One perfect example of England’s dominance in metal, is definitely Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost have been pioneering the death/doom metal genre from 1988, completing the gothic metal triptych along with My Dying Bride and Anathema since the early 90’s. Meanwhile, Paradise Lost can take pride of keeping an almost steady lineup (with slight changes behind the drumkit) since the early days. As of today, Paradise Lost are Nick Holmes in the vocal duties, Aaron Aedy and Gregor Mackintosh in guitars, Stephen Edmondson in the bass, while their most recent addition is Waltteri Vayrynen (also Wolfheart, Moonsorrow and Abhorrence).
Having already recorded three demos in the late 80’s, “Morbid Existence”, “Frozen Illusion” and “Plains Of Desolation”, they had signed in Peaceville Records before they had released their first studio album. Thus, in 1990, came “Lost Paradise”, their iconic debut which opened a new path for the death metal genre. Its melodic, slow and gloomy tunes led Paradise Lost to mark their spot in the British metal scene at first, and then in the worldwide audiences. Fairly, it’s described as the first death/ doom metal album ever.
Following up this iconic debut, in 1991 came “Gothic”. Weirdly though, it has nothing to do with the gothic culture and sound as known up to then, and surely didn’t spoil what would come up for Paradise Lost in the following years. The thick guitars and Holmes’ immaculate vocals, all under a veil of a spooky, atmospheric melody, make this album historic up to date and of course, surpassed “Lost Paradise” in pretty much everything.
In July 14th 1992 “Shades Of God” was released , via Music For Nations. It surely started pointing out sparks of fire to music critics back in the day, since the musical change was already starting to grow. The clean vocals took over mostly and the machine had already started rolling the other way.
“Icon” followed up. A plain example of a godly, melancholic masterpiece. The vocals remind of James Hetfield, which makes sense considering that the band had been experimenting during their first years (and that’s why they pulled out such iconic records at the early days). No need for further talk on this one.
The most commercially successful Paradise Lost album came out in 1995, under the title “Draconian Times”, or maybe, the time of their peak. Nothing that followed up could ever compare to “Draconian Times”. In the mid-90’s, the gothic metal scene was at it’s peak (The Gathering, Tiamat, Moonspell, Theatre Of Tragedy), so according to the band, they had no problem in using this term for their music from then and on. Despite having only slight differences with Icon, this album grew bigger in the metal world.
“One Second” came in 1997 and it was the first Paradise Lost record that was recorded in a digital form. It was the band’s most brave attempt to depart from the commonly known until then “Death/Doom” and move forward to this new trend, called Gothic Metal which now had already marked its spot in the metal scene as a new genre. Paradise Lost has been riding a rollercoaster of highs and lows that began with Icon and keep on up to the day. Many were frustrated, while most were still amazed by how they manage to keep everyone anticipating their next step. Clean vocals, piano melodies and heartbreaking lyrics was the key to happiness, after all.
In 1999, Paradise Lost released “Host”. Eh. Now that everyone was pumped with this new gothic metal direction, the band moved forward to a more easy listening direction,more Depeche Mode like, almost no metal at all. Synthpop, trance and electro melodies took over “Host” and unfortunately, this is the weakest link of their discography.
“Believe In Nothing” (2001) was one of their last efforts for this light musical style, which was led (according to the band) by the record label. The album was remastered and released in summer 2018 via Nuclear Blast, something I can really not understand, to be frank.
Having been already into this turn of events for Paradise Lost, “Symbol of Life”, which was out in 2002, was highly loved by the audiences worldwide. Looked like there are still some elements in their music that people should believe in. “Symbol Of Life” includes some of the band’s finest, such as “Erased”, “Pray Nightfall” and “Isolate” which looks like a B-side from the Draconian Times era. Rarely not loved.
A shiny, yet gloomy gothic metal starter pack, has to be the self titled “Paradise Lost”, which was pulled out in 2005. After many many years, this is the first Paradise Lost record that includes a new member, Jeff Singer, as a full time drummer. Sounds like a “getting back to the roots” trial. However, everything pretty much remains steady.
“In Requiem”. An “Icon” reminder, when it comes Holmes’ harsher vocal sounds, but music wise, nothing specific. Follows the exact same pattern that Paradise Lost started in the late 90’s, with “One Second”.
As of 2009, Paradise Lost sign to Century Media records, via whom “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” is out. What a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL masterpiece. The ode to melancholy, and definitely one of the band’s greatest musical steps after Draconian Times. The self titled music video is one of the strongest in the heavy metal scene of the past decade. Excellent.
In 2012, came “Tragic Idol” and the band after being in a mood of complete silence over the last years, start to grow a little bigger. They embark on a European tour with Insomnium and the album in general receives highly praised critics from all around the world. According to the band, with “Tragic Idol”, they wanted to create a more classic doom metal influenced record, under the sign of the classic metal sounds, so, the heaviness is strong in this one.
“The Plague Within” though, was a throne reclaimer. Sounds, exactly how a Paradise Lost album is supposed to sound. Heavy, gloomy, jaw dripping doom metal.
As of 2017, Paradise Lost sign to Nuclear Blast and “Medusa” comes out. “Medusa” includes some few differences, when it comes to the original Paradise Lost albums once again. It’s not a lie that they love to experiment and maybe “test”, their fandom. The heaviest album Paradise Lost take pride in their discography for.
It’s not a secret that Paradise Lost and the Hellenic audiences share some strong bonds. Each time the British veterans arrive in our country, madness reigns. Santa this year arrives earlier, since we have the chance to witness another Paradise Lost show, as a support for the Medusa album, on December 22nd in Athens, Piraeus Academy.
More info, here: