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Paradise Lost

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This was originally posted in another thread on this forum, but I thought it was a travesty that the inventors of gothic metal did not have their own thread. Hopefully some PL fans can come here and talk about what they like and don't like about one of the greatest bands in the world. 

Here's my list of their studio albums from least favourite to best favourite, as well as a brief outline of my thoughts. Please feel free to contribute etc. 

 

15. Believe in Nothing (2001)

This album is terrible. Flat, thin, rock that is presumably a response to the lack of mainstream success 'Host' was supposed to have but never did. From the bees on the cover to the emotionless musical pap throughout, this is what a great band sounds like when they no longer care. The first song is pretty good though. 

14. Symbol of Life (2002)

This is ok, and the band is clearly trying to get a bit of weight back into their sound after the previous two albums - see below - although they still sound a bit lost in the woods. The first two tracks are cool enough but there's not a lot bringing me back to repeated listenings, except for maybe 'No Celebration' which is a great New Years Eve song. 

13. Host (1999)

The electronic album. Everyone hated this at the time - I certainly did - but I have to say it's grown on me and I can appreciate it a lot more now. The songs are structured like regular PL tracks but all the beeps and squeaks (and haircuts!) are a bridge too far. I'll put this on sometimes and tell myself it's ok. 

12. Medusa (2017)

This is still fresh from the factory, but I have to say that I'm a bit empty after listening to this. The sludgy guitar tone is very sludgy, the riffs feel a bit bland and I don't get much of a chill or thrill from any of it. It feels more like a grindy sort of Cathedral album along the lines of 'The Last Spire'. Some of this is cool though, like the title track and the opening and closing songs. Overall though, it's not hitting me like these albums usually do. Maybe it will grow in time? The deliberately retro album cover is also a bit underwhelming. EDIT: This album has grown worse, not better, with time. 

11. One Second (1997)

This is the album that is personally responsible for the wimping out of Amorphis, Moonspell, My Dying Bride, Theatre of Tragedy and any number of bands who now wanted electronic elements in their sounds and to make 'rock' songs. 'One Second' is a cool album for sure and a huge shift for the gothic metal genre. When this came out after DT my friends and I were into it, but it was something of a disappointment. Mercifully, most of the bands listed here have returned to making quality metal again so all is forgiven. It just goes to show how influential Paradise Lost are. They started the genre then changed it and everyone followed them. Don't believe me, check out the dates of these bands' experimental phases. I'm sure you could probably name more bands who also went down this path at the time. 

10. Lost Paradise (1990)

The death metal album that started it all. Not sure how much I truly love this or if it's simply because it's a PL album, but there's a lot of feeling for this admittedly rough collection of 'songs'. 

9. Tragic Idol (2012)

This is a very good album but sounds quite similar to the two albums above, and although there are obvious differences I thought at the time, and still do, that they needed to change it up a little. It's good but doesn't really have much in the way of classics as far as songs are concerned. Beautiful box set artwork. 

8. The Plague Within (2015)

A very good album so late in their career. All the band's trademarks are here with possibly my favourite track of theirs 'Beneath Broken Earth' which gives me chills every time I hear it. There's a sense of darkness and rawness here. Great use of minor orchestration to give the rough songs texture. I have cooled on this a little bit since it first came out, but I still really like it.

7. In Requiem (2007)

The return to metal! When this came out I was blown away and so overjoyed that they were playing this style again. The songwriting is top notch too. They're totally inspired and you can tell.

6. Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us (2009)

Title track is a genre masterpiece and the rest of the songs are emotive and atmospheric. 'Last Regret' is also so emotional and wonderful. This is the best of their recent return to heaviness.

5. Paradise Lost, otherwise known as X (2005)

A beautifully polished album that sits between their heavier material and the more melodic. An amazing production and just great songs. If I'm feeling in between, then this is perfect. 

4. Shades of God (1992)

Really an in-between album but a full blown classic nonetheless. The songwriting here is brilliant and of course 'As I Die' could well be their greatest song. Production is a touch underdone but that is part of its charm. 

3. Gothic (1991)

The album that created a genre. For 1991 no one was doing this, with a touch of female vocals and a truly gothic atmosphere through a bit of synth. It sounds a little rough by today's standards but the songs are brilliant and there's something really special about the moment in time when this was created. O brave new world that has such albums in it. 

2. Icon (1993)

A little more robust in sound than DT, this is the first truly polished gothic metal album from the band. A little more metal. They've finally nailed it after shifting (creating!) genres. For 1993 this is so far ahead of its time. 'Embers Fire' is another song for the ages and should be played at everyone's funerals. 

