Paradise Lost
The Plague Within

2015 brings the return of England’s Paradise Lost for their 27th year in existence. It also brings fourth their 14th full length album. In this day and age, it is amazing to have a band with this kind of longevity and productivity. Add to that the fact that the lineup is original except for the drummer, Adrian Erlandsson (also currently in other Paradise Lost related act Vallenfyre and At the Gates), who has now been in the band for six years. There is little to no comparison in this scene. They helped start it, and now are the elder statesmen of Gothic Death Metal. You have a group of guys who have on average, released an album ever two years, and that doesn’t include five live albums, at least 15 singles, several demos and a couple of home videos. That is some seriously generous output.

Paradise Lost has gone through several sounds over the years, starting with pure Doom/Death Metal, to Depeche Mode style Goth metal, to Industrial Post Death Metal, and now it seems they have come full circle to release a career encompassing album that alludes to all levels of their musical endeavors. The album consists of ten tracks, unless you manage to get your hands on the box set version which includes three bonus tracks.

The album opens with “No Hope In Site” which right out the door takes you to the era of Say Just Words, probably their most commercially accessible album that was their first step into the Depeche Mode, commercial style pop-goth. But the difference with this track, is although musically it has those same elements, for the first time in a long time, Nick Holmes unleashes his patented death growls. It is pure and clean, and harkens right back to the earliest days of the band. The melding of these two styles are just an introductions to the varying listening styles of The Plague Within.

“Terminal” steps in an instantly transports you to Draconian  Times, the album that Metallica should have recorded directly after And Justice For All. The vocals on this track are a bit of a letdown, as they are very monotonic and a tad uninspiring. Especially knowing what Holmes has previously delivered. This track jumps right into “An Eternity Of Lies” which harkens to the more Gothic era of the band. You see some of the bands clean vocals, their more slow trudging musical styles, which then lets out into a big breakdown and guitar solos, which are not heard up to this point on the album.

“Sacrifice The Flame” the sixth track on the album is also heavily reminiscent of the Draconian Times album, and the tenth, heavily orchestrated track “Return To The Sun” will also appeal to fans looking for this style.  “Victim Of The Past”, the seventh track, and also one of the bonus tracks on the box set (a live orchestral version) is the most classic Death Metal song on the album, but also features keyboards and some unusual song structures, which brought to mind Celtic Frost’s Into The Pandemonium in the way that album differed from Frost’s previous style so greatly.

“Fear of Silence” is the unreleased bonus track and you can understand why it may not have made the cut for the standard version. The vocals almost remind you of the Smiths, and the melody lines in the song could just as easily come from a modern Goth metal band like Lacuna Coil or someone comparable. As an add-on, it is an interesting listen, but I don’t think will make anyone’s top ten list.

The Plague Within is a career explaining album that is the perfect place for a new listening to jump in, while having the total diversity to attract all Paradise Lost era listeners.  It is what you want, and to see this kind of passion this many years later is what makes this band so special.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Myk R
June 8th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    This is top shelf material. Fucking glorious.


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