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Paradise Lost - Paradise Lost

2005 GUN Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2006-03-15

It's hard to believe that the PL boys have been releasing records for over 17 years now, and 13 releases and two million records later, are still just as gloomy as they ever were. For the uninitiated, Paradise Lost started life as one of the original doom/death metal bands at a time and in a UK scene rife with death metal and grindcore bands. When bands like Napalm Death, Benediction, Cerebral Fix, Extreme Noise Terror and Carcass were on a quest to outdo each other, Paradise Lost stood out, big time. And of all those bands, they were one of the few to hit the big time. Although the purist out there prefer the PL's first two releases for their rougher, more deathly sounds, PL didn't hit their stride until 1992's 'Shades of God' and 'Icon' in 1993. The band took a shit load of flak for shifting their sound to a more black era Metallica like approach. And the lightning rod for the bulk of the criticism was vocalist Nick Holmes switch to a very Hetfield like croon. Me personally, I couldn't get enough of 'Icon' and the monstrously heavy and depressive 'Draconian Times'. That record got heavily played than, and is still in rotation at the Skeksis manor. Although I felt the band lost the plot on 1997 'One Second', there were still some enjoyable tunes none the less, but after that, forget it. With 2002 'Symbol of Life' and their latest, self titled release, the Lost boys have come home. Shades of 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times' color the record (black of course) with a much smaller smattering of electronica than past releases. Nick Holmes uses a more rock, slightly higher tone than those two seminal releases, but remains in the same vein, depressive and gloomy. Long standing guitarist Gregor Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy compliment each other like a Murray/Smith or Downing/Tipton of the doom scene, weaving melody and rhythm perfectly. The band does add some modern touches, like the chugging rhythms of 'Close your Eyes' and personal favorite 'All you leave behind'. The songs are slightly less immediate than past release, with catchy choruses that don't seem to stick right away but after a few listens are just imbedded. Production was handled by the notable Rhys Fulber (Fear Factory, Frontline Assembly) and he does a commendable job but the record lacks the godly heaviness and bottom end of 'Draconian Times'. Lyrically the band has never been better at being so damn sorrowful. Because of the bands past couple records, I was hesitant to pick this up, but am beyond a doubt glad I did. A fine return to form if any, and a must for fans of the bands earlier work. Here's one for those rainy days.