsaken”, while a definite pure throwback to the band’s more growl-less, commercial tones, is bolstered by the production and a catchy riff straight from their mid 90s offerings. “Serenity” has a killer, confident, despondent groove similar to the album’s opener and has Holmes growling for the whole song, which will please many fans. The somber, more delicate duo of “Ending Days” (where the strings section briefly comes back) and snoozer “Hope Dies Young” deliver a late album lull into more ballad-y realms, before “Ravenghast” ends the album with dramatic, crawling, rending closure.

The box set and digipack version of the album comes with 2 bonus tracks in “Hear the Night” , which is actually a really good doomy, throwback sounding Paradise Lost track for a throwaway bonus track, and “Defiler” which is a pretty weak, afterthought feeling type bonus track.

Much like their compatriots in gloom, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost is in the middle of a killer third act combining old and new sounds. But where as My Dying Bride‘s The Ghost of Orion, fell a bit flat, Obsidian shows Paradise Lost is arguably at the top of their game again.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 4th, 2020

Comments

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Forgotten Tomb - Nihilistic Estrangement
  • Nôidva - Windseller EP
  • Master Boot Record - Floppy Disk Overdrive
  • Kryptamok - Verisaarna
  • Dark Forest - Oak, Ash & Thorn
  • Naglfar - Cerekloth
  • Dawnwalker - Crestfallen EP
  • Mnemocide - Feeding the Vultures
  • Necrowretch - The Ones From Hell
  • Skam - Sounds of Disease
  • Asenblut - Die Wilde Jagd
  • Katatonia - City Burials
  • Engutturalment Cephaloslamectomy - Glam Not Slam
  • Tombstoner - Descent To Madness EP
  • I Am Destruction - Nascency