1. Draconian Times (1995)

The gothic metal masterpiece. Perfect production - the drums! - and a beautiful vibe throughout. Songs like 'Enchantment' and 'The Last Time' will remain anthems until the end of time. I got this when I was 15 the year it came out, so it's really shaped me. This is what happens when an inspired band touches something really special in the studio and create a sound that could never really be repeated. I get chills every time I hear those opening piano notes...

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While most people are happy to attribute Paradise Lost's 'Gothic' album as the archetypal gothic metal release, spawning dozens of bands and giving a direction to bands like label-mates My Dying Bride and Anathema, as well as Katatonia (who claim 'Gothic' as a huge influence), I want to talk briefly about their later influence. 

In the Moonspell thread I was discussing the degree to which Paradise Lost's 1997 album 'One Second' influenced bands in the gothic metal genre to mellow their own sounds and introduce electronic elements. 

Firstly, I'll admit that metal in general was making movements towards a more commercial sound in the late 90s, with many bands in a number of genres shifting their sound to a more commercially acceptable sound (whatever that might mean). 

Now, in the gothic metal/doom genre the leading bands in 1996 included (amongst others): Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Theatre of Tragedy, Moonspell, Sentenced, Tiamat and maybe Katatonia (although they hadn't really got the kudos they would eventually receive for 'Brave Murder Day' as contemporary audiences didn't initially know what to make of it). 

My argument is that when Paradise Lost made the shift into music that contained electronic elements and more straight ahead rock structures, many of the bands who shared significance in this genre followed them. I'm not claiming that they copied necessarily, but I am claiming that they at least got new ideas for their own music, and perhaps some confidence to follow through with their own personal ambitions to experiment. 

Here are some albums whose directions I would argue were influenced in some way by 'One Second' in 1997:

Moonspell's 'Sin/Pecado' (1998), Theatre of Tragedy's 'Musique' (2000), My Dying Bride's '34.788%...Complete' (1998), Amorphis's 'Tuonela' (1998). 

Look at the examples below of some of these bands going electronic - something impossible to imagine in 1996, yet by 1998, after 'One Second', they were nearly all doing it. 

Here is the song 'Mercy' by Paradise Lost from 1997 to show you the precedent:

Quote

 

 

Here are some examples of songs that would have been unthinkable in 1996 from these bands: 

Moonspell's 'Erotica' from 1998:

Quote

 

My Dying Bride's 'Heroin Chic' from 1998: 

 

 

and Theatre of Tragedy's 'Image' from 2000: 

Quote

 

 

I really like all these songs, and this isn't a complaint, but I want to celebrate Paradise Lost's significance in metal and their enduring influence on us all. Hail. 

 

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One of my favourite bands of all time, i even have the old logo tattooed on my arm. :D 

I really didn´t think that In requiem, Faith divides us.. and Tragic idol were good albums.. for some reason just couldn´t get into them. Then Plague within came out and loved it from the first playthrough. Albums i have listened most through years must be Dragonian times, Icon, Lost paradise, Shades of god, Paradise Lost, Gothic and Host. I certainly wouldn´t have wanted to see the band live around the Host era, but i absolutely love that album too. The great thing about the diversity of the band is that when my ex-wife is really not big on metal, she loves some of the PL albums so much that we had a mutual band to enjoy.. eventually she really enjoyed ie. dragonian times album too. So the softer PL albums could be treated as a gateway drug to metal!  

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18 hours ago, GrayscaleDawn said:

One of my favourite bands of all time, i even have the old logo tattooed on my arm. :D 

I really didn´t think that In requiem, Faith divides us.. and Tragic idol were good albums.. for some reason just couldn´t get into them. Then Plague within came out and loved it from the first playthrough. Albums i have listened most through years must be Dragonian times, Icon, Lost paradise, Shades of god, Paradise Lost, Gothic and Host. I certainly wouldn´t have wanted to see the band live around the Host era, but i absolutely love that album too. The great thing about the diversity of the band is that when my ex-wife is really not big on metal, she loves some of the PL albums so much that we had a mutual band to enjoy.. eventually she really enjoyed ie. dragonian times album too. So the softer PL albums could be treated as a gateway drug to metal!  

Awesome stuff! I think we share a taste for quality music ;)

It's funny, Paradise Lost became so huge through 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times', eventually signing with EMI and making 'Host' which flopped big time (as far as EMI's expectations go). As cool as 'Host' is in its own way - it just goes to show that you should be true to your nature more or less if you want to be successful in what you do. 

