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Paradise Lost > One Second > Reviews
Paradise Lost - One Second

We knew that something wasn't quite right... - 59%

Absinthe1979, July 4th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Music for Nations

There's a certain resilience and daring inherent in youthfulness. The young tend not to panic when their heroes take a side-step into experimentation. They may not fully endorse the move, but often enough they'll jump into the oar-less vessel and see where the river leads them. One of the clearest measures of this adolescent vigour could be seen in my initial enjoyment of 'One Second' upon its controversial release in 1997.

After the masterpieces of 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times', we 90s teenagers were riding high on some of the most outstanding dark music ever created, and there was an aura of greatness in the air. Through compatriots My Dying Bride and Anathema, British gothic/doom was having a profound impact on we youthful innocents. Paradise Lost was one of the most exciting bands in the world, their ubiquity in the music press was testament to the fact that they were an act that was as seminal as they were sincere; they were innovators and their innovations were working - powerfully.

23 years after its release, I was discussing this album with a good friend who would express my own initial misgivings very clearly when he said that when he first looked at the artwork for 'One Second' he, "knew something wasn't quite right". The senior citizen on the album cover seemed a little too post-modern, the colour was a sort of sickly grey/green and there was something fishy about the whole thing. I don't recall having heard a track on the radio prior to receiving the CD, which meant that you paid your money and you took your chance with the actual product in your hands. But this was Paradise Lost, a band who had produced a plethora of metal classics, even as they evolved - what could possibly go wrong with this one?

I, for one, was resilient and prepared to roll with the punches. I had the world at my feet. My dreams were alive. Sure, the stunning drum sound and performance of Lee Morris on 'Draconian Times' had essentially been removed and buried under electronic beats. Ok, maybe the lead melody guitars had disappeared entirely, the rhythms were locked down into short and stilted riffs and the bass sounded like a synth. Big deal if the gothicism had been tagged out, and a modern urban vibe had jumped into the ring, with its soft introspection and too-cool-for-metal-school electronic loops. This was ok, it wasn't the end of the world.

A flick through the booklet revealed dystopian images, someone's unmade bed and a plate of noodles or something. Very well, it was not exactly grandiose and elegant, but I could handle this. It was going to be fine.

Unfortunately, these days, it isn't fine. The whole album is not fine. My youth has faded and with it my tolerance for shonky albums like this one.

And so to the music. I am quite prepared to accept that the first two tracks are generally enjoyable, even today. The title track is somewhat repetitive, although it does have a forward flow and a keyboard melody that is fairly engaging. Nick Holmes' strictly clean voice is satisfactory, and the vocal lines are memorable enough. The follow-up and first single 'Say Just Words' is not just strangely titled, but has also bizarrely become something of an anthem for the band, often appearing as live show set-closer. I'm not sure if this reflects genuine fan enjoyment or the band's own misguided sense of the song's apparent worth, but while it is certainly catchy and enjoyable, it's hardly a show-stopping classic. Like the title track before it, it is driven entirely by a keyboard melody. Bear in mind, Paradise Lost have never had a keyboard player live, so these songs, when played live, are drenched in backing tracks which has always bothered me somewhat during live shows.

'Disappear' is an emotive slower song, with swathes of synths (god, there's so much damn synth on this album) and a fairly emotional chorus which mercifully lacks the dance-floor bop of the previously discussed tracks. 'Blood of Another' has an iota of energy in its pulsing thrust, although it's only energetic by comparison with the rest of these snooze-tracks. I actually consider 'Sane' to be a very good song too, with its somewhat triumphant and anthemic chorus. The rest of this album is on a scale running from unexciting to weak. 'Soul Courageous' is a foolish tune that needs immediate switching off, while 'Lydia' and 'Mercy' are just watery songs that appeal to no one.

