The sixteenth Paradise Lost studio album, Obsidian eschews its immediate predecessors’ gruesome, myopic approach in favour of a richer and more dynamic deluge of black shades. From the deceptive elegance and dual atmospheres of opener Darker Thoughts through to the crushing, baroque doom of war-torn closer Ravenghast, Obsidian reveals a band in masterful control of a broad array of vital ideas. Most noticeably, the record boasts several songs that draw heavily from the much-loved, Kohl-encrusted days of ‘80s gothic rock: in particular, newly-minted PL anthems Ghosts is a guaranteed dancefloor-filler at any discerning goth nightclub.
Obsidian… dark, reflective and black: it’s a pretty decent description of the music that Paradise Lost have been making over the last 32 years, even though this most resilient of British metal bands have stoically refused to be pinned down to one easily defined formula. Powered by a lust for creativity and a stout devotion to haunting heaviness, Paradise Lost have defied the odds by coming back stronger than ever over the past decade.
Formed in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1988, Paradise Lost were unlikely candidates for metal glory when they slithered from the shadows and infiltrated the UK underground. But not content with spawning an entire subgenre with early death/doom masterpiece Gothic nor with conquering the metal mainstream with the balls-out power of 1995’s Draconian Times, they have subsequently traversed multiple genre boundaries with skill and grace, evolving through the pitch-black alt-rock mastery of ‘90s classics One Second and Host to the muscular but ornate grandeur of 2009’s Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us and Tragic Idol (2012), with the nonchalant finesse of grand masters. The band’s last two albums - The Plague Within (2015) and Medusa (2017) – saw a much celebrated return to brutal, old school thinking.
1. Darker Thoughts
2. Fall From Grace
4. The Devil Embraced
3. Ending Days
4. Hope Dies Young