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A new path for death metal - 85%

Gothic_Metalhead, July 31st, 2018
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Peaceville Records

The late-1980s brought the metal world a new form of extreme music, known as death metal. Bands like Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Autopsy and many others were pushing the likes of Metallica, Slayer, Celtic Frost, and Venom into much more extreme boundaries. The year 1990 would bring us a few iconic death metal albums, but a band called Paradise Lost would release 'Lost Paradise', an album that has never been heard in the realm of extreme music. Like a slower version of Autopsy at the time, Paradise Lost's debut album would become ground zero for a new fusion genre of death metal called death-doom. Paradise Lost takes death metal for the first time and fuses the slow, heavy, and dark sounds of Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, and Candlemass. 'Lost Paradise' is indeed an album that has been overlooked, but the album is a heavy sound of greatness that has taken death metal into newer heights. Sure, it may not be the band's best music in their career nor in their death-doom period, but it's an album that can't be ignored if listeners are looking for extreme heavy music.

'Lost Paradise' musical structure is good, but not the best. While I still think that the band are showing similarities to bands like Obituary, and Autopsy, but of course the music is a little slower. Some songs have some moderately fast parts, but it does not bother to speeding up anything higher tempos than that, and that is the point. I love how the album is slow and heavy, but also still keeping that death metal vibe. It fits pretty well with how songs are designed with the raw guitars and Nick Holmes dark growling. Though I feel the album would have been better if most of the songs were slower. The production on the album is not the best, but 'Lost Paradise' uses that production to their advantage it gives the music more raw power and dirty heaviness that is being heard through the instruments. The rhythm guitars are heavy as all hell, and lead guitar is good with some tasty solos. Hearing how evil 'Frozen Illusion' sounds is attributed to the chucking sounds of rhythm guitars and the creepy leads heard in 'Rotting Misery.' The bass on the other hand felt too simple and I couldn't hear much in that direction. The low production of the album gives a bad quality to the bass as I couldn't really hear anything exciting or heavy, it almost sounds like it's following more with the guitars instead having its own flare like how in the bands next album would sound. While production and bass sounds are not the best, the rest of the musical style is still really good.

Nick Holmes vocal style is one of the characteristics I enjoy most about 'Lost Paradise.' Like Autopsy, the growling for 'Lost Paradise' is very deep which brings heaviness to the album. The intro to 'Deadly Inner Sense' honestly made me jump because of the intensity that Holmes brought right away to the album. The low production did not damper on Nick Holmes performance, as it is still able to hear clearly on what Nick Holmes is talking about. The lyrics to 'Lost Paradise' is not much to say from my side. I mean, the lyrics sound good in most songs, though for some reason they didn't feel all too memorable to my ears. When comes to the lyrics of the album, I feel that the music off this album are as memorable then the lyrical themes.

Personally, I did really enjoy listening to 'Lost Paradise', I thought it was a hard-hitting album that took on a slower Autopsy style approach and made some really good death-doom songs that were raw and haunting. However, that doesn't mean it's entirely good. While 'Lost Paradise' is considered the first death-doom album, it didn't feel really memorable from an album that gave birth to a fusion genre. I feel like Paradise Lost copied off what Autopsy did back in 1989 when they released their first record, but it was less gore and less speed. The low production had its ups and downs that went on that either make the album better or worse. 'Lost Paradise' is still good to look at from a vocalist perspective and from a more atmospheric and guitar approach. The following year however, saw Paradise Lost birth another new style of metal with their death-doom masterpiece 'Gothic.'

Favorite Tracks: 'Deadly Inner Sense', 'Paradise Lost', 'Rotting Misery', 'Frozen Illusion'

Bed-wetter - 58%

gasmask_colostomy, November 15th, 2016

When one thinks of Paradise Lost's seminal early album Gothic, one thinks of child prodigies like Mozart and Picasso, since it essentially set the ground rules for a genre that was still unthought of, even by the band themselves - that of gothic metal. When one thinks of Icon, from two years later, one brings to mind young gymnasts and divers who have complete control of their bodies at a relatively young age, such is the elegance and power with which that album moves. However, when one thinks of Lost Paradise, one tends to imagine a child who hasn't yet stopped wetting the bed or has not fully mastered walking.