While accepting that grand judgemental comments in hindsight are odious, the idea that Paradise Lost was going to be able to move over into the commercial world and become some kind of Depeche Mode act was always doomed to fail. Nick Holmes was never going to carry the band with his untrained warble, and after reading 'No Celebration - The Official Story of Paradise Lost', where the band admit to nearly imploding after 'Host', it seems like a clear example of the toxic effect of moving from your truth into compromise and experimentation in search of earthly rewards. 'One Second' was the beginning of this descent.

While 'One Second' could also be blamed for the flurry of bands creating electronic-influenced albums after this one (Theatre of Tragedy, Moonspell, even My Dying Bride etc), it is best judged on in its own merits. The fact is, it hasn't aged well and it's an experiment that history has revealed to be misguided. With their gradual, yet merciful, return to metal - and they've really locked into it in the last 13 years - it is possible to enjoy this album as a sardonic twist in history, yet it never was and never will be a great classic for Paradise Lost.

Back in 1997 I enjoyed this somehow. We played the first two tracks at parties, I learnt all the lyrics. Maybe it felt fresh and interesting. Maybe it wasn't actually such a big deal, because 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times' were still new albums and also in heavy rotation. But I know in my heart that I never loved it and I, too, knew that "something wasn't right".

Then 'Host' came out and Paradise Lost would be forgotten completely... before their darkly majestic return to the grave.

New lost world - 70%

gasmask_colostomy, January 31st, 2020

Metalheads have rather a thing for thinking about groupings and comparisons, especially when they are easy to agree on. For instance, try this pop quiz:

1. Which of thrash’s “Big 4” sold out first?
2. Does Sweden or Finland make better melodeath?
3. What do the “Peaceville 3” have in common?

If you’re still stuck on the last question, I don’t blame you, because it’s tough to explain just how that trio of northern English bands have changed since early ‘90s roots writing doom death albums for the Peaceville label. Personally, I find it shocking how quickly and widely they dispersed after an initial few years in that niche, Anathema swooping off to prog rock horizons, My Dying Bride gradually cranking the dial of gothic soppiness, and Paradise Lost pursuing a hilly route over rocking doomy peaks and dour electronic valleys. What really marks out the third question of my pop quiz from the others is that the triumvirate of early doom groups have largely fled from trends instead of pursuing them. And here we are looking at the album that marked the start of a baffling left turn for Paradise Lost.

Despite Draconian Times displaying accessible qualities and a strong line in choruses, the 2 years that passed before One Second left the music barely recognizable. It’s no secret that repeat listens to Depeche Mode had sparked something in the miserable minds of this contrary quintet, though transforming from fairly standard gothic metal to fairly standard electronic rock probably left some fans repeating the album title in indignant fashion. The songs yield to the concise lengths and largely slow pace that have marked almost every release throughout 30 years of Paradise Lost, yet guitars share the spotlight with keyboards and vocal hooks outnumber instrumental creativity. Although One Second is so often described as a strictly electronic rock album, I find it revealing that the keyboards are figured both as classical instruments (on ‘Disappear’ especially) and as electronic synths and beats, embracing a much broader range of modern popular music than My Dying Bride’s austere baroque classicism. Coupled with the deliberate release of singles and a view to the sustained interest in synthesized pop, 1997 was clearly the year of Paradise Lost’s bolt for commercial success.

Unlike the following albums that saw the group becoming a gradually disintegrating mess of uncertain ideas and contemporary clichés, One Second isn’t actually that far off being the anticipated success. Sure, it sounds dated now and Nick Holmes cut his vocal range and expression for the sake of matching much less aggressive backing than previously, but songs stick with me pretty deep into the 51 minute runtime. The songwriting doesn’t merely shuffle along on autopilot as it did when Believe in Nothing limped in: the dynamics make the choruses work most of the time, exploding particularly on ‘Blood of Another’, ‘The Sufferer’, and the absolute earworm ‘Soul Courageous’. These all come across as extremely accessible, while other cuts such as ‘Another Day’ sound like some of Paradise Lost’s former songs with the main riff exchanged for a clammy ambience that seems to have haunted the soundboard during recording. ‘Take Me Down’ and ‘This Cold Life’ see the most extended use of those uneasy electronics, which match the glum attitude of the band and unify an otherwise straightforward dozen tunes.

