Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Release Date Friday 15th May 2020
Albums will be ready to collect / Dispatched on this date
CD Album £11.99
Digipac CD Album £14.99
Standard LP £19.99
Limited Edition Blue Vinyl LP £23.99
Limited Edition Boxset £44.99
CD Track Listing: 1.Darker Thoughts (5:46)/2.Fall From Grace (5:42)/3.Ghosts (4:35)/4.The Devil Embraced (6:08)/5.Forsaken (4:30)/6.Serenity (4:46)/7.Ending Days (4:36)/8.Hope Dies Young (4:02)/9.Ravenghast (5:30)
Digipack CD Track Listing: 1.Darker Thoughts (5:46)/2.Fall From Grace (5:42)/3.Ghosts (4:35)/4.The Devil Embraced (6:08)/5.Forsaken (4:30)/6.Serenity (4:46)/7.Ending Days (4:36)/8.Hope Dies Young (4:02)/9.Ravenghast (5:30)/10.Hear The Night (bonus track) (5:34)/11.Defiler (bonus track) (4:45)
Obsidian… dark, reflective and black: it’s a pretty decent description of the music that Paradise Lost have been making over the last 32 years, even though this most resilient of British metal bands have stoically refused to be pinned down to one easily defined formula. Powered by a lust for creativity and a stout devotion to haunting heaviness, Paradise Lost have defied the odds by coming back stronger than ever over the past decade.
Formed in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1988, Paradise Lost were unlikely candidates for metal glory when they slithered from the shadows and infiltrated the UK underground. But not content with spawning an entire subgenre with early death/doom masterpiece Gothic nor with conquering the metal mainstream with the balls-out power of 1995’s Draconian Times, they have subsequently traversed multiple genre boundaries with skill and grace, evolving through the pitch-black alt-rock mastery of ‘90s classics One Second and Host to the muscular but ornate grandeur of 2009’s Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us and Tragic Idol (2012), with the nonchalant finesse of grand masters. The band’s last two albums – The Plague Within (2015) and Medusa (2017) – saw a much celebrated return to brutal, old school thinking, via two crushing
monoliths to slow-motion death and spiritual defeat. Consistently hailed as one of metal’s most charismatic live bands, Paradise Lost arrive in this new decade as veterans, legends and revered figureheads for several generations of gloomy metalheads. In keeping with their unerring refusal to deliver the expected, 2020 brings one of the band’s most diverse and devastating creations to date.
The sixteenth Paradise Lost studio album, Obsidian eschews its immediate predecessors’ gruesome, myopic approach in favour of a richer and more dynamic deluge of black shades. From the deceptive elegance and dual atmospheres of opener Darker Thoughts through to the crushing, baroque doom of war-torn closer Ravenghast, Obsidian reveals a band in masterful control of a broad array of vital ideas. Most noticeably, the record boasts several songs that draw heavily from the much-loved, Kohl-encrusted days of ‘80s gothic rock: in particular, newly-minted PL anthems Ghosts is a guaranteed dancefloor-filler at any discerning goth nightclub.
Produced by the band themselves, with the assistance of noted studio guru Jamie ‘Gomez’ Arellano, Obsidian is another compelling showcase for Paradise Lost’s ever-blazing passion for forging ahead. Fans of the last two albums’ back-to-basics ferocity will be well served by the menacing, scabrous likes of The Devil Embraced and Serenity, while those of a more gothic persuasion will be instantly mesmerised by Ghosts, icy anti-ballad Forsaken and the gloriously morose Ending Days. In between those extremes, Paradise Lost continue to warp the edges of their long established musical identity, resulting in some of the boldest and most adventurous songs of their career to date. Nobly upholding his band’s mystique, Holmes remains reluctant to unpick the details of his lyrics, but Obsidian is clearly an album with a lot on its troubled mind.
Fans of Paradise Lost’s crushing doom phase have no reason to fear Obsidian’s diverse approach. Providing thrilling contrast with the snappy, pulsing grooves of Ghosts and its gothic counterparts, album closer Ravenghast plainly ranks as one of the darkest and heaviest things the band have ever recorded.
Blessed with some of his band’s strongest material yet, Nick Holmes has conjured an absorbing array of lyrical conceits and mysterious proclamations for Obsidian. As far as Greg Mackintosh is concerned, retaining that air of mystery is a fundamental part of Paradise Lost’s identity.
As they march through their fourth decade as a band, Paradise Lost have never sounded more potent or unified in their determination to bring the darkness to life. Obsidian is yet another glowering career peak, not just matching the imperious form of The Plague Within and Medusa, but artfully outstripping it with greater depth, colour and emotional power. While many bands of their vintage have embraced the nostalgia business, Paradise Lost remain a vibrant, vital and endlessly classy force for creative metallic good. 2020 will see the band hit the festival circuit with a vengeance, before touring Obsidian in earnest next year. Like the man said, this is a good time to be in Paradise Lost.