In some ways certainly linked to Gothic, there is a strong death metal tang to the doomy rumble and grind of these songs, made more overt by the frequently strong percussion provided by Matthew Archer and Nick Holmes's guttural roars, although the lyrics actually come through fairly clearly. Structurally, most of the compositions read like old death metal, without many repeating parts (certainly nothing like a chorus), plenty of changes of pace and direction, as well as the use of lead guitar as a more atmospheric distraction from the brutality around it. What Paradise Lost manage to do well here is get that atmosphere to the front of things, since there isn't anything amazing going on with the riff work, so it's left to Gregor Mackintosh to wail hauntingly atop the grimy chords and the additional keyboards (although uncredited, surely Peaceville's own Hammy provided some). As such, everything is like a uniformly terrifying crawl into the recesses of some black tomb, each step of which brings fresh horror and its own horrific thoughts. The original production was supposed to be hideous and might actually add to the grimness, though I'm dealing with the remastered version, which would seem to be quite an improvement.

Other than the atmosphere and Mackintosh's spooky leads, there isn't a great deal to write home about. The riffs are probably 80% slow, with a couple of rolling deathly parts thrown in to keep you guessing and a lot of parts that might actually have been inspired purely from horror movies. There are moments, such as the beginning of 'Frozen Illusion', where you might wonder if this is what Black Sabbath would have sounded like in a world without pop music, since the same effect is being aimed for, even if sometimes we also hear an idea from Autopsy or Obituary, which could have been picked up by Asphyx and their ilk. There are also a very few moments where you can hear that Paradise Lost would briefly become the leaders of a gothic doom scene which they would quickly surrender to My Dying Bride, such as the now ubiquitous use of female vocals on 'Breeding Fear', the slow melodic guitar line that closes 'Frozen Illusion', or the doom riffs on 'Deadly Inner Sense'. However, like many first albums by influential bands, this is a bit of a soup for much of its length.

Those looking for memorable songs are thus going to come up against a problem, since there isn't a great deal to distinguish the seven main features here (including 'Internal Torment II', present on most editions). Mackintosh's ideas are the best signposts, particularly if one is looking towards his glowering solo work on 'Paradise Lost' or the atmosphere that is conjured on 'Rotting Misery', replete with light bells and keys that do more to make it stand out. The faster sections of 'Our Saviour' and 'Internal Torment II' are both fairly cool, although neither song has the organization to make the good parts really stick. The better songs probably belong to the second half, though it's more suitable to take in the whole experience and feel the sense of place, which is sometimes very potent. A first step that should be confined to the places its sounds depict - somewhere shrouded in darkness.

Sieg Heil, You Conspicuous Robot! - 70%

OzzyApu, September 9th, 2009

Immediately we start with the intro, which usually is just some piano piece or stupid sampling to get the listener into the right mood. Gorgoroth did this with hilarity on their Antichrist album, and because of it they only got pies to the face. With this intro it’s brooding, chilling, increasingly claustrophobic, and overwhelming. I mean, damn, it's one fucking scary intro, like you're in a secluded factory deep in Nazi occupied Germany where superhuman experiments are taking place, occult rituals relinquish their secrets, and there is very little light or help to aid you in your suicide mission. Incredibly eerie and creepy, perfectly setting the mood that the rest of the album doesn’t easily waste.

The music itself reminds me of Hypocrisy’s earlier output (along the lines of Obsculum Obscenum / The Fourth Dimension); whereas Hypocrisy with those two albums is melodic and more produced, this album is raw, barbaric, and slower. The vocals sound more like Bromberg when he was in Hypocrisy – a very tainted, beastly growl. The music definitely strives to achieve more convincing atmosphere with chaotic drumming and deafening riffs – it’s a fine balance between atmosphere and brutality. There are usually melodic breaks or solo sections that add more flavor to the carnivorous tone, helping to stretch out the variety without sullying their established sound. Thankfully bass is booming like crazy to help envelop the listener and give off the claustrophobic feeling throughout. Its quite a fact that bass helps the music in this respect, and since this is doom / death, they’d be fucked if they didn’t have it.

