Paradise Lost – Obsidian: Album Review

Halifax’s Paradise Lost continue their thirty years plus of making music on the dark side with a new and diverse set in Obsidian.

Release Date: 15th May 2020

Label: Nuclear Blast

Formats: CD / LP / Digital

We’re doing really well right now. The last few albums have gone down well,” says guitarist and co-founder Greg Mackintosh in typically understated Yorkshire fashion.

The band’s last two albums – The Plague Within (2015) and Medusa (2017) – saw a much-celebrated return to brutal, old school thinking. The two crushing monolithic efforts that celebrated slow-motion death and spiritual defeat.

On Medusa, they’d done the whole fuzzed-out slow thing throughout the entire record. “If it was that again it would bore me as much as anyone else,” says Greg Mackintosh. “So there’s a bit more variety on this one.” Such is the philosophy for Obsidian.

Nine tracks set out to prove the point. The opening lines “Drifting through loss, we escape the last of the pain,” come accompanied by low key acoustic guitar. It feels soothing and meditative but the title Darker Thoughts is there for a reason. It’s revealed in a flurry of throat-ripping vocal lines, distorted chords, and a searing solo. Marching on with a monstrous stomp and slowed down Maiden guitar lines, lyrically, it’s far from a bed of roses; suffering, solitude and suicide provide a saturation of angst.

However, and most noticeably, the record contains several songs that draw heavily from the Kohl-encrusted days of Eighties gothic rock: in particular, the fuzzed bass drive and chiming guitar lines on Ghosts could be a guaranteed dance floor-filler at any goth gathering. Ending Days is equally morose, powered along by some depth charge chording. Selling sanctuary for the new decade.

At this point, there aren’t a lot of people alive that remember the ‘80s goth scene,” suggests Greg with a hint of justification. “Hopefully it’ll sound like a fresh thing to a lot of people!” It’s all encouraged by frontman Nick Holmes pushing for variety from full on to the more subtle areas – Serenity the prime example, where the spacey midsection provides a haven amidst the towering pillars of dense and dark metal.

Ravenghast is simply an out and out epic. Lumbering surges carry the piece forward in atmospheric swathes. A real ogre battle of an arrangement; a suggestion that Paradise Lost are at their heaviest reinforces the impact of the number.

Now into their fourth decade, they might rank in the veteran class, but Paradise Lost remain a vibrant, vital and endlessly classy force in their creative metallic vision.

Listen to Fall From Grace from the album here:

Paradise Lost Online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

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