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Poorly chosen material - 52%

gasmask_colostomy, June 11th, 2017

Paradise Lost are well known for morphing into different genres during their long stay at the forefront of the British metal scene, as well as for the consistency of their albums and creativity of their members. Even the various smaller releases from the band's career have plenty of cool exclusive metal that their fans continue to search out and that goes for Permanent Solution, though only to a small extent. I'm not nearly as big a fan of PL's electronic era as I am of their doom and gothic metal exploits, though there is enough to enjoy in Host (the album from which 'Permanent Solution' comes) not to mind too much. What seems slightly lame in this case is not the style of music contained here, but the fairly obsolete nature of the release, since all the material is available in different form on the full-length.

Certainly not an orthodox single, Permanent Solution in fact numbers seven tracks, even if three of them are versions of the title track and the others constitute live and remixed versions of other Host numbers. It rather puzzles me to see a longer radio version of 'Permanent Solution than the original, though hearing the decreased presence of the sharper electronic elements and the virtual absence of the guitar is rather less of a surprise. The version remixed by Greg Brimson doesn't water down the song to the same extent, though adds in other beats to give the song more of an '80s electronic vibe than the original, which remains typical of its era in the late '90s. What really makes all these different versions rather lukewarm, however, is that 'Permanent Solution was never actually a great track in the first place, certainly not eclipsing 'Ordinary Days' or 'Behind the Grey' in either commercial appeal or pure enjoyable qualities.

The remix of 'So Much Is Lost' goes much the same way, expanding the song into broader and more relaxing territories yet never gripping the listener from start to finish. The live songs are slightly more lively (hehe), giving a bit of context for the way that PL themselves saw the songs, which seems more like electronic rock than the remixers' efforts. The heavy keyboard presence in 'Nothing Sacred' has a different tone to the band's older material yet coupled with the synthesized violin and other keys in 'Behind the Grey' point to a link with Icon, though highlights the changes in the manner in which classical instruments are used (previously real instruments, now samples) and the washes of backing noise are produced (back then it was guitar feedback, here it's synths). Nick Holmes doesn't sound particularly excited until he introduces 'Made the Same', having already asked the audience for a cigarette and generally singing well within himself, while the rest of the band are also fairly restrained.

The decreased praise for this era of PL is reflected by the quality of this kind of release, where the band lack energy and some of the songs seem directionless. There is nothing wrong with electronic music in general, but 'Permanent Solution' is certainly not the best song PL wrote in this style, nor are the excessive remixes and mediocre live versions much of a treat for fans. Have another listen to 'Ordinary Days' instead of spending half an hour on this.