My one complaint is that this album is stale and unemotional. Its not unique to this album – many death metal bands I’ve seen fall into this trap. Deicide, Autopsy, Edge of Sanity’s first album, Immolation, and others all take it up the ass royally when the tone is dark, but the music lacks a call-sign. Take it like this – there is very little here to actually hold the listener in for repeated visits. Its very chilling doom / death, but aside from that it doesn’t have a whole lot of lasting value or emotion deeper than what is on the surface. I’ll give them props for pioneering the genre that early, but its only enjoyable for what it is and very little after.

Good for what it is. - 89%

grimdoom, March 20th, 2009

Its interesting to see how bands progress with time. In the case of Paradise Lost its interesting to see them go from a rough Doomdeath Metal band, to a Synth Goth band back to being a Doom Metal band again. Many bands, Children of Bodom, Tool or Stratovarious for example, have been putting out the same album since they started and will continue to do so until they break up. For some bands, like AC/DC its a good idea to keep putting out what the people want to hear. Some bands should never change, while others you want/need to change to fully appreciate. Paradise Lost however, fit into the prior part of this comparison. Granted they've never done the same thing twice and that even their non-Metal albums have merit, its safe to say that had they continued in the style of ANY of their first five albums, the Metal world would be happier with them.

According to Greg, "A first album is a first album, you don't really know who you are or what your doing." (see Over the Madness DVD) According to the rest of the band this album was nothing more then them messing around with Hammy in a studio while smashed. They had recorded a bunch of bands rehearsals and from these recordings came the basic frame work for each of the songs on this album. They took the ideas they liked and cut the ones they didn't. They also view this album as a joke anymore.

The production is horrible, once again to reference the DVD, Hammy had a book on how to be a great producer one of the things his book said was to record all the rhythm guitars clean and add the distortion later, and this is what they did. Interesting to any who have seen their 'Live Death' VHS or DVD is that their instruments sound EXACTLY the same live as they do on the recording, a unique feat considering the distortion was added afterwards. In saying that, the guitars are surprisingly heavy (tuned to 'C') and brutal; mixing Death and Doom Metal into an original and style that would later be called Doomdeath. The leads are simplistic and are more or less beginner-esq tapping patterns, effective all the same.

The bass is relatively boring and follows the guitars. The drums play it safe and play what is considered standard for the style. The vocals are outstanding, especially considering that Nick was still a teenager at this point in the bands career. According to Greg, he hated Nicks vocals on this album, to quote "they sounded stupid". The lyrics are dark and spiteful, sadly, according to the band they aren't the most meaningful in retrospect. The music, while good, is sloppy and no where near as tight as future releases would be.

So, after one has listened to this and seen the DVD about the making of this album, what do we have here? From the fan perspective we have one of the darkest and heaviest albums to be release in the latter part of the 80's. The blue print for painfully slow and heavy Metal, and the birth of a new style. From the perspective of the informed, we have an accident that was never meant to get to record. Five guys, just barely out of school messing around and surprisingly getting popular while doing it.

Not for Fans of Paradise Lost - 90%

Zombie_Quixote, June 18th, 2008

Those who fell in love with the melancholy beauty that this band would eventually evolve into will be sorely disappointed by this release. After this release Paradise Lost were never so doom and gloom; oh there was doom and there was certainly gloom but it was all shone in a different light. In the beginning the band was dirty in its portrayal of themes it would later attempt to clean up.

Let's say Paradise Lost is a single room apartment. We look into that apartment now and what do we see? Light shining through stain glass windows; lively roses set and arranged neatly on a table covered in white lace; a wine bottle and half full wine glass before an empty polished table. Spiders crawl across dustless walls. A raven is perched in a gold cage in the right hand corner of the room. There's darkness here but it contrasts well with the other things in the room. The spiders glistening bodies hardly seem menacing in the daylight. The raven's cage is kept clean; the bird sits quiet, composed and noble.

