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PARADISE LOST - Shades of God cover
4.13 | 32 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1992

Filed under Doom Metal


1. Mortals Watch the Day (5:12)
2. Crying for Eternity (7:04)
3. Embraced (4:30)
4. Daylight Torn (9:14)
5. Pity the Sadness (5:05)
6. No Forgiveness (7:36)
7. Your Hand in Mine (7:09)
8. The Word Made Flesh (5:10)
9. As I Die (CD bonus track)(3:47)

Total Time: 54:47


- Nick Holmes / Vocals
- Gregor Mackintosh / Lead Guitars
- Aaron Aedy / Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars
- Stephen Edmondson / Bass
- Matthew Archer / Drums

Guest Musicians:
- Robert John Godfrey / keyboards
- Sarah Marrion / vocals

About this release

Label: Music For Nations, Metal Blade
Release Date: July 14, 1992

All music written and arranged by Gregor Mackintosh. Lyrics by Nick Holmes.

Produced, engineered and mixed by Simon Efemey
Recorded at Longhome Studios, Northants, March/April '92

Design and illustration by Dave McKean
Band photography by George Chin

Japan version includes 3 bonus tracks:
10. Rape of Virtue *(4:49)
11. Death Walks Behind You *(6:29)
12. Eternal (live) *(4:30)

Total time Japan version (71:35)

Thanks to Stooge, UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat, adg211288, Nightfly for the updates


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While departing from the previous death growls signing the music is changing as well during the writing and recording sessions for the third Paradise Lost studio album - Shades of God. It is noticeable how the band is progressing in terms of songwritig abilities, writing lyrics, which are the band's landmark, the stable vocals made by Nick Holmes, as well as the solos of the Greg Mackintosh. While this album delivers a lot of good doom and gothic melodies, it still contains some "rookie syndrome" elements in the compositions. There are some unfinished ideas at the end fo the composition and they finished let say even unexpectedly. Overall: Strong progress for the band and very strong classic album after all.
After catching their name on Banger TV's "Lock Horns" program about death doom, I began sampling the band's albums on YouTube and decided that their earlier work was more what I was going to be able to digest at the moment. Indeed, this album seems very familiar for a couple of reasons, the first being that the music often reminds me of Trouble with some songs being more obviously influenced by Black Sabbath and in one or two cases I have picked out a Metallica influence as well.

The other reason why this album was easy for me to appreciate is because the songs aren't particularly predictable. Doom riffs cross with almost psychedelically influenced early seventies riffs. A bass breakdown crops up unexpectedly, a cowbell accompanies a really cool guitar riff, or an acoustic guitar piece appears in the middle of a song. The songs come across more like a story that the old standby of verse/chorus/verse/chorus. Riffs go A, B and then just when you hear A again and are waiting for B, a completely different riff comes in. Or A returns later on just because it sounds good coming in right there. Speaking of riffs, as a death / doom album, there is a lot of terrific riffing. But I just can't get Trouble our of my head.

Just wait, though, until you hear the riff just before and just after the 4:00 mark in "Mortals Watch the Day". I keep hearing James Hetfield come in with "Death greets me warm / now I will just say goodbye". And then there's Ozzy singing "Killing yourself to live" along with a riff in "The Word Made Flesh". But the album is not so derivative of the band's mentors as it may seem because of the way they've structured their songs and add things in unexpected places, as I said before. They are very good crafters of heavy music.

The most predictable thing about this album is Nick Holmes' vocals. He has that deep, raspy style and with very little range. At least the lyrics are almost completely intelligible.

