PARADISE LOST — Obsidian

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PARADISE LOST - Obsidian cover
4.67 | 12 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2020

Tracklist

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)

Total Time 45:35

Bonus tracks:

10. Hear the Night (5:34)
11. Defiler (4:45)

Line-up/Musicians

- Nick Holmes / Vocals
- Waltteri Väyrynen / Drums
- Stephen Edmondson / Bass
- Gregor Mackintosh / Guitars, Keyboards
- Aaron Aedy / Guitars

Guest musicians:
- Heather Mackintosh / Backing Vocals (track 8)
- Alicia Nurho / Violin (tracks 1, 7)

About this release

Release date: May 15th, 2020
Formats: CD, 12" Vinyl, Digital
Label: Nuclear Blast

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and tupan for the updates

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PARADISE LOST OBSIDIAN reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Obsidian" is the 16th full-length studio album by UK doom/gothic metal act Paradise Lost. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in May 2020. It´s the successor to "Medusa" from 2017. Paradise Lost formed way back in the late 80s and initially played death/doom metal with some pretty brutal growling vocals by Nick Holmes. They soon incorporated gothic rock influences and later electronic music influences and pretty early on started performing clean vocals instead of growls. The growling vocals returned with their 14th full-length studio album "The Plague Within" from 2015, although they didn´t dominate the vocal part of the band´s sound, as Holmes still performed many clean vocal parts on that album. "Medusa (2017)" had a few more growling vocal parts, but stil maintained a good balance with clean vocal sections...

...and that trend is continued on "Obsidian", which is an album featuring a good balance between growling vocal parts and clean vocal sections. Often to great effect while switching between the two vocal styles during songs. Stylistically "Obsidian" can be described as drawing influences from a lot of the most successful releases in the band´s catalogue and as a result, it´s one of the most varied albums Paradise Lost have released. There´s crushingly heavy death/doom, doom metal with soaring lead guitar melodies, goth rock/metal, and a generally dark and heavy atmosphere. But most important of all the songwriting is spot on. There are several well written and memorable tracks on the album and the variation between the tracks on the album is also a contributing factor to a great tracklist flow. It´s a feature which is often underrated, but a good tracklist flow is always one of the key elements of a good album.

"Obsidian" features a dark, heavy, and detailed sounding production, which suits the material perfectly, and it´s yet another contributing high quality feature, which make "Obsidian" the great album it is. Strong and memorable songwriting, high level musical performances from all involved, and a well sounding production job, and upon conclusion there really isn´t much to complain about here. Paradise Lost seem to have found an almost perfect balance between their different styles and sounds on "Obsidian" and the end result is one of their strongest releases to date. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
Kev Rowland
The band may have had a few issues with drummers over the years (who said Spinal Tap?), but the rest have been along for the ride for some 32 years, which is almost unparalleled in heavy music. Godfathers of death/doom, they have also mixed it up with Gothic over the years, combining the forms quite unlike any other. The band have rarely been content to follow an album with another which is identical and that is very much the case here, as in many ways they have looked over their whole career and brought it all together in one place. Nick Holmes is mixing it up in terms of his vocals, sometimes singing emotionally and others going deep into growls while musically this is doom and gothic combining together. Here is a band full of confidence: they have nothing to prove and owe nothing to anyone apart from themselves.

In many ways this is a cleaner album than ‘Medusa’, more emotional, as the band again show they keep moving on, while also keeping true to their roots. One knows with this band that they are always going to release something heavy, packed with emotion, and towards the slower end of the speed scale, but apart from that one is never sure what one is going to get. Here we have slab like riffs combining with wonderful vocals and great hooks to create something which is multi-layered and builds a strong picture of a very dark band indeed. When Nick Holmes was asked about Paradise Lost, he said, “This is what we love doing and we’re all really happy with the new album… even if it doesn’t sound like it (laughs).” All Paradise Lost fans should be happy with this as well. I loved ‘Medusa’ and they are back with something which is twisting a different way in the darkness, and I love this one too.
poslednijat_colobar
Paradise Lost has always been a band that crucially changes the style of music they are composing, as well as being noted as godfathers for half of the genres they are playing in. We can responsibly announce that the production of such a great album could have been expected due to the good shape of the band in the recent years. This time it is even better. Obsidian is a one of a kind. The mixture of gothic, doom and death metal is harmonically and balancedly executed. The proportion of clear and death vocals are very well estimated. The guitar solos are great, the melodies are memorable, fresh and alive. The rhythm section is catchy. The proportion of harder and softer songs is mesmerizing. When you listen to the album for only a second time you have the feeling of a classic album. One of their best and probably the most balanced and musically well-executed record. Highly recommended!
adg211288
The UK's Paradise Lost is a band that is no stranger to change. One might argue they've made their career on it. They went from humble death-doom metal beginnings to gothic metal superstars across their first five albums. Next they descended into gothic rock and electronic territory for One Second (1997) and Host (1999) respectively. Even when metalling it up again with Believe in Nothing (2001), they were now influenced by genres like alternative metal and industrial metal. Then Paradise Lost started to come full circle, shedding these elements by the time of In Requiem (2007), which saw them back in the frame of doomy gothic metal. Then the doom metal started coming to the fore all the more. Then back came the growling vocals of their early days for the first time in years for The Plague Within (2015) and then finally with Medusa (2017), Paradise Lost released their first death-doom metal album since 1991's Gothic. So what could Obsidian (2020), their sixteenth studio album, possibly be?

The answer is an album that could easily be described as a summary of everything that has made Paradise Lost the special band that they are. The most gothic metal they've been since Tragic Idol (2012), yet Obsidian doesn't again retire Nick Holmes' growling vocals with it, instead leaving us with something that may be what classic albums like Icon (1993) and fan favourite Draconian Times (1995) might have sounded like if Nick had never stopped growling in the first place. That alone makes Obsidian another rather unique entry in the Paradise Lost discography. There are certainly also some nods to their more gothic rock based material.

While it's true that some may be disappointed that the return to death-doom metal has already been largely moved on from – the most Medusa-like track featured here is the closing Ravenghast and fans of that album are recommended to get a version of the album with the bonus tracks for more similar material – I find myself impressed by the ability of Paradise Lost to not make direct copies of their previous album's sound very often. Even when two consecutive albums like Icon and Draconian Times are similar in style, it's always just the two albums before the band is changing things up with their influences again and there's very few artists that's true of. And with Obsidian they prove they can still surprise – a band that thirty years on from their debut, remains just as relevant and never derivative of themselves.

The song selection is also strong, not that this is an area that Paradise Lost usually has any trouble with. They've long proven their knack for making the individual track standout from the rest of the album. And once again, they've managed to make a release I know I'll be listening to many times over and will go down as a favourite for 2020.

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