ALBUM REVIEW: Paradise Lost – Obsidian

Many consider the British band, Paradise Lost to be the fathers of the Gothic Metal genre. Formed in 1988, four out of the five members have been there since the beginning. This tight-knit group of guys is a prime example of a hard-working band who knows how to stay creative and original. The exploration and determination of this act has led them down some unique roads over the years. After experimenting on albums like One Second (Music for Nations) and Believe In Nothing (EMI), Paradise Lost got back to their roots in 2015. They embraced their Death Metal background with the release of The Plague Within (Century Media Records) and 2017’s Medusa (Nuclear Blast). Now with the release of their sixteenth record, Obsidian (Nuclear Blast), their heaviness is being fleshed out with even more distinct devastation.

A contemplative atmosphere engulfs the listener with the elegantly stark sound on the opening number, ‘Darker Thoughts’. The agreeable acoustics crescendo when Nick Holmes‘ blunt cleans jolt into his severe screams. This sets up the grim gothic scene that remains throughout the rest of the album. The guitar work of Gregor Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, provide thick, cunning riffs that cut right through the mix. Numbers like ‘Fall From Grace’, ‘The Devil Embraced’, and ‘Serenity’ deliver dignified guitar melodies that make the sorrow of each song soar. These guys have been working together for 30 years and you can tell by their expert, complementary tones. Gregor knows the fine balance of being richly fluid while still executing proficient chord progressions and melancholy effects. Similar to Mikko Lindström, from the band HIM, he knows how to cultivate those chunky, gothic distortions. The force of the guitars and the drumming of Waltteri Väyrynen guide the listener through their aggressive, substantial sound.

The songs ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Hope Dies Young’ display the divergent drive of this record. Their traditional doom sound turns dingy and provokes this very old school Goth Rock vibe. Like something you would hear at an underground nightclub thirty years ago. The number, ‘Ravenghast’ and bonus track ‘Hear the Night’ carry out some rather chilling lyrics that slips the listener into a somber, sludgy abyss. Bass player Stephen Edmondson, adds a nice extra layer of heaviness by making these gloomy songs even more dynamic. This act contemplates death and darkness while fully indulging in vivid songwriting. These mournful, sobering songs create a response of thoughtfulness which shows off the band’s varied emotions. The wide array of movements presented on each track reveals their ability to continuingly color their music with new moods. Paradise Lost is a pioneer in the Gothic Metal scene. On this sixteenth studio album they continue to define and explore the genre.

8 / 10