PARADISE LOST — Obsidian (review)

PARADISE LOST — Obsidian album cover Album · 2020 · Gothic Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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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Tupan wrote:
34 days ago
Great album, even if Medusa is better. You can't go wrong with PL nowadays
34 days ago
I thought it was a slight step down from the last two at first but it's really growing on me the more I listen to it.
666sharon666 wrote:
35 days ago
Another excellent PL album, though I do prefer Medusa's death-doom sound.

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