You might have noticed from my tone that I’m fairly ambivalent to One Second, since the direction the band took here isn’t my cup of tea despite my endless tolerance for ‘Say Just Words’, which has become one of Paradise Lost’s anthems, if not the foremost. Obviously, fans of the doomier stuff before and more recently have no reason to seek this out, although I can see parallels between the strutting confidence that began with Icon and the bolder songs here, which would work equally well in massive live settings. I think the best compliment that I can fling at this album itself comes in the form of mood: One Second does the signature Paradise Lost mood without becoming boring, despite a scarcity of things going on at times. ‘Mercy’, ‘This Cold Life’, and ‘Sane’ are the biggest testers of patience, though you could do worse than experiencing the first step from these grumpy lads heading into a lost new world.

Much longer than the title suggests! - 61%

colin040, July 15th, 2018

I wasn’t around when One Second came out, but I can imagine what kind of reactions it had caused. ‘’Where did the guitars and rough vocals go?’’ one might have asked. Personally I don’t think such a change in direction was rather unexpected. After all, Draconian Times was basically a poppy goth metal album. One Second is a poppy goth rock album – with its moments, even if it lacks something very important that makes Paradise Lost essential.

One Second balances more quasi-rock out with laid back material and it's mostly vocally driven. It also features plenty of synths and pianos and isn’t much of a guitar oriented album. Therein lies the problem: it puts Greg Macintosh in a much weaker spot – here he’s rather unrepresented and none of his guitar playing delivers the emotion one could normally expect of him. I think it's obvious that he's a talented metal guitarist, but any other style doesn't show his actual talent. Without many guitars presents present, it's mostly up to Nick Holmes to lead the tunes in certain directions, this time sounding more gentle and restrained than rough and aggressive.

''Lydia’’ represents the change the band has made rather well, but manages to maintain some of its haunting misery the band is usually known for with Holmes switching between a more confronting and heartfelt vocal approach. ''This Cold Life’’ has an appealing chorus in between the synth driven verses and I like how the title gets repeated for a dramatic effect near the end. ‘’Sane’’ appears to be the most guitar-oriented track here and rocks out like the best of Draconian Times with one addictive lead melody and Holmes' cleaner vocal approach. ‘’Another Day’’ retains some of the rough vocal aspects, but musically appears to be more of a ballad of sorts even if its piano/keyboard collaboration near the end recalls the epic ending of ''Enchantment''. Unfortunately, things get rather shitty from time to time as certain tunes appear to be rather lifeless. Despite its cute piano motif being all over the place, the title track never got my attention much and saving the worst for the last, ''Take me Down'' has an almost ambient feel with Holmes whispering on background rather ineffectively. I'm not sure what Paradise Lost where thinking when they wrote this tune, but maybe it's best if we'll never know, cause this surely has to be one of the band's worst tunes ever.

Much has been said about Paradise Lost exploring the gothic rock/synth pop realm. Personally I don't blame them for having tried new things and while the band left some quality tunes behind on One Second, I just think this isn’t what they were made for. This isn't a bad album and I find more acceptable than certain other albums similar bands had released around the same time, but if you're looking for any essential outputs of this band, you'd better look elsewhere.

Paradise Lost find their true calling - 90%

TheLivingEnd, March 3rd, 2014

This is the logical album to come after Draconian Times. Tracking the natural arc of a band like Paradise Lost, from pioneering doom death on Lost Paradise and (to a far greater extent) Gothic to the more rock-grounded grooves of Icon which had reached a zenith in the highly accessible predecessor to this album, it was fairly easy to see the inevitable leap into the waters of *GASP* mainstream rock music.

