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The best Paradise Lost offering - 88%

CannibalCorpse, June 9th, 2006

Paradise Lost really got their act together for once. Surprisingly, "Shades of God" is considered to be the album "inbetween two masterpieces" and largely ignored. I don't see why. It's the perfect transition of 65% "Gothic", 15% "Icon" and 20% Thrash Metal. Yes, there are quite a few thrash riffs on here and they actually fit VERY well.

"Shades of God" has many of Gregor Mackintosh's trademark melodic lead guitar riffing, but there's also some less-melodic and more aggressive lead attack here, rather unusual for Gregor's style. Again, they fit surprisingly well.

Even though there are SOME hints of their future sound on "Icon" in here, most of the compositions displayed on "Shades of God" are of a very aggressive and raw nature. The mentioned hint sof their future sound are only audible in Nick's vocal style, which isn't guttural or even very deep anymore. I guess it would also fit to a nice thrash metal band. Also, in terms of atmosphere and feeling, this album is also superior to any other Paradise Lost release.

The album was mostly not too well-received and I still can't see why. I don't see huge experimentation processes going on. Sure, it is different to "Gothic" but it definitely has it's trademarks and foundations. There's just one song which sounds rather different in parts and that one is "As I Die". It's a bit softer than the rest, has more clean vocal usage as well as short whispered verses. Another slight hint to their future style. No surprise, it's also the most well known song from this album.

As I already mentioned in my "Gothic" review, I don't think that Paradise Lost has ever released a masterpiece, but "Shades of God" comes very close. It has consistent, memorable songs, some of the best leads and for once, the rhythm guitars are not "just there", they are fully developed and add a lot to the album.

I recommend "Shades of God" to any fan of the Doom metal genre. It's my favourite Paradise Lost album and maybe one of you will finally agree with me.

Highlights: Mortals Watch the Day, Daylight Torn, No Forgiveness, Pity the Sadness