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Paradise Lost – Draconian Times (25th anniversary) Award winner

Paradise Lost
Draconian Times (25th anniversary)
by Eric Poulin at 15 December 2020, 4:07 AM

PARADISE LOST is a doom metal based out of the United KIngdom and who have been around since 1988. This is the 25th anniversary edition of their legendary album entitled “Draconian Times” which was released through Music for Nations on December 4th, 2020. This legendary record released 25 years ago has had so many reviews, special editions and overall praise for the last 2 decades. The reason for that is because every single song on this album has become a classic and the band has celebrated the success of this album on multiple occasions, notably in 2011 when they played the entire record in a live setting.

Since most doom or gothic metal fans are already knowledgeable about the contents of each of the songs, I will not dwell so much on the original compositions. The sound overall is essentially the same as the last time there was a reissue (and there have been countless ones). The incredibly melodic and catchy “Hallowed Land” which has a rough edge, but such a surreal passion about it has been one of my absolute favorites for many years. The guitar tone with its echoes and tight grasp of feeling is what this album embodies.

Is there a more melancholic piece of music than the quintessential “Forever Failure”. The subject matter has been a cornerstone for a ton of bands in the last 20 years but this song pierces through your heart like no other song can. It is an honest portrayal of what it means to feel depressed and under-appreciated and to me is the most recognizable track in their discography. You have a song like “Shades of God” which happens to be the title of one of their earlier records. Now while this song does not have the same growly vocals as that record possessed, yet this is heavy (not necessarily in terms of guitar tone) but just the mood of the song. It has become the trademark of the band.

Now since going through track by track seems rather pointless or most people who already know the album by heart, we can discuss the special additions this version has. Now the second cd contains some very interesting unreleased live versions of these classics such as “Shadowkings” which sounds very close to the original, and the same could be said for “Once Solemn”. If you are interested in the history of this album, you get a good chunk of original demos that show the earlier stages of these songs such as the barebones of “Forever Failure” and “The Last Time”, obviously these versions are very raw and unpolished, but it is always nice to see where the songs came from and how they evolved over time.

Now the kicker comes at the end with I believe a cover song that had not been released on their official albums (possibly a bootleg) and it is a rendition of a SISTERS OF MERCY track entitled “Walk Away”. To be honest I am not that familiar with the classic songs of the band and it would be impossible for me to compare the two even if I did, as both bands have been staples of their respective genres. However, this song really kicks into a high gear (not in terms of speed) but in how the band shows a nod to their influences of the past that have helped craft their doom metal sound over time.

So this is another edition of an album that still stands the test of time, but the second cd has some really cool gems both in the live and demo stages of the band, on top of an unreleased discography cover (at least to my knowledge). If you have never heard this album, this is the time to do so and if you are a die-hard fan of the band, I am certain you will find something that will interest you in the rarities section of this release.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc 1:

1. Enchantment
2. Hallowed Land
3. The Last Time
4. Forever Failure
5. Once Solemn
6. Shadowkings
7. Elusive Cure
8. Yearn for Change
9. Shades of God
10. Hands of Reason
11. I See Your Face
12. Jaded

Disc 2:

1. Shadowkings (BBC Live Session)
2. Sweetness (BBC Live Session)
3. Once Solemn (BBC Live Session)
4. Yearn for Change (BBC Live Session)
5. The Last Time (Demo)
6. Forever Failure (Demo)
7. Shadowkings (Demo)
8. I See Your Face (Demo)
9. Hallowed Land (Demo)
10. Hands of Reason (Demo)
11. Last Desire (Demo)
12. Master of Misrule (Demo)
13. Walk Away (Sisters of Mercy cover)   
Lineup:
Nick Holmes - Vocals
Gregor Mackintosh - Guitars (Lead, Acoustic)
Aaron Aedy - Guitars (Rhythm, Acoustic)
Steve Edmondson - Bass
Lee Morris - Drums, Percussion
Record Label: Music for Nations Records
     


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Edited 16 October 2021
 

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