'Mainstream' is a relative term of course but that, along with a few choice words like 'sellout' and 'watered-down', seems to summarize most of the opinions I've heard of this album, which baffles the hell out of me because this stands as perhaps my favorite album in Paradise Lost's discography and I say this as a guy who is pretty damn fond of doom/death. What we have here is an expertly crafted fusion between rock-based songwriting structures, compelling atmospheric synthesizer lines and wonderfully charismatic vocals by Nick Holmes, who finally quit trying to sound like a hard-as-fuck James Hetfield singing decidedly less than hard-as-fuck lyrics and just let himself croon. As soon as the title track starts up with an infectious piano melody and a synth line sweeps you along into a punchy rock groove that instantly ingrains itself in the memory, this album doesn't let up with the hooks or memorable moments. "Say Just Words" is probably the catchiest of this bunch, being the obvious choice for a single above even the incredibly catchy title track. If you're too kvlt to tap your foot to the opening rhythm and then bang your head to the simple but powerful melodies that drive this tune straight into your skull to take up residence there for the next week (at least), then I don't think I care to know you.

Each of the thirteen tracks on show here has something equally moving to offer, although some made more of an impression on me than others. "Mercy" with its slick, percussive verse and glittering keyboards lead into a fantastic chorus that sees Holmes channeling more of an Andrew Eldritch vibe than the Hetfield of yore. The Sisters of Mercy vibe is something that runs throughout the album but is at perhaps its most powerful here and cements the track as one of my favorites. "Another Day" begins as many songs on One Second do: a synthesized bass line and a sparse, sorrowful piano melody developing into a verse with more conventional rock instrumentation before the band belt out a moving chorus that brings a wistful touch of Icon with it. "The Sufferer" again broods on that synth for a bit, then smacks you upside the head with another candidate for catchiest goddamn chorus on the album. If you aren't siinging along with this within a couple of spins, then I'm calling bullshit because you totally are. Nick Holmes experiments a bit with some vocal effects in the bridge and then hammers that big chorus back into your head again because you know there simply isn't another option. "This Cold Life" follows with more subdued synthesizer verses interspersed with punchy rock riffing (noticing a theme yet?) that makes for another instantly memorable track. "Sane" is easily the closest to the previous albums, if only because it inverts the formula and actually opens with a crunchy riff and grandiose lead before quieting down and then building back up to a triumphant chorus. WAAAH-WIDDLE-DEEE-DEEE-WIDDLE-WAAAAH! Sometimes, all the sweep-picking in the world won't make up for how goddamn catchy and powerful a lead that simple can sound.

"Take Me Down" is actually hands down one of my favorite songs on this album and is, amusingly, by far the least metal. Opening with some some steampunk industrial percussion and haunting keyboards that persistently shimmer overhead in the gloom, this track bears more of a similarity to the more subtle works of Trent Reznor than those of My Dying Bride or Anathema. The alien and nearly unrecognizable guitar work towards the end further cements the impression. The simple yet powerful lyrics read more like a desperate mantra than a poem, while the subtle and compelling synth work and hauntingly beautiful yet sparse female vocals underneath the chorus make this quite possibly the song that most clearly represents the ambition of this transitional period in Paradise Lost's history. After straying a bit from the general formula of the album, PL return with another potent mission statement of this album's intent in "I Despair", which again features driving rock rhythms supplemented by tasteful electronics and a chorus that just won't quit.