People didn't want electronic Paradise Lost (evidently), they wanted metal Paradise Lost (and Amorphis, and Moonspell and....)

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Yeah, bit too drastic change they made for Host. It must be really hard to deal with, when you have a desire to change your musical output (and you should do music first and foremost to yourself even if you are succesfull artist), but it will change the music entirely. It´s obvious they have the passion for metal, the later amazing albums would not have happened without it. I guess at the time. they propably should have given PL a bit of a break and do a sideproject with a completely different name. I must say though.. Host, Believe in nothing and Symbol of life are albums that surely have brought a lot of new people to like the band. Not sure how many old fans were lost in the process though. :D Noticed i have a habit, still after all these years to misspell "Draconian times".. old habits die hard. :D 

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I remember buying One Second and looking at the cover thinking somethings not quite right here....possibly my biggest musical disappointment ever was hearing the change from Draconian Times. I was shattered. I don't mind it nowadays but rarely spin it. I totally avoid Host & Believe In Nothing and save for No Celebration' and 'Self-Obsessed' I don't play Symbol of Life either. Funnily enough, I quite like the cover of Small Town Boy as the last track....

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It's funny how certain albums sometimes become your favourite as much for the time & place they represent as anything else. Icon for me is untouchable, the gold standard Paradise Lost. And it's also such a fantastic sentimental listen - my best mate and I discovered it at a metal shop here in Melbourne - and played it every Saturday night while we played billiards at his house before we went out. We must have played it 1000 times, over and over. When we bought it the guy at the counter had it and Shades of God and it was a toss-up which we'd buy. We went with Icon and the rest is history. This and Carcass' Heartwork were the sound tracks to our 90s. Such awesome times.

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2 hours ago, True Belief said:

It's funny how certain albums sometimes become your favourite as much for the time & place they represent as anything else. Icon for me is untouchable, the gold standard Paradise Lost. And it's also such a fantastic sentimental listen - my best mate and I discovered it at a metal shop here in Melbourne - and played it every Saturday night while we played billiards at his house before we went out. We must have played it 1000 times, over and over. When we bought it the guy at the counter had it and Shades of God and it was a toss-up which we'd buy. We went with Icon and the rest is history. This and Carcass' Heartwork were the sound tracks to our 90s. Such awesome times.

Great story. Here's one back at you. 

In 1997 when my best friend and I had our last day of high school we kept sneaking off to the back of this supermarket where we worked on weekends. Our boss had his delivery van back there and would buy us alcohol when we wanted it. Inside his van was this tape deck with mix tapes that we had made for him, I think because he really liked us and wanted to feel young again. 

Anyway, one of these tapes was a gothic/doom line-up, and it had 'Embers Fire', 'Enchantment' and 'The Last Time' on it. We drank bottles of Wild Turkey and cola and listened to this tape in the back of his van, then went up to school, flirted with girls, then headed back down to the van for more Wild Turkey and PL. It also had 'The Cry of Mankind' and 'From Darkest Skies' on it from My Dying Bride. 

No money, no internet. Man, it was just insane. One of the best days of my life.

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Love it.

For some reason I'm picturing you guys working at Piedemontes in Nth Fitzroy. But I'm sure Fitzroy High had closed by then and there's no other schools round there. Lol.

I remember seeing PL when they came out I think on the Draconian Times tour (Cathedral opened). It was damn Transvestite night downstairs where my friend and I were drinking....so there we are, two long haired private school boys with no fricken idea what's going on. Lol, we still joke about it. Took us 20 minutes and countless 'comments' for us to realise we were in the 'wrong bar'...

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2 minutes ago, True Belief said:

For some reason I'm picturing you guys working at Piedemontes in Nth Fitzroy. But I'm sure Fitzroy High had closed by then and there's no other schools round there. Lol.

I remember seeing PL when they came out I think on the Draconian Times tour (Cathedral opened). It was damn Transvestite night downstairs where my friend and I were drinking....so there we are, two long haired private school boys with no fricken idea what's going on. Lol, we still joke about it. Took us 20 minutes and countless 'comments' for us to realise we were in the 'wrong bar'...

Transvestite night. Incredible hahahaha. 

Also, I admire your confidence in guessing one high school out of about 570 in Victoria that I could have gone to. And you're..... wrong. 

What sort of private school allows long-haired boys? Standards are jolly well slipping! 

