Wednesday, 20 May 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Paradise Lost, "Obsidian"

By: Thomas Gonzales

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/05/2020
Label: Nuclear Blast

“Obsidian” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. "Darker Thoughts"
02. "Fall From Grace"
03. "Ghosts"
04. "The Devil Embraced"
05. "Forsaken"
06. "Serenity"
07. "Ending Days"
08. "Hope Dies Young"
09. "Ravenghast"

The Review:

Death/Doom is a genre that at times, can feel contrived; leaning too heavily towards either side of its genre spectrum, sacrificing nuance that gives it an identity. Amidst the mediocrity however, one band has constantly set the standard for craftsmanship, and that band, is Paradise Lost. Often emulated, but never duplicated, Paradise Lost has cemented themselves as one of the most iconic bands of the extreme metal subgenre. Blending depressive and melancholic themes, with crashing furry, every album is a roller coaster of emotion, evoking chills without compromising the epicness of even their most brutal peers.

Recognized as one of the mythical Peaceville Three, Paradise Lost formed in 1988 before signing with Peaceville Records, alongside juggernauts My Dying Bride and Anathema. Credited with inspiring bands from Amorphis, to HIM, and Cradle of Filth, their influence reaches far past the confines of a singular music subgenre, and instead has left its impact on anyone who has been fortunate enough to experience it. Gothic and disparaging in their sensibilities, Paradise Lost are as influential now as ever, and “Obsidian” expands their scope to a much wider audience.

Yes, it’s still heavy, and yes, it still features the primal growl of front man Nick Holmes, but where in the past there might’ve been moments of crunchy riffs, they have chosen to fill the space with sweeping guitar solos, more clean singing, and heavy, pulse racing hooks, accented with a ringing and mournful key track. As veterans of their craft, Paradise Lost are no longer discovering themselves, but are instead working to expertly execute their art with focused precision. It makes sense, as the band has had one of the most stable line-ups in amidst long standing bands, featuring vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, and bassist Steve Edmondson, the band has only ever changed drummers on a few occasions. 

Stand out tracks “Darker Thoughts” and “Ending Days” showcase the band’s Goth Metal tendencies. Opening with industrial style instrumentals or acoustics respectively, the macabre spirit of their content is put on display, painting a depressive vision with sound. There is such a diverse approach to composition throughout the album, one could easily spend an entire blog post waxing poetic over the sheer artistry, but that would be a disservice to the sonic experience. This is an album that will easily find a place amongst most year end list, and deservedly so.

Whether you are familiar with Paradise Lost or not (how could you not be?), “Obsidian” is a metal release worthy of the accolades it is sure to receive. It can be enjoyed by fans of various genres of metal, and still be appreciated for its technical execution, and heaviness. More importantly, this album is more Paradise Lost, and who wouldn’t want that!? Expect people to talk about “Obsidian” for months to come, as their influence spreads further, with a dark and beautiful opus.

“Obsidian” is available HERE

Band info: facebook