One Second could truthfully be called a formulaic album, but that`s by no means a complaint when the formula is so damn perfect. Despite the handful of songs I singled out for favorites, this is an album devoid of any real filler and with no shortage of highlights. Each one of these tracks can be instantly recalled for their unique and fascinating charms and all contribute equally to this being the perhaps the most singularly memorable album in Paradise Lost`s discography. This is pretty much the blueprint for the style the band continued on their self-titled `comeback` and the excellent In Requiem (although those albums lean more heavily towards metallic crunch than this one does) in terms of short, easily digestible, and most importantly, memorable songs that can broadly appeal to non-metal fans. It`s also easy to see how this was where the band`s ideology began to favor experimentation with lighter and less reliable rock elements over the tried-and-true metal orthodoxy of their past. While the rewards of the new found direction were far from consistent (as subsequent albums such as Host and Symbol of Life would demonstrate) here they reap nothing but success. I can`t say I`m surprised that the band returned to this well after they had satisfied their curiosity with a few years of decidedly non-metal (though far from wasted) wandering in the woods and legions of grumbling fans; what I find more perplexing is that those same fans ate the `comeback` albums up like they were something wholly unprecedented from the somber Brits. This album is both past and present for Paradise Lost: a relic of both the stylistic crossroads they were at and an affirmation of their future direction. As someone who finds himself returning to this group's later output more than their early work­­, I have to say that this may well be my favorite of their releases as it never fails to offer up an undiluted dose of instantly enjoyable woe.

Come to the paradise of doom and goth… - 100%

Soldier_of_Christ, June 28th, 2009

Paradise Lost is known as one of the greatest pioneers of the doom and gothic metal genre, among other legendary doom and gothic bands like My Dying Bride…and with good reason!

With “One Second” they have proven once again that they are a pure force of doom that is here to stay. This album contains a brilliant combination of mysterious keyboard harmonics and electronic sounds. The keyboards have a type of sound that will make you want to become one with the music. The guitars have very special effects that will also draw the attention of the listener. Many people don’t understand the doom and gothic genre, but it is when you pay attention to the smaller and more special details that you realize the ultimate uniqueness. Paradise Lost has certainly passed this “uniqueness test” if I may call it so. You just have to listen to the guitars and keyboards to realize this.
The bass also complements this very special sound of the guitars and keyboards especially in the intro of “Another day”. Like Opeth, Paradise Lost always has lyrics with deep philosophical content. You can rest assure – the lyrical content on this album is definitely not garbage!

The vocals are excellent, to say the least. It is a combination of slow and deep doom and gothic type of vocals combined with a touch of aggressiveness. In my opinion the whole sound of the album is very neatly summed up in the song “Another day”. It is almost as if this song is the core of the whole album. That also goes for a few other songs like “One Second” and “Say just words”. Every single song on this album is brilliant in its own way.

All I can say to Paradise Lost is: Keep the good work up guys!

One Second - 91%

Shadow_Walker, April 29th, 2008

I’m wondering how to start this review. Maybe with that – Paradise Lost are one of the greatest band I’ve ever heard or with the fact that “One Second” is a unique album. But I’ll begin like that:

“And for one second I lost my head
and for one second, I wished that you were dead
And for one second, I understand
and for one second, my life was in your hands”

This lyrics show the feelings you go through when your loved one do you down. And yes- within just a few second your life, feelings and personality could be changed.

Actually Paradise Lost are also different. If we compare “One Second” to their classic “Gothic” from ’91 … is this the same band? Well, yes, but beside that the music is still very good, everything is altered. Although for me “One Second” is the logical sequence to “Draconian Times” – Paradise Lost are going deeper into the goth rock/darkwave realm.

No, in this album you won’t hear heavy guitars. Here they are somewhat tender and melodic.
And almost everywhere they are more in the background as supplementing element. However in “Say Just Words”, “Blood of Another” and “This Cold Life” there are moments when the guitars show its power.
The electronic sounding is the base of this release. In every song you can hear beats – no, not those boring and irritating found in house or techno music. The beats in the album are light and pleasant, fulfilled with some keyboards and interesting synth effects.
And the vocals - Nick’s singing is now completely clean and with a bit of a pop manner
The full-length does not have a homogenous mood. It varies from the melancholy of “Lydia” to the optimism of “Soul Courageous”.

Paradise Lost have changed their style a lot.
However they continue with making wonderful music.