The room is very much different than it was when Holmes and Co. first opened its door. What they found in Lost Paradise was a room thick covered in layers of black dust. The light was deadened by hanging rags riddled with moth-eaten holes. The flowers were withered and crisp brown petals covered the dirty, white lace. The wine was tipped over and pouring over the table; the glass was shattered; flies swarmed and ate the decaying liquid. The raven's cage was tarnished and its insides were covered in the bird's feathers and waste. The raven was still alive, it was howling mad and rushed the bars of its prison as Holmes approached it. And the spider's were still there. They were larger, hairier, blacker. Their webs covered every corner of darkened room. They were joined by friends: roaches that emerged from shadows and hissed at intruders.

The rooms are the same beast split in two; light and shadow to one another. One is pleasant and does nothing to scare away those who find themselves within it. The other is uncomfortable to say the least. But doom metal was never meant to be found in the first room. Doom metal, like mold, was meant to be grown in the dark, in the dank and dirty.

Lost Paradise cuts with a dirty blade. It hammers the listener with crushing riffs and harsh vocals. It drowns you in a dirty tub, pulls you up gasping for breath, only to plunge you back into the black water.

It's Black Sabbath's first album meets the early demos of Hellhammer. While the death metal bands of the same era wanted to bury you with speed, Paradise Lost and the death/doom scene took a different tact. The riffs on this release tremble relentlessly at a maddeningly slow pace. It's hard to describe what they've done here. The bass melts into itself, the drums are slow- hardly displaying the raw talent that bands like Suffocation did with their rhythm section- yet they beat like a pulse behind the music. The riffs aren't stagnant, and couldn't be described as minimalistic, there's certainly the complex structure akin to death metal somewhere in here.

I prefer this sound to what the band would later become. I find it like the difference between the American version of The Ring and its Japanese counterpart Ringu. The Ring is well produced, it's more aesthetically pleasing, and it's emotional. But there's something about Ringu that's just right for the story. It's raw and bleak, which magnifies the horrifying themes of the story. Just like Lost Paradise. More for fans of the things that go bump in the night.

The caterpillar before the butterfly - 78%

Gutterscream, March 25th, 2006
Written based on this version: 1990, Cassette, Peaceville Records

“…attempts at speech are drowned in laughter…”

At one time Paradise Lost could’ve been mistaken for Autopsy, albeit a less cantankerous and grimy one. Riffs grind and groan, vocals growl, production lays there stark naked and raw – a formula as frill-less as it is formless, the record itself rapt in an aura of desolation that has the structure of something skeletal, like an old unfinished building or the woods in winter. Lead-footed compared to the surrealistic eye of follow-up Gothic, the only primordial taste of that lp’s dignity lies in the supra-fleeting and emaciated female vox in the otherwise brooding “Breeding Fear”. But now I’m getting ahead of the debut and myself. It wasn’t writing on the wall that this British quintet would embellish their tetchy death/doom style with things that go atmospheric in the night, but if they had stayed with this credo for one or two more lps they would’ve probably died the nearly unremembered death of Winter and Disembowelment.

What’s going on here is respectably unglamorous and touched with shame, pitiless with a Neanderthal mindedness of cooking rats over an open fire because that’s all that’s available. With seldom anything distinguishable separating these tracks, the album is like a slab of aged meat that consists of one large tendon and nothing else. Before you know it the infernal intro, a pretty meaningless trek through thick audio gruel that barely insinuates at the telling of Milton’s vision, propels baleful “Deadly Inner Sense”, putridly melodic “Paradise Lost”, and half pedestrian-half intrepid “Our Savior” into end-of-side-one silence in what seems like mere moments, an antipode to the album’s for the most part crawl-along momentum. Inexpressively darting keyboards flit like a gnat in side two’s droning opener “Rotting Misery” while “Frozen Illusion” promises possible chaos with electrified solos managing to claw at its sludge-filled walls. Luckily, side two doesn’t fly by as fast, its slow lumbering clamber tripped up by the more soothing drear of the short title instrumental and “Internal Torment II”’s more inventive and rushed rhythmic discharge to close the disc.

But humble beginnings aren’t supposed to shed light like a beacon. If a band’s lucky, it’s illuminating something possibly evidential or even prophetic, but nothing too vast, and later we may become endeared to these early stages in pretty clear hindsight. So while this may be the old coat way in the back of Paradise Lost’s closet, it’s still the caterpillar before the butterfly.

