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No thanks - 40%

colin040, November 10th, 2017

Anyone who knows me a little bit too much, knows that I’m a fan of Paradise Lost. Greg is a distinct guitar player, Nick Holmes is a unique vocalist (though not as versatile as he’d like to be) and the guys just know how to come up with interesting tunes that consist of some simple hooks. Let’s face it though, the band drifted away when they stopped playing metal and no matter how you look at it, that will piss people off. Personally I don't hate that era of the band or anything, but that's neither here or there.

Now this record is a gothic metal album and it’s also called…Paradise Lost. I’m not sure whether that was a sign of laziness or to proclaim that this would be a comeback, but if the latter was the case, then this certainly doesn’t scream ‘’comeback!’’. Sure, they brought back the guitars in the front but if that makes you satisfied no matter what, maybe your expectations are just a little too low. I can only imagine how a conversation between Greg and Nick went when they were writing this record:

Greg: ‘’Alright Nick, listen up! I’ve written these songs and as you can tell the guitars sound quite distorted, just so we would get fans interested in us again!’’
Nick: ‘’Are you sure that’s enough? Have you actually written some riffs this time?
Greg: ‘’Who cares? It’s the distortion that counts! Now prepare to sing about your personal issues and use effects on your voice if necessary!’’

Maybe I’m exaggerating, but this seriously sounds like Paradise Lost were operating on auto pilot. The band’s strength were always songs of a simple verse/chorus format, but here things become so tiring quickly as the amount of variation is absolutely minimal. At worst it also sounds like these guys were trying to catch up with the trends of the time. Take ‘’Redshift’’ for example, which is a pseudo-heavy modern tune that out of all bands reminds me of Linking Park for crying out loud! If that wasn’t enough already, there are plenty of piano passages popping up that could work well like drama movie soundtracks, but that’s not something you’d want to hear on a Paradise Lost album now, would you? Greg and Aaron chug their way through the album, offering riffs that give me more of a modern rock vibe than anything else, which is just a waste of their talents. Greg brought back some actual leads this time, but they’re totally devoid of any magic and just seem to appear because they could. Lyrically I almost get the idea this album was out there to gain attention of younger audience. Themes seem to be about personal subjects (you know, relationships and such) and are delivered in such a manner that doesn’t exactly convey much to me. Holmes sounds fairly civilized and while I’m fond of his belting which does recall his younger self to a certain degree, his breathy lines sound rather angsty and becomes annoying very quickly.

I have no idea what the band were thinking by putting the best song on the end of the album, but ‘’Over the Madness’’ is actually enjoyable, has some identity to it (such an accomplishment!) and sounds surprisingly doom metal-like at times. Sure, it’s got some soft verses, but it contrasts well with some moving riffs and Greg even manages to come up with an atmospheric solo that totally steals the show. Still, after having heard an abomination like ‘’Redshift’’ I don’t blame people for not even making it this far!

Overall, Paradise Lost is a crap record. It’s not always awful and certain tunes are more plainly inoffensive radio gothic metal (‘’Forever After’’, ‘’Accept the Pain’’) than anything else, but the day I’ll ‘’get’’ this, is the day the world would come to an end. It’s pretty impressive how the band got their act together in some years from here, but that’s worth mentioning elsewhere. No cookie for you this time, guys.