paradise lost hysteria
paradise lost hysteria

Paradise LostObsidian

Nuclear Blast
15th May, 2020
Blackened Sound

It is not uncommon for bands that make a tremendous racket of loud and extreme music in their younger days to mellow later on.

MORE: PARKWAY DRIVE: Triumph Of The Underdogs // KICK OUT THE JAMS with Stepson // PARADISE LOST: Doom Unites Us REVIEWS: VIOLENT SOHO: Everything Is A-OK // ENTER SHIKARI: Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible // THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER: Verminous // TRIVIUM: What The Dead Men Say // BOSTON MANOR: Glue

Sometimes it works. Katatonia and Anathema, for instance, nowadays make something altogether different to the dark, heavy and brooding gloom for which they first became known. Some fans loved the transition, others felt alienated, but however you felt about, the change seems to be permanent.

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It is far less common for a band whose origins lie in the murky depths of death doom to not merely transform its sound into something more accessible–but to then make it a full circle and return to make more of the bleak noises from when they started. Even less common is for this to occur with a commercially successful band that remains a festival draw card.

Such is the case with Paradise Lost’s upcoming studio album number 16, Obsidian. Described by vocalist Nick Holmes as “one of the most eclectic albums we have done in some time,” it continues with the harder and heavier trend found in the last couple of albums–no doubt to the great delight of many of the band’s ‘traditional’ fans.

Obsidian is an excellent slow to mid-tempo album that’s got doom and goth written all over it. It will appeal to lovers of all things dark, bleak and gloomy.

Fall From Grace, the first single, and incidentally the first track written for Obsidian, is a solid, slow, mournful, heavy number in the spirit of 2017’s Medusa (Nick explained in this Hysteria Mag interview that the reference point when starting a new album is always the previous one).

Ghosts is the second single and it’s where the “eclectic” element that Nick mentioned becomes apparent. It’s a veritable and almost danceable homage to 80s goth rock, though one that never loses its Paradise Lost identity.

Thus, at the pre-release stage we have two tracks with a distinctly different character. It’s something of a theme on Obsidian.

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There are mid-tempo tracks (Forsaken, Serenity, Hope Dies Young). There are slow, mournful tracks (Ending Days, Fall From Grace). There are tracks that do a bit of everything (Darker Thoughts, Ravenghast).

Indeed, the overall mood isn’t just doom and gloom. Why, sometimes things get positively bleak or they may even ascend to full guaranteed depressive.

Produced by the band with the help of Jamie ‘Gomez’ Arellano (he’s worked with the likes of Cathedral, Mayhem, Ulver and many others), Obsidian does a stellar job of bringing out the forlorn guitar intricacies of Greg Mackintosh, the anguish in vocalist Nick Holmes’ clean and abrasive growls, and the rest of the rhythm section.

Obsidian is an excellent slow to mid-tempo album that’s got doom and goth written all over it. It will appeal to lovers of all things dark, bleak and gloomy.

Hard to believe, though, that something so desolate is from the same band that did a music video for Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy.


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