Paradise Lost


Gothic

Paradise Lost - Gothic ©1991 Peaceville/Music For Nations
1. Gothic
2. Dead Emotion
3. Shattered
4. Rapture
5. Eternal
6. Falling Forever
7. Angel Tears
8. Silent
9. The Painless
10. Desolate

All right, I'll admit that Gothic's style bored me to a state of sedation. Not just mildly drowsy, but full on snooze. Gothic is evidently a doom metal classic and a milemarker for Paradise Lost, but the plodding songs for the most part fail to a) keep me awake or b) make me feel dreary like all good doom metal should. Nick Holmes death roar is - shall we say - overdone and simply too monotonous to really be effective. With the slow tempos and only a handful of truly mournful leads (I do agree that Paradise Lost's guitarists have a knack for writing those good, slowly played leads that really fit the music appropriately), most of the songs here are dreadfully unenticing. Think of this album as spending an hour with your least favorite uncle clearing his throat in the most nasty fashion possible. Though I'm sure there are people who will want to hang me from the gallows for saying this, but Paradise Lost didn't become interesting to me until they took on Sisters of Mercy as their main influence.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1999

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Draconian Times

Paradise Lost - Draconian Times ©1995 Music For Nations
1. Enchantment
2. Hallowed Land
3. The Last Time
4. Forever Failure
5. Once Solemn
6. Shadowkings
7. Elusive Cure
8. Yearn For Change
9. Shades Of God
10. Hands Of Reason
11. I See Your Face
12. Jaded

Surprisingly one of the better Paradise Lost albums before their dive into the world of Sisters of Mercy styled goth, Draconian Times is an example of well played and aptly written heavy metal that doesn't dwell in monolithic doom or water itself down for radio airplay. Rather, the album falls in the middle of the map and offers nothing more than solid music for an enjoyable listen. Vocalist Nick Holmes has refined his bellow to a much more melodic approach, as well as retaining a fullness to his voice. Throughout the album, his vocals help sell the songs rather than just grunting his way through. The music is not terribly unexpected, but the songwriting emphasizes memorable riffs and guitar melodies over anything else. Paradise Lost doesn't seem to want to surprise anyone on the album. Given the classy and broad production, Draconian Times comes off as one of the better heavy metal albums to surface anywhere in the 90s. For anyone who just has a hankering for some good songs, look no further.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2000

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One Second

Paradise Lost - One Second ©1997 Music For Nations
1. One Second
2. Say Just Words
3. Lydia
4. Mercy
5. Soul Courageous
6. Another Day
7. The Sufferer
8. This Cold Life
9. Blood Of Another
10. Disappear
11. Sane
12. Take Me Down
13. I Despair

In the many cases of bands changing their trademark sound to explore a new direction, it seems that the fans, displaying their quick draw "sellout" chants, are very much not into hearing anything new. But sadly, the most overlooked aspect and question is this: "Is it good?"

Paradise Lost was a standard doom band with a string of releases dating back to '90 or so. The only other one I've heard was Icon, which was completely and fully without any elements to interest me. So quite possibly I'm the perfect target for the "new" Paradise Lost sound...you know, someone not clouded by perceptions of what the band should be. One Second is a pretty decent record. They've received criticism for including a handful of techno-ish beats (um, contrary to popular belief, no one is screaming "Free James Brown" over an incessant bass thump) but what seemingly is being overlooked is the plentiful strong melodies and nicely written songs. Nick Holmes' voice is strong and confident while he wisely doesn't attempt more than a lower range. There are quite a few keyboard parts on the album, but it overall adds depth to the sound. The closest one band I can compare Paradise Lost to is Sisters of Mercy (fast forward to "Mercy" and tell me if that doesn't mean something) but there are occasional reminders to many other bands, though none are overbearing. I have a feeling the title of this album will be about how long "true" metal fans will listen to this with an open mind, but since I'm having a hard time getting some of these songs out of my head, I'll give a hearty high-ho silver and handshake to this record.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1998

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Reflection

Paradise Lost - Reflection ©1988 Mayhem/Fierce
1. Say Just Words
2. Hallowed Lands
3. True Belief
4. Pity The Sadness
5. Eternal
6. Forever Failure (remix)
7. Gothic
8. One Second
9. Rotting Misery (in Dub)
10. The Last Time
11. Mercy
12. Widow
13. Embers Fire
14. As I Die
15. Soul Courageous (live)
16. Blood Of Another (live)
17. As I Die (live)

A long time member of the "Big Three" of British doom metal bands, Paradise Lost has gone through the time-honored evolution of leaving its roots behind as they grow as musicians. Naturally, those who insist bands aren't allowed to ever do anything aside from treading the same waters over and over will insist that their growth was bad. Let those people dwell in their small worlds. Paradise Lost, for better or worse, has at least had the courage to attempt something new with each and every album. Sometimes their new directions worked, sometimes they did not. For a newer fan, this compilation entitled Reflection is exactly that: a mirror focusing on the band's past and present, giving a solid overview of whence they came and how they arrived where they are now. The track selection is broad and doesn't seem to lean too heavily on any given album. As I am not greatly familiar with the band's back catalogue, it's hard to say if certain vital tracks were omitted and perhaps a longtime fan would have some beefs with the song selection. But throughout the earlier works, a lot of commonalties can be found in their songwriting approach. The guitar lines are often slow, note-by-note articulations of sorrow and pain. By the time the band reached their latest album, One Second, they had taken a more Sisters of Mercy approach, which also featured very improved singing by Nick Holmes. His death roar was perhaps more vicious in earlier days, but if he had continued it throughout every album the band would have stagnated moreso than they did around Icon. I'm not sure if Reflection is a vital purchase for the Paradise Lost fan who already owns the majority of the band's work, but for the newcomer, this is a great compilation that will allow one to sample the different eras and explore accordingly.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1999

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