“…and the madman speaks…listen with awe at the lies he’ll preach…”

The Paradise that dooms you - 80%

Manchester_Devil, March 1st, 2005

Before the men from Yorkshire started to go Goth rock on the Metal world and waved bye-bye. They were of the many Death Metal bands that appeared in the early 1990’s on Peaceville, alongside Darkthrone (who later became Black Metal), Autopsy (Who stayed Death Metal before being buried six feet under) and Pitchshifter (who aren’t Death Metal but transformed into Static-X’s English cousins anyway).

Paradise Lost in the beginning played Doom-Death Metal with the vocalist, Nick Holmes, growling with great conviction but tends to strain himself on certain moments of the album. The lead guitarist, Gergor Mackintosh, enhances the atmosphere of the album when he’s called upon, just as well as the production does it’s job of producing a raw atmosphere. The drummer, Matthew Archer is quite varied in his drumming during the doom sections of the album, throwing simple, but thoughtful touches which keeps the listeners interest.

Admittingly, some of the songs do sound boring though this can be put down to inexperience rather to lack of talent which is something you cannot accuse Paradise Lost of being at all. The band has actually created the first Doom/Death Metal album with this release as they will create the Gothic Metal genre with their next album Gothic.

The song structures used are unusual in today’s underground metal climate at the time as they are written as verses with the occasional chorus thrown into the mix. Sometimes, the verses themselves are repeated, though this would become Paradise Lost’s trademark.

From this point, Paradise Lost will evolve and then go into what many metalheads will perceive as decay, alas, we should concern ourselves with albums like “Lost Paradise”, “Gothic” and “Icon”.

Decent debut, they'd eventually do better - 79%

Crimsonblood, October 9th, 2003

Lost Paradise is the debut full-length from Paradise Lost and it’s really quite amazing how much the band has changed since this release. On Lost Paradise, Paradise Lost played a Death Metal heavy version of Doom Metal that at the time was rather original. Other bands would eventually do it better, and even Paradise Lost would do a lot better than this themselves, but it’s still a quality release if nothing but for the fact it’s one of the first in the style.

The music on Lost Paradise is somewhat varied. Essentially you have songs that are definitely in the Doom/Death field and others are more straight-ahead mid-paced Death Metal with touches of Doom. Either way the guitars do have a very heavy sludgy tone to them and the overall production is somewhat raw and dark, appropriately so as well. Paradise Lost is at their best on this release when they combine the Death Metal aspects of their music with the Doom/Death such as on “Our Savior”, “Breeding Fear”, and “Internal Torment II”. These songs have sections with fast double bass, mid-paced snare, and sludgy Death Metal riffs, and interwoven with this is slowed down Doom Metal, which of course contains depressing leads. The vocal style always remains harsh though, and Nick Holmes definitely had a good death growl. You can understand his lyrics and his phrasing is quite good at parts; in fact I would say it’s a major appeal of the release. While I admit the riffs aren’t always the most interesting during the straight Doom sections the drumming moves beyond standard bass+snare patterns played ultra slow, instead, drummer Matthew Archer throws in some extra bass and snare hits that while simple in execution, do help prevent the Paradise Lost from putting the listener to sleep.

Aside from the occasional boring riff, the song writing is pretty good. Paradise Lost tend to incorporate quite a few different sections to each song, which are all rather different, and actually, only 2 songs have what I would call a chorus. Most of the tracks have about 4-5 verses, some of which are repeated more than once and while this does hurt the band in the sense of not having any major vocal hooks (there are some exceptions), it does insure that Paradise Lost can go beyond conventional song arrangements and give the listener some variation in each song. For the most part the production is good considering the year it came out but the lead guitar has a weird tone, which part of me does like because it just sounds different. The tone would be perfected on Gothic and Icon.

Overall this is a decent CD. There are some definite top-notch songs, but as a whole the CD doesn’t hold up to an “outstanding” billing. Though as I said, considering it was one of the first releases in the Death/Doom style, the lack of perfection can be somewhat forgiven and it’s still worth owning if you’re into or wanting to get into this almost dead sub-genre of Doom Metal.

Song Highlights: Deadly Inner Sense, Our Savior, Breeding Fear, Internal Torment II