Where do you even begin with a band as legendary as Paradise Lost? Pioneers of death/doom and gothic doom, creators of some of metal’s most iconic records and songs, and have maintained a career of 30 years plus with barely any creative missteps. You’d think that the band may have begun to wane creatively at this point, but their last two records, The Plague Within and 2017’s superlative Medusa proved that is not the case. So comes Obsidian, the latest opus in a discography littered with classics, but will it continue this trend?
It is a funny thing to review a record by a band so influential, because every time you hear a certain tone or style you have to remember that this doesn’t just sound like Paradise Lost, it IS Paradise Lost. It’s a revelation at that point just how important they’ve been.
The bleak acoustic and softly sung opening to Darker Thoughts paints a scene of classic Yorkshire misery, and when the song opens up there is a wonderful gloom coating this melodic powerhouse. Paradise Lost have never been a band to shy away from using different styles to create their particular brand of haunting heaviness. As with Fall From Grace wringing mournful lead guitar over a refrain of ‘we’re all alone…’ and the driving Ghosts reaffirming their gothic metal credentials, bringing to mind Sisters of Mercy or even a little Type O.
[Ravenghast is] A baroque doom masterclass that conjures some traditional Northern pessimism as well as some of the best riffs Gregor Mackintosh has ever pulled from his six strings…
Their most goth moment comes in the bleak Forsaken however, as hook filled as a song this cold and miserable could possibly be. The solo is a high point in an album full of them, and never loses steam from here. The serrated riffs of Serenity draw back the doom, which then filters through the violins and grandiosity of Ending Days and the rich post punk tapestry of Hope Dies Young into the war torn regality of Ravenghast. A baroque doom masterclass that conjures some traditional Northern pessimism as well as some of the best riffs Gregor Mackintosh has ever pulled from his six strings.
It feels very reassuring to hear a band fully absorbed by their past but creating new music that is as vital as their iconic releases ever were. Sure, there are hundreds of bands that do what Paradise Lost do, but none will ever come close to the masters.
Obsidian is an important addition to their legacy; a reinvigoration of their gothic roots while remaining fully rooted in the doom that brought them to the dance. Dark and beautiful and is out now on Nuclear Blast.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson