Paradise Lost really have mutated to survive over the years. With their debut Lost Paradise, they had a sound inspired by Autopsy, Celtic Frost and Black Sabbath, yet even there their own identity shone through. It was dark, and that would be the way for Paradise Lost to this day (a great name, all the great band names had yet to be taken in those days). Follow up album Gothic was truly light years forward, and with tracks like “Eternal” (still one of the greatest metal tracks), a hugely influential album.
A move from the iconic Peaceville Records to Music For Nations brought a more mainstream direction. Shades of God was the beginning of a trilogy of albums that could have put Paradise Lost up there with Metallica (an influence that could be heard strongly on the next two albums, Icon and Draconian Times). All three MFN albums are stone cold metal classics; Paradise Lost are one of Britain’s truly great metal bands.
Then Paradise Lost released One Second. It had superb songs, it had the gloom and darkness, but it had a stark black and white cover of an elderly lady, her withered and lined features perfectly complementing the music within. It was more commercial and less metal, but certainly true to their inner muse. Always a brave band. Also, the band now sported shorter haircuts – a cardinal sin in those days, hard as it is to believe now. (Though maybe not; in 2018 what you look like, rather than what you are, seems more important than ever.)
The next album was Host, and really, Paradise Lost committed commercial suicide here, as it sounds more like Depeche Mode than Metallica. Metal fans are ultra-conservative and they want their heroes to never grow older, never change, a futile hope for us all, but there you have it.
I have to say, the songs are strong, and I admire Paradise Lost’s courage and sincerity, and they are still going strong now (album of the year in the mighty Decibel for last year’s Medusa). Overall, Host is an album time has been kind to (kinder than the ‘fans’ were at the time) and one worth reassessing.
(Nuclear Blast Records)
PARADISE LOST tour dates:
15.02. UK Colchester – Arts Centre
16.02. UK Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms
17.02. UK Bristol – Thekla
18.02. UK Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
20.02. UK Belfast – Limelight 2
21.02. IRL Dublin – Tivoli
22.02. UK Glasgow – Classic Grand
23.02. UK Manchester – Gorilla
01.04. D Munich – Dark Easter Metal Meeting
04.04. BG Sofia – 12 Years of Tangra Mega Rock
04-07.07. D Ballenstedt – Rockharz Open Air
11-14.07. E Vivero – Resurrection Fest
20/21.07. FIN Laukaa – John Smith Rock Festival
08-11.08. CZ Jaromer – Brutal Assault
10/11.08. NL Leeuwarden – Into the Grave
15.08. D Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze