Legendary British goth-mongers Paradise Lost are back with album number fourteen. Holmes and co. have been been a constant leading light of our heavy music scene for approaching 30 years and ‘The Plague Within’ sees them continuing their genre shaping legacy even further.
You know what you are getting with Paradise Lost, and then on the other hand, you never quite know what you are getting with Paradise Lost…
Every new album from Paradise Lost is usually a bit different from the last one and ‘The Plague Within’ is no exception from that trend. Yet, Paradise Lost have an unmistakable trademark sound; from the melancholic funeral tinged guitar tones to Nick Holmes’ glorious all-encompassing vocals. ‘The Plague Within’ is a little more stripped back in places than ‘Tragic Idol’ yet is not quite as back to basics as early victories such as ‘Gothic’
This latest release is a swirling mix of previous styles with the odd twist in the tale too.
Things certainly start off in a familiar fashion with the classic Paradise Lost monotonous riff clearing the sonic ground like an aural bulldozer. The vocals from Holmes, as ever, create just as much of a macabre atmosphere as the dark soundtrack. The downcast tones of Paradise Lost may well be the most sobering of sounds but the power and majesty of the deliverance is simply breathtaking.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that there is nothing quite like Paradise Lost. Many have taken inspiration or even worse throughout the years but this Halifax lot are the original and the best.
Things get a little more guttural on ‘Terminal’ before the eclectic ‘An Eternity Of Lies’ really spices things up; lots of crying guitar lines from Greg and a real mix of styles and pace. ‘Punishment Through Time’ ups the bar again with the first real headbanger and you just start to think… this is a bit of a classic album in the making!
When ‘Beneath Broken Earth’ breaks out at less than snail pace it becomes clear that you have absolutely everything you need from a Paradise Lost album here. It just mixes everything we know and love about the band together and results in a greatest hits that you’ve never heard.
The album continues in this rich vein right up to the end. ‘Flesh From Bone’ gets a special mention from the second half as it mixes up some crawling doom with an almost thrash clatter at several points; one extreme to the other with utter ease and cohesion.
Paradise Lost have very little to prove these days. They’ve paved their own path of gold over the years and they could quite easily sit back and reap the rewards by cashing in on past glories (They could make themselves 10 years work simply touring the classic albums). Quite how after all this time they manage to still be on top of their game is baffling. Not many bands manage this sort of creative ability decades into their careers, but we are forever grateful that Paradise Lost can.
‘The Plague Within’ easily shoots up the charts as one of the best Paradise Lost album to date. Another classic in the catalogue…