You only grow if you take life not as a straight highway, but a road with curves and twists, serpentines that bring you to new places with new experiences and view points. OK, that was the philosophical part of this review. The reason I mention it though is because the new Paradise Lost album sounds exactly like the result of all these turns and directional changed the band went through during the last decades. The brutal doom-/death metal of the early days, the gothic-based days of ‘One Second’ and the experimental phase of ‚Believe in Nothing‘, all added to what the band offers with ‚Obsidian‘, one of the strongest and most complete records the British metal icons released to date.
A fragile acoustic guitar leads-off the album and after a few seconds Nick Holmes’ vocal join in gently and soulful. A violin completes a calm beginning of the album, that slowly builds up to a heavy tune with all Paradise Lost trademarks in place. By the way, ‘Darker Thoughts‘, that‘s the title of the opening act. Heaviness and atmospheric section interact throughout, a good representation if what ‚Obsidian‘ is about.
The journey continues with ‚Fall From Grace‘, that in a bigger context, reminds of the ‚As I Die‘ times, maybe less because of the music but more due to the atmosphere. ‚Ghosts‘, already released as single, brings the passion for gothic to forefront, followed by ‚The Devil Embraced‘ which is a dark and heavy musical treat with various layers and twists. This song includes all Paradise Lost stands for.
’Forsaken’ shows a similar pattern as ’Ghosts’. The song is a gothic anthem with great melody-lines, a thundering rhythm-section and Greg Holmes’ vocals being powerful and mystic. Spiced up with Sisters Of Mercy-like choir parts the song has the potential to evolve to a little hit on Paradise Lost’s 16th album.
The gloomy vibe of ’Serenity’ is a catching element on ‘Obsidian’ too before ’Ending Days’ spreads its melancholia by a very well-done interplay of ballad-ish moments and heavy outbursts, all hold together by a dark vibe that embedded in each note.
Last but not least the closer. ’Ravenghast’ is a raw and fierce song that refers more to the earlier days of Paradise Lost. Black and mystic, as an obsidian, the songs marks a great ending of the album. The first riffs are slow and evil. Vocals are harsh and sinister, thrilling music that is touching and gives goosebumps. Not to forget the blistering solo parts and the typical Paradise Lost guitar signature being so unique for the band and their sound.
‚Obsidian‘ is the impressive new album. Paradise Lost took all the strong moments of the different eras of the band and merged them in a great fashion. ‚Obsidian‘ is a very dense, dark, melancholic and heavy album. At the same time it carries a stronger gothic spirit and comprises of hooks that are irresistible. 2020 is already rich when it comes to great records and Paradise Lost adds another candidate for becoming ‘album of the year‘ to the mix. It‘s your own fault if you miss this record.
- Darker Thoughts
- Fall From Grace
- The Devil Embraced
- Ending Days
- Hope Dies Young
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date EU: May 15th, 2020