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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