I'm hard pressed to pick a favourite track here but I find myself noticing "Mortals Watch the Day", "Daylight Torn", "No Forgiveness" (is that an Iommi-inspired guitar solo?), "The Word Made Flesh" for a Trouble-like riff and cowbell, and the album closer "As I Die". I like the focus on slower, heavy, almost groovy at times music. I feel like the band wanted you to remember the individual songs. This is an album that has made a bigger impression on me than expected.
"Shades of God" is the 3rd full-length studio album by UK doom metal act Paradise Lost. The album was released through Music For Nations in July 1992. Their first two albums were released through Peaceville Records, so a label change has taken place. But other changes had happened too and in many ways "Shades of God" signals the start of a new era for Paradise Lost (or maybe more correctly the start of the transition to a new era). Not in the lineup though, as the lineup, who recorded the first two albums, is still intact.

It´s more in the sound and style of the actual music that you´ll hear the difference from the earlier more doom/death metal oriented albums. While he would pursue an even more clean type of singing on subsequent releases, Nick Holmes already began the vocal transition on "Shades of God", which features a semi-growling delivery and a few more goth type clean vocals. The overall music style on the album is still doom/death metal though. There is a strong emphasis on lead guitars and lead guitar themes throughout the album, and "Shades of God" is probably the Paradise Lost album which features most guitar leads and guitar solos. It´s still heavy, doomy, and occasionally brutal, but always melodic and drenched in an omnipresent melancholic atmosphere.

The complexity of the song structures is another change that´s quite prominent compared to the earlier releases, and at times tracks like "Crying for Eternity", "No Forgiveness", "Your Hand in Mine" and especially the 9:14 minutes long "Daylight Torn" even touch progressive territories because of it. Some tracks are a bit more straight forward like "Mortals Watch the Day" and "Pity the Sadness", but even those are quite intriguingly structured. The most accessible track on the album is the closing track "As I Die". It was not included on the vinyl version of the album, which is a bit odd, as it went on to become an underground hit for the band, but the album is over 50 minutes long even without "As I Die", and long running times seriously decrease the audio quality of vinyls, so that might be the reason for leaving out "As I Die" on the original vinyl version.

The musicianship are generally on a decent level, with especially the vocals by Nick Holmes (and his lyrics) and the lead guitars by main composer Gregor Mackintosh, as some of the highlights and strengths of the band´s sound, while drummer Matthew Archer again drags the collective performance down. His drumming style is clumsy and too simple for its own good. Once he plays a fill on a track, you can expect to hear the exact same fill being played whenever a fill is called for again on that track. No variation and a very stiff and uncomfortable playing style. It´s not a major issue because of the generaly low pace of the music, but I can´t help think what a more refined and skilled drummer could have added to the music.

"Shades of God" features a rather distinct sounding production. The guitar- and bass tone and the drum sound aren´t necessarily that well sounding with the ears of today, but it was not considered an issue in 1992, where the album was generally regarded as a well produced release. Personally I think the sound suits the music perfectly and when those two features go hand in hand in perfect harmony, I´m not gonna complain about minor technical sound issues. It´s probably an aquired taste anyway.

Overall "Shades of God" is another quality release by Paradise Lost and it shows great development of the band´s sound. So at this point in the band´s career, all three of their studio albums featured a very different sound, and it was obvious at this point, that Paradise Lost were still searching for their own unique sound. Thankfully they produced some really great albums in the process including "Shades of God". A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
This album finds Paradise Lost transitioning between their early death-doom style towards a more accessible style with greater mass appeal. The intent of this new direction - namely, to grow their popularity by shifting out of the intriguing but admittedly rather niche musical world they had crafted with their early work - couldn't be more evident on opening song Mortals Watch the Day, which combines riffs appropriate for the more mainstream Black Sabbath or Trouble albums with a vocal performance which has shades (hah!) of their earlier gruesome death metal growling but which are close to a more mainstream shout.

So, coming at this from the mould-spattered darkness and glacial, almost funeral doom-esque riffs of Gothic, I found this a hard sell - but curiously, it's come to grow on me a lot. Yes, they're presenting a much more accessible face to the world this time around - but that's an illusion, with extensive twists and turns working their way into their sound and an almost quasi-progressive sense of throwing unexpected shifts and changes into songs. Though still clearly in some respects a transitional work, it's one I hold in higher estimation than I used to now.

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