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2 minutes ago, True Belief said: For some reason I'm picturing you guys working at Piedemontes in Nth Fitzroy. But I'm sure Fitzroy High had closed by then and there's no other schools round there. Lol.

I remember seeing PL when they came out I think on the Draconian Times tour (Cathedral opened). It was damn Transvestite night downstairs where my friend and I were drinking....so there we are, two long haired private school boys with no fricken idea what's going on. Lol, we still joke about it. Took us 20 minutes and countless 'comments' for us to realise we were in the 'wrong bar'...

Transvestite night. Incredible hahahaha. 

Also, I admire your confidence in guessing one high school out of about 570 in Victoria that I could have gone to. And you're..... wrong. 

What sort of private school allows long-haired boys? Standards are jolly well slipping! 

Na we'd been out of school a few years by then. Hair down our backs. Was at The Prince in St Kilda.

My mind just gravitated to Piedemontes coz that's where we lived for ages and it had this delivery lane out the back and a bottle shop blah blah blah. I'm not stalking ya.

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I've got a lot of live Paradise Lost DVDs, and they're great and everything, but as much as I love them I've never really seen them as a life changing live act. 

The symphony release from last year (year before last?) is also just ok. I'm sure it would have been amazing to be there but when it's mixed into disk it doesn't really sound as epic as I expected. They make a lot of mistakes for a live band that has been playing some of these songs for decades. 

I'm thankful that a career band like PL has put out so many great DVDs. I'll have to post a photo of my PL collection at some stage. 

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Let's talk about the gorgon in the room: their new album 'Medusa'.

I think the band suggested prior to its release that it was going to be along the lines of 'Gothic' and 'Shades of God', but it sort of turns out to be a mix between the more boring parts of Cathedral's 'The Last Spire' and... a fairly bland Paradise Lost album? 

I think it's going to take a few more listens, but I've played the digibook edition through about three times now at least, and the album is a bit perplexing. The production is deliberately dirty, and the guitars have this grind to them in the same way that Greg Mackintosh's Vallenfyre project does. It feels sludgy just for sludgy's sake rather than naturally organic. It feels like they worked hard on fabricating a sludgy sound. The riffs are otherwise pretty flat and unexciting, and I can't say I feel much excitement by anything really on the album. Even the snare drum has this empty, low, bong to it. 

The title track is pretty cool, and the first track 'Frearless Sky' is pretty cool. I don't know, as a lifelong Paradise Lost fan I have to say that this album has brought the most 'meh' reaction from me of all of them. I notice that Greg is doing that 'emergency vehicle melody' (you know, the nee-nah nee-nah nee-nah thing) quite a bit now across the albums, and I wouldn't mind hearing a different approach. 

Some people are going to love this album, no doubt, but for me some of the chill of the band is missing. I don't mind a sludgy guitar tone if the riffs are killer. I'm not sure that's what we've got though. 

Any thoughts? 

p.s I'm going to edit my ratings in the first post to include it. 

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3 hours ago, deathstorm said:

I may get medusa   I heard they around 30 something years wow  

Yeah, that's right. I went to their 20th anniversary show in London in 2008 when they played with Anathema and My Dying Bride, which was amazing of course, but it's hard to believe that it was nearly ten years ago. Time flies. 

Just for the record, True Belief generally feels the same as me about 'Medusa'. I'd be interested to hear what others feel. 

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9 hours ago, Requiem said:

Yeah, that's right. I went to their 20th anniversary show in London in 2008 when they played with Anathema and My Dying Bride, which was amazing of course, but it's hard to believe that it was nearly ten years ago. Time flies. 

Just for the record, True Belief generally feels the same as me about 'Medusa'. I'd be interested to hear what others feel. 

I'm going to pick up the digipak cause it contains a DVD from what I've heard  hey req I forgot  check out cellar darling it contains the three former members of eluveitie Anna ivo and Merlin 

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7 hours ago, deathstorm said:

I'm going to pick up the digipak cause it contains a DVD from what I've heard  hey req I forgot  check out cellar darling it contains the three former members of eluveitie Anna ivo and Merlin 

I checked them out already, Deathy. I really like the track 'Avalanche', but the other two singles didn't really rock my world. I'll definitely try them out again because I love Anna Murphy with a passion. 'Avalanche' is a fun little song though.

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5 hours ago, Requiem said:

I checked them out already, Deathy. I really like the track 'Avalanche', but the other two singles didn't really rock my world. I'll definitely try them out again because I love Anna Murphy with a passion. 'Avalanche' is a fun little song though.

