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Paradise Lost - Obsidian Award winner

Paradise Lost
Obsidian
by Eric Poulin at 26 May 2020, 7:21 AM

PARADISE LOST is a Melodic Doom band, from Halifax, England, United Kingdom, who formed back in 1988. They have been labeled as the one of the creators of what we call gothic metal today, mainly because of an album released in the early 1990's that had that title. We fast-forward 32 years and here we have their 16th full-length album and latest endeavor entitled “Obsidian” which will be released on May 15th, 2020 through Nuclear Blast Records

Before I move on to the review itself, I want to say that this is a great privilege for me to write an album review for a band I have followed for well over 20 years now. I discovered them way back in 1998 with a compilation that my best friend lent me and the journey has never stopped. The band has ventured through many different genres over the years, going from death metal influenced doom, to melancholic hard rock, electronic/industrial rock and even alternative rock to a certain extent. But overall, the band’s pure essence has remained and that distinct sound they created 3 decades ago is always there and easily recognizable.

The album begins with “Darker Thoughts”, as the title would suggest is a very introspective song that has some beautiful acoustic guitars, violins and vocals that really speak from the heart.  When the song gets heavier, its use of growls and pounding guitars is absolute perfection, as it balances power and aggression like every doom metal song should. It is followed by “Fall from Grace” which also happens to be one of the first videos released from this album. If you are familiar with the album “Icon”, I find this song borrows a lot of the emotion and the guitar melodies from that album. If you solely consider the use of the rougher vocals, the case could be made that there is a bit of “Shades of God” in here as well. The contrasting vocals really shine through on this one, making it an excellent choice for an early single and future classic. The chorus stuck in my head for days after listening to it only once, just to give you an idea.

Ghosts” has some pounding drums, some nice dirty and fuzzy bass notes and of course the traditional echoes in the guitar that made one of my favorite albums so legendary in “Draconian Times”. This track is as good as it gets, it even has some nice low-tone rhythm guitar riffs thrown into the mix, that sounds amazing. It has a sinister yet catchy side to it, which is the modus operandi of these legends. I would be willing to bet that this song will be a crowd pleaser in the live setting. This shifts into “The Devil Embraced” with piano-laden atmospheres, grizzly growls and pure heavy melancholy. The added church organ effects always an interesting layer. And what would great epic/doom song be without a great solo that tears at your heart strings? At this point into the album, all songs are on the same level of quality, meaning excellence.

What is even better is that the rest of this masterpiece continues into the same realm of high-end quality doom.  We have the heavenly choirs of “Forsaken” that lead into guttural bass lines, accompanied by chugging guitars and a spice of raindrop piano notes. It also has some of the faster passages so far on the record and a guitar solo that would make OZZY OSBOURNE jealous. If you like your melodies and want a song to crank up the volume, “Serenity” is the one for you, it packs quite the punch and has a bit of that epic Viking metal influence in there (one could say many of these doom pioneers have influenced that genre over the years). If some people are not as knowledgeable about the band, this would be a good song to get them hooked on. It has that energy and passion usually found in Swedish melodic death metal bands.

Lastly, I would say one of my favorite songs is “Ending Days”, not so much because of the overall structure, but more due to its lyrical content that struck a chord with me. Certain numbers just talk to us more than others and this one left a mark.

After listening to this album, I felt like I was back in my 20's when I first heard “Draconian Times”, an album I still consider as absolute perfection. Well guess what, this album embodies everything that LP had in the 1990's and brings all the great elements of the band together, keeping it fresh and modern. There are no weaker songs, everything flows with such an ease. Every guitar note, every vocal line and each arrangement leaves a lasting impression. This is an album that will be difficult to top in 2020.

Songwriting:  10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Darker Thoughts
2. Fall from Grace
3. Ghosts
4. The Devil Embraced
5. Forsaken
6. Serenity
7. Ending Days
8. Hope Dies Young
9. Ravenghast
10. Hear the Night
11. Defiler
Lineup:
Nick Holmes- Vocals
Waltteri Väyrynen - Drums
Stephen Edmondson - Bass
Gregor Mackintosh - Guitars (Lead), Keyboards
Aaron Aedy - Guitars (Rhythm)
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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Edited 15 July 2020
 

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