The FIRST Goth Metal album from these Doom Gods! - 90%

grimdoom, September 8th, 2007

The term “sellout” has been thrown around more times in the Metal genera than perhaps any other genera of music. Many bands have a “sellout” album or moment in their career when they turn away from those who have followed them and whether it’s for a fleeting instance, or forever, it is never forgotten. Some do it in an attempt to reach a broader audience, some because they think they can get rich from it, and others still that do it because they want a change in lives. In any event, it 9 out of 10 times results in the loss of said bands “core” fan base. Some bands quickly revert back to where/what they were, others embrace the controversy and let it take them where it will, in the case a Paradise Lost, perhaps there’s a little bit of everything above.

On “One Second” we see PL playing “Gothic” Metal (for the first time EVER). Everything they’ve done up to this point is Doomdeath and even on this Goth record we can still hear Doomy undertones. The guitars (seeming tuned to ‘standard’ from this point forward) are fairly crunchy and maintain the standard sound that the band created on “Gothic” (albeit much lighter). The bass and the drums don’t do anything too amazing. There is also more keyboard/programming on this record than on any prior PL recording.

The lyrical content is more or less the same, but with a more relaxed and commercial feel. The band continues with the trend started on ‘Icon’ of verse chorus verse but with a happier feel. The vocals are completely clean with Nick decidedly dropping the growls for a gothy croon; these are mostly mids and lows and are offset by drummer Lees’ complimentary highs.

The production is only slightly better than ‘Draconian Times’, that being said it’s alright. Also one can see the band with short hair for the first time. Despite the new sound/look, this is very much a Metal band making (what would be for a few years anyway) their last Metal album. To consider this anything less than Metal (excellent Gothic Metal at that) means your missing something.

A generally decent with a few exceptional songs - 69%

PowerMetalGlory, November 25th, 2003

Firstly, this is not a metal album. The Paradise Lost that released Icon and Draconian Times is no more. Get over it. Also, don't expect the raspy vocals indicative of earlier Paradise Lost. For that, just take another listen to 'As I die' and reflect.

It has always been a hit and miss scenario for me with these British doomsters. It seems like most of the band's albums have a few standout tracks while the rest are quite boredom inducing.

The album starts off with the most 'poppy' sounding song that has ever been found on a Paradise Lost album. An instant classic. I love it. There is definitely an audible Depeche Mode influence present on this entire album and the title track embodies it well.

The next track is yet another winner. 'Say Just Words' has a dance grove and I can't help but bob my head along.

'Lydia' is a dark song with a generally uninteresting backbone. It feels like it's a leftover from the older years that has encountered a compatability issue with the new approach.

Track four, 'Mercy' is probably my favourite song on the album. Quite a melancholy and hopeless track. I wish they played this at clubs!

The next track is more upbeat and guitar oriented. It gives off that stoner rock feel somewhat. Are you 'Soul Corageous'?

Somewhere around here a male voice should come in and utter, "Thanks for listening to the good tracks on this album. If you are either
a) masochist
b) suffer from insomnia
c) like emo

please continue listening."

'Another Day', 'The suffferer' and 'This Cold Life' attempt to be soul searching and gut wrenching complete with whispers, keyboard effects and some weak distortion. Utter synthetic boredom. Ugh.

'Blood of Another' reminds me of Danzig for some reason. Probably the way Holmes' voice sounds on this track. But can you tell WHY THE FUCK THERE ARE 45 seconds of near silence in the middle of the song?

Rounding off this very inconsistent album are 'Disappear', 'Sane', 'Take me down' and "I despair'. Bleak titles for some bleak music. 'Sane' is the most tolerable out of the four.

Verdict: Don't get this, despite it being rated 69. If Paradise Lost has gotten your attention, get 'Reflections' instead. It's their compilation album which contains the good tracks from this bundle of inconsistency and some of the band's other great material recorded throughout the years. But, them again, PL is definitely not everyone's cup o' tea.