Oh ok I didn’t know that you  did check them out I like avalanche  I will pick that up as well 

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I’ve had this album for a while now and it’s a bit of a ‘miss’ from me. I enjoy the return to the heavier sound and ol’ Nick’s vocals are spot on here... but there is nothing memorable about the album. I’ve listened through twice and not reached for it since. The overall sound just doesn’t work for me I’m afraid. No hooks, no riffs...just a big ‘meh’.

And for the record this has not one single resemblance to Shades of God. It’s closer to Lost Paradise or even Paradise Lost with a shittier sound. Sometimes heavier is not always better.

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I have the same thing with the latest.. just not a great album. There isn´t even a hint that it might grow on me either. Feels sort of.. forced. I suppose it´s telling that the best track of the album is Frozen illusion included in the japanese version (I still prefer the original version though..). :D 

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On 18/10/2017 at 9:26 AM, GrayscaleDawn said:

I have the same thing with the latest.. just not a great album. There isn´t even a hint that it might grow on me either. Feels sort of.. forced. I suppose it´s telling that the best track of the album is Frozen illusion included in the japanese version (I still prefer the original version though..). :D 

My version doesn't have 'Frozen Illusion' so I have even less reason to go back to this album. I was listening to it again just now and I really wasn't feeling great about it. I had to turn it off after about the 30 minute mark as I just couldn't take it anymore. It's not terrible, it's just so... nothing. Really basic boring riffs with some extra distortion over them. It doesn't feel authentic at all, it feels manufactured.  

I then went and listened to 'Host' again because I hadn't heard that in probably a good year or so. Gosh that's a bad album hahaha. I think I had it in my head that it's actually pretty good, but no, when you literally sit there and listen to it, it's a travesty. Maybe after a drink or two it's alright but I'm stone cold sober right now. 

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2 hours ago, GrayscaleDawn said:

I suppose it´s a rather large failure when even the biggest fans of the band don´t like it at all, and it´s not even a pop album this time! :( Not a huge worry though, plenty of amazing back catalogue to enjoy!:) 

I've read a few 8/10 online reviews though, and have seen some people bewilderingly praise it. But I can't help but get the feeling that more casual fans/reviewers feel they need to say this as Paradise Lost are such an institution that people think they need to carry the party line and praise everything they do. 

I know there's no such thing as objectivity in musical tastes (the existence of my tastes proves this hahahaha), but surely your gothic/doom metal fan of average intelligence can tell that 'Medusa' isn't a particularly happening album. I mean, surely!! 

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    • Sorry deathstorm, I don’t like it.

      It took me a while to come round to Amaranthe. I first heard them when they were announced for the roster of ProgPower XIII and thought they sounded too poppy, sage musical critic that I was. I did entertain the idea that that was the entire point, but dismissed them as being too technically lacking in any case. Their second album, The Nexus, featuring the least inventive album art I’d seen in a while, was a marked improvement, with its title track nearly a total ripoff of the leading single from their self-titled debut but a demonstrably better take. Everything was more or less the same, just done right. The riffs were on point, there were a higher proportion of peppy bubblegum tracks that sounded like Cascada doing djent (or just a slightly less sugary Blood Stain Child) – it was their best album. They followed this up with Massive Addictive, a somewhat weaker but nonetheless slightly different album with a couple tracks that sounded like they could have been composed by MrWeebl. As far as third albums went, it wasn’t bad – and the slow songs were actually all rights, even on the acoustic versions. It was also a little closer to regular melodeath. That brings us to Maximalism.

      In principle, the concept behind this album is fine. Amaranthe always imitated pop, so why not imitate current pop? It could inject some life into this worthless moribund slurry of pink noise that the post-Trump miasma has been nice enough to slowly excrete over this most recent tax period. I mean, the only way this would could fail is if modern pop were so limp-wristed and ineffectual that even the nuclear cocaine infusion of metal failed to resuscitate its bloated heart.

      Whoops.

      It’s fascinating how one can avoid actually discussing the album for so long here just because of the hilarious incidental commentary. All of the songs here a poppy in an obligatory sense, rather like the current generation of pop. I remember hating Ke$ha back in 2012 when she was big, but hearing “Tik Tok” after a bleak slog through a bunch of mopey nonsensical dogshit and limp-wristed soggy whining is a godsend. At best, Maximalism is a poor man’s version of their previous output, and at worst it’s an imitation of modern pop in the sense that you don’t remember anything about it other than that it sucked. Anyway, what about the actual songs?
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