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4.20 | 40 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1993


1. Embers Fire (4:44)
2. Remembrance (3:26)
3. Forging Sympathy (4:43)
4. Joys of the Emptiness (3:29)
5. Dying Freedom (3:43)
6. Widow (3:04)
7. Colossal Rains (4:35)
8. Weeping Words (3:50)
9. Poison (2:59)
10. True Belief (4:30)
11. Shallow Seasons (4:55)
12. Christendom (4:30)
13. Deus Misereatur (1:57)
14. Sweetness * (4:50)
15. Your Hand in Mine (live) * (6:40)

* bonus tracks

Total Time: 50:32 (62:02 w / bonus tracks)


- Nick Holmes / Vocals
- Gregor Mackintosh / Lead guitars
- Aaron Aedy / Rhythm and acoustic guitars
- Stephen Edmondson / Bass
- Matthew Archer / Drums

Guest Musicians:
- Denise Bernard / vocals
- Andrew Holdsworth / keyboards

About this release

Label: Music For Nations
Release Date: September 28, 1993

Published by Zomba Music.
Produced and Engineered by Simon Efemey.
Mixed by Simon Efemey and Pete "Pee Wee" Coleman.
Mix Engineer: Pete "Pee Wee" Coleman.
Assisted by Andrew Holdsworth.
Assistants: Paul Nixon and Sally Butler.
Recorded at Jacobs Studios, Surrey, June / July 1993.
Mastered by Geoff Pesche at Townhouse Studios.

Design and art direction by Stylorouge.
All photography by Matt Anker.

Music written by Gregor Mackintosh. Lyrics written by Nick Holmes.

Re-released by Metal Mind Productions in 2008 with 2 bonus tracks.

Thanks to Stooge, TheHeavyMetalCat, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Icon" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK doom/goth metal act Paradise Lost. The album was released through Music For Nations in September 1993. It´s the successor to "Shades of God" from 1992, and the last album to feature the original lineup, as drummer Matthew Archer was asked to leave after the tour supporting the album. The band didn´t feel Archer had grown as a musician with the same speed as the rest of the band, and they felt he held them back. "Icon" was Paradise Lost commercial breakthrough and it sold relatively many copies considering the music style, which may be a good deal less harsh than what the three predecessors offered, but still is relatively heavy and hard edged compared to more mainstream oriented metal releases.

Stylistically the music on "Icon" is doom metal with goth metal leanings. It´s predominantly slow- to mid-paced, but there are a couple of faster sections too (relatively faster that is...). Lead vocalist Nick Holmes had already begun changing his deep and commanding growling vocal style to a more shouting raw vocal style on "Shades of God (1992)", but on "Icon" he adds a more melodic twist to it, and generally sings less raw too. I´ve seen him describing his vocal style on "Icon" as "shouting in key" and I guess that´s not the worst way of describing it. He occasionally uses a deeper goth rock type singing style too, which adds some variation to the vocal department of the music. In addition to Nick Holmes vocal contributions, the "Christendom" track also features female vocals by Denise Bernard, but Paradise Lost of course already went down that route on "Gothic (1991)", so it´s really nothing new, but it´s great for the variation of the album. The instrumental part of the music is basically sustained heavy chords with soaring lead themes on top, and a heavy rhythm section to back it up. Some keyboards have been added to the music, but they are generally used as tasteful atmosphere enhancing backing.

The material on the 13 track, 50:32 minutes long album are generally well written although not all tracks are equally memorable. Highlights and standout tracks are "Embers Fire", "Remembrance", "Forging Sympathy", "Colossal Rains", "True Belief", "Christendom", and the closing instrumental "Deus Misereatur". To my ears the album features a couple of tracks too much, and it´s seldom my attention doesn´t wander about half way through the album, because some of the less interesting tracks just don´t stick. It all becomes just a bit too one-dimensional in the end. It´s nothing too serious though, and "Icon" is still a quality release in most departments, but the tracklist definitely could have prospered from a culling of filler material.

The musicianship is generally on a good level, but there is a reason why Archer was fired. His drumming is unimaginative and stiff. He has zero groove and therefore the music also lacks an organic groove, which could probably have lifted it to a higher level. "Icon" features a clear and powerful sound production, which suits the music perfectly, and despite a few issues regarding the songwriting and the drumming, the album is still a good quality release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
Paradise Lost used to be one of those bands I just don't get. On Icon they show off a fairly straight down the line gothic metal sound showing mild influences of the death and doom metal which used to saturate their sound. At first it left me cold, particularly in the light of their groundbreaking first two albums, but the passage of time and the erosion of my expectations has worked wonders on it.

The main thing about Icon is that, whilst Shades of God showed flirtations with gothic metal as well as a drift into a more mainstream sound, Icon really accelerates that a lot. If you are expecting anything remotely like the band's early works, you're just going to find it confusing. Stay the course, though, and an engaging, accessible gothic metal release gradually reveals itself. There's actual keyboards on here - pretty, twinkling keyboards! Who could have expected such a thing after the deliciously grotesque riffs of Gothic or Lost Paradise?

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