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PARADISE LOST – Career in 15 Songs

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Written by Jadranka Balaš

A career of a band like PARADISE LOST cannot be described with a few verses and notes, but if I tried to present it I would stay without buttons on the keyboard, at least to those who write the word “legend”. 29 years of career, 15 studio albums, several EPs and live albums and over 100 original songs, numbers that speak a lot but not enough. The release of the new album is just one of the reasons why we should remind ourselves of some of the biggest hits of this cult band.

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01“Our Saviour” – “Lost Paradise” (1990)

As one of the first bands to begin to play the slower, darker version of death metal, later labelled as death-doom, with debut album Paradise Lost was just playing around (or warmed up) with this “weird” music and almost failed at it at that time. This album certainly helped them to create the basics of not only their music, but also the base of fans, and “Our Saviour” perfectly describes where they were then musically.
 

02. “Gothic” – “Gothic” (1991)

After the hint they gave on the first, the second album gives a lot more insight how talented these guys actually are. Music is still a slow death metal but packed in a much more intelligent way. The enhanced atmosphere and melodic parts made this record much more accessible. Two songs have strong potential, “The Painless” and title track. Both bring almost the same amount of beautiful and melodic in contrast to the dark and heavy. The first real step of the band towards the bright future.

03. “As I Die” – “Shades Of God” (1992)

“Shades Of God” continued to build on the foundations of “Gothic” album. A combination of dark melodies, haunting clean and phenomenal growl vocals that are somewhat different from the usual death growls that became Holmes‘s mark. This record gets much more credit when you look at it from another perspective and compare it with the entire discography of the band. The true masterpiece of inspiration and emotion is certainly the track “As I Die”.

04. “Embers Fire” – “Icon” (1993)

Although goth elements existed in the earlier work of the band, with the album “Icon” they were labeled as gothic band. They were not satisfied with just one style, from the doom/death roots this time they went one more step further. Clean singing is more and more present and the band settled on that ground. “Embers Fire” and “True Belief” are in the competition for the best song, but I give little advantage to first one.

05. “Hollowed Land” – “Draconian Times” (1995)

“Draconian Times” made an intersection, found itself right in the middle, the perfect blend of sound from their beginnings and melodic moments that spilled over the horizon, and it is not without reason one of the fan favorites. They matured both lyric and musical, so this album was marked as band’s classic. It’s incredibly hard to single out just one song. “Forever Failure” thematically deviates from the rest, a slightly faster than we are used to, “The Last Time” brings more rock elements, but “Hollowed Land” somehow became a symbol of the band and defined my vision of them and their sound.

06. “Say Just Words” – “One Second” (1997)

6th studio album brings a lots of of experiments. Keyboards took a central place and there are more clean vocals, which perfectly displays “Say Just Words” as one of the most recognizable songs on this release. In spite of all this drastic changes Paradise Lost have managed to lift music writing to a new, higher level and make this experiment successful.

07.“So Much Is Lost” – “Host” (1999)

This album moved away from metal and organic sound, and as the band later admitted, they were not quite sure in which direction they wanted to go. Nevertheless, if you have accepted the change you have found yourself eye to eye with music that is atmospheric and beautiful. One of the two presented singles, “So Much Is Lost” is a brave and in many ways an incredible song, although it is difficult to connect it with this band, it is difficult to replace it with someone else. Paradise Lost in a new edition.

08. “Mouth” – “Believe In Nothing” (2001)

This album is probably the weakest, “stain” in the band’s discography, if anything what they do can be characterized as bad. I am not an opponent of change, so I accepted this release as it is. The fans were not too pleased with it, the band complained about poor production, and Nick described it as a result of the use of strong antidepressants at the time of its creation. More rock-oriented and radio-friendly, which does not make it bad, it has almost everything but the “wow” moment we were used to. Singles “Mouth” and “Fader” showed where the band was at that moment, “World Pretending” is an indication of what Paradise Lost are capable.

09. “Erased” – “Symbol Of Life” (2002)

After a few lighter and softer albums, on “Symbol Of Life” band ones again embraced their heavier side, though not completely. The closest I could describe this album is that such a bang is created when gothic and industrial collide. I love both. Holmes demonstrated what he can do with his voice and returns after a long time to a bit rougher vocals. The songs are very catchy and “Erased” is the best among them.

10. “Forever After” – “Paradise Lost” (2005)

10th album is the first step towards the return of the band to the old path, with several flaws but enough bright moments. Atmospheric and very emotional, excluding the introduction, the self-titled album carries sparks of the well-known Paradise Lost sound that has not been present on some previous releases. “Forever After” is a very powerful single and the right choice for that role, and along with it massive “Gray” overtop the rest of the songs.
 

11. “The Enemy” – “In Requiem” (2007)

After several years and several albums, successful and unsuccessful experimentation, Paradise Lost are finally returning to their roots. Organic sound, more aggressive vocals, doom melodies and heavy riffs featured on “Draconian Times” and the darkness that “Shades Of God” carries are mixed in “In Requiem”. Although “The Enemy” was chosen as the leading single, this album offered several real pearls such as “Requiem”, “Never For The Damned”, “Your Own Reality” and “Beneath Black Skies”.

12. “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” – “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” (2009)

That the return to the beginning was not completed with “In Requiem” they showed us on the 12th album. Though these two albums have more similarities than differences, “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” still brings more heaviness and doom elements, while Nick has again turned to recognizable death growl vocals that he has not been using for more than a decade. Melancholy guitar riffs break into the foreground, which is most noticeable in the title song. 20 years of writing experience has led to a lot of surprises in the form of the song “Frailty”. Paradise Lost came back with style.

13. “Fear Of Impending Hell” – “Tragic Idol” (2012)

Number 13 was definitely not bad luck for this band. “Tragic Idol” went a step further from its predecessor with even more dirty riffs and fantastic solos, turning this record into one of the heaviest band ever made. The final step that distanced them from the influence of electronic sound led to the creation of more than a solid record, which some still resented for lack of homogeneity, diversity and excitement. A few tracks are more than worth the attention, “Fear Of Impending Hell”, “Honesty In Death”, “The Glorious End” and the title track.

14. “Beneath The Broken Earth” – “The Plaque Within” (2015)

I didn’t hide my enthusiasm with this album in a review so I will not even try it now. The combination of everything that Paradise Lost presented over the years, everything that made them what they are today, all went to this record, but in a modern way. Perhaps it will not enter in competition for the “classic” of the band, but it will definitely be one of my favourite records I will play always. “No Hope In Sight” as the first single may have led you to think that another “Draconian Times” is coming, although this album is closest to him, however, “Beneath The Broken Earth” brought something different. Doom and Paradise Lost sound at their finest.

15. “The Longest Winter” – “Medusa” (2017)

At the 15th studio album Paradise Lost are returning to the past and at the very beginning of their career. The darkest and probably the heaviest record the band has ever released. Reflection of maturity, experience and a real indicator of where they find themselves as people in serious years and as a band with more than a serious career. Beside fantastic title track, the single “The Longest Winter” is different from the rest of the record, a hint that we can expect much more from this band in the future.

 

About the author

Jadranka Balaš

Editor

Contact
jadranka@hardwiredmagazine.com

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