Paradise Lost - Obsidian review

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Band: Paradise Lost
Album: Obsidian
Release date: May 2020

01. Darker Thoughts
02. Fall From Grace
03. Ghosts
04. The Devil Embraced
05. Forsaken
06. Serenity
07. Ending Days
08. Hope Dies Young
09. Ravenghast
10. Hear The Night [digipak bonus]
11. Defiler [digipak bonus]

I cannot be very objective with Paradise Lost. It's not just the fact that I grew up with their records, but also that they themselves grew up digging the same music that I did when I was younger.

Greg Mackintosh has highlighted the gothic vibe permeating Obsidian in his various promotional interviews to the point that he even provided a list of his favourite The Sisters Of Mercy tracks (not that it matters, but my picks would have been somewhat different). And indeed, the aura of the goth pioneers from Leeds is present on songs like "Ghosts" and "Hope Dies Young". It's not just the guitar melodies, the dark bass lines or the spirit of Andrew Eldritch that has possessed Nick Holmes on these tracks, but also the fact that Waltteri Väyrynen's playing reminisces The Sisters' drum machine, Doktor Avalanche. Come on, I urge you to tell me that you don't immediately think of "Alice" as soon as you hear the kick drum in the beginning of "Ghosts". Then, drums aside, the choral keys of "Forsaken" bring to mind "This Corrosion". So, is this an album by a clone of The Sisters Of Mercy? Of course not, the atmosphere and the songwriting is signature gothic doom made by Paradise Lost.

Obsidian features one of the strongest openers in the band's history. "Darker Thoughts" begins with angelic acoustic notes matched with heavenly clean vocals; when the violins come into play, the guitars electrify the atmosphere, and Nick metamorphoses into Old Nick, the song literally takes off. The first single released, "Fall From Grace", is as catchy as "No Hope In Sight" and demonstrates similar structure to the latter, while also borrowing some of its melody from Children Of Bodom's "Prayer For The Afflicted". "Serenity" is sure to become a fan favourite, with Greg sowing unbelievable patterns with his lead guitar. The truth is that Obsidian's appeal is very much owed to Mackintosh's beautiful melodies, my favourite being about halfway into "Ending Days". I also loved how Edmonton's bass is generally brought to fore, and how abrasive it sounds at times. Nick is using the entire range of his voice, which was neglected on Medusa because of that album's particular style approach.

I am sad to say that the closer, "Ravenghast", is not on par with the rest of the material and feels quite a bit out of place being a song that clearly belongs to the previous album. In my opinion, the bonus track, "Hear The Night", would have made an excellent epilogue instead, and I have no idea why they left it out of the standard edition. It's a shame because this choice leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth, especially when everything before it ranged from satisfying to triumphant.

It seems to me that with Medusa, the band came full circle. They showed everyone that they could be as heavy again as they were in their early days and now with Obsidian they are offering a career-spanning album in the sense that you can hear almost every sonic path that they have walked over the years. Those who were not convinced by the one-dimensional nature of its predecessor will be thrilled to listen to a record that is a lot more varied and "listenable". But even those who loved Medusa for its throwback character, myself included, will find Obsidian to be surprisingly refreshing.

After 16 albums and more than 30 years in the scene, it is incredible how Paradise Lost refuse to become stale and keep producing such quality material. This is the stuff great bands are made of.

"Till the last kingdom falls
To a shelter repressed, by a long loneliness
Finding answers we scorned
In a vile yonder grave, with a scowl we'll remain
In blood"


Written on 11.05.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 31   Visited by: 345 users
28.07.2020 - 16:16
Written by nikarg on 17.05.2020 at 22:45

My all-time favourite is either Gothic or Shades Of God. Can't decide really.

I've re-visited all their albums recently. Apart from a few of them, my opinions haven't really changed much. My top PL album are:
1. Shades of God
2. Icon
3. Draconian Times

My least favourite is, by far, "Symbol of Life". What they were thinking, still baffles me.

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