Paradise Lost - Obsidian review




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Reviewer:
8.0

254 users:
8.75
Band: Paradise Lost
Album: Obsidian
Release date: May 2020


01. Darker Thoughts
02. Fall From Grace
03. Ghosts
04. The Devil Embraced
05. Forsaken
06. Serenity
07. Ending Days
08. Hope Dies Young
09. Ravenghast
10. Hear The Night [digipak bonus]
11. Defiler [digipak bonus]


I cannot be very objective with Paradise Lost. It's not just the fact that I grew up with their records, but also that they themselves grew up digging the same music that I did when I was younger.

Greg Mackintosh has highlighted the gothic vibe permeating Obsidian in his various promotional interviews to the point that he even provided a list of his favourite The Sisters Of Mercy tracks (not that it matters, but my picks would have been somewhat different). And indeed, the aura of the goth pioneers from Leeds is present on songs like "Ghosts" and "Hope Dies Young". It's not just the guitar melodies, the dark bass lines or the spirit of Andrew Eldritch that has possessed Nick Holmes on these tracks, but also the fact that Waltteri Väyrynen's playing reminisces The Sisters' drum machine, Doktor Avalanche. Come on, I urge you to tell me that you don't immediately think of "Alice" as soon as you hear the kick drum in the beginning of "Ghosts". Then, drums aside, the choral keys of "Forsaken" bring to mind "This Corrosion". So, is this an album by a clone of The Sisters Of Mercy? Of course not, the atmosphere and the songwriting is signature gothic doom made by Paradise Lost.

Obsidian features one of the strongest openers in the band's history. "Darker Thoughts" begins with angelic acoustic notes matched with heavenly clean vocals; when the violins come into play, the guitars electrify the atmosphere, and Nick metamorphoses into Old Nick, the song literally takes off. The first single released, "Fall From Grace", is as catchy as "No Hope In Sight" and demonstrates similar structure to the latter, while also borrowing some of its melody from Children Of Bodom's "Prayer For The Afflicted". "Serenity" is sure to become a fan favourite, with Greg sowing unbelievable patterns with his lead guitar. The truth is that Obsidian's appeal is very much owed to Mackintosh's beautiful melodies, my favourite being about halfway into "Ending Days". I also loved how Edmonton's bass is generally brought to fore, and how abrasive it sounds at times. Nick is using the entire range of his voice, which was neglected on Medusa because of that album's particular style approach.

I am sad to say that the closer, "Ravenghast", is not on par with the rest of the material and feels quite a bit out of place being a song that clearly belongs to the previous album. In my opinion, the bonus track, "Hear The Night", would have made an excellent epilogue instead, and I have no idea why they left it out of the standard edition. It's a shame because this choice leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth, especially when everything before it ranged from satisfying to triumphant.

It seems to me that with Medusa, the band came full circle. They showed everyone that they could be as heavy again as they were in their early days and now with Obsidian they are offering a career-spanning album in the sense that you can hear almost every sonic path that they have walked over the years. Those who were not convinced by the one-dimensional nature of its predecessor will be thrilled to listen to a record that is a lot more varied and "listenable". But even those who loved Medusa for its throwback character, myself included, will find Obsidian to be surprisingly refreshing.

After 16 albums and more than 30 years in the scene, it is incredible how Paradise Lost refuse to become stale and keep producing such quality material. This is the stuff great bands are made of.

"Till the last kingdom falls
To a shelter repressed, by a long loneliness
Finding answers we scorned
In a vile yonder grave, with a scowl we'll remain
In blood"


 



Written on 11.05.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments

Comments: 30   Visited by: 316 users
11.05.2020 - 12:41
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
You actually expect me to believe that there are other Sisters Of Mercy songs than "Dominion"??
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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11.05.2020 - 13:24
jbm1980
From what I have been able to read "Hear the Night", in principle it was going to be included in the main ones but in the end they chose to include "The Evil Embraced" and leave it as a bonus track, I agree with you that they should have included it, it is very top.
On the other hand I do not agree with your opinion about "Ravenghast", it seems to me a great ending for "Obsidian" showing the versatility of PL, going from Goth rock to Doom/death without problem, it also has a chorus that is most catchy LP
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11.05.2020 - 14:00
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 11.05.2020 at 12:41

You actually expect me to believe that there are other Sisters Of Mercy songs than "Dominion"??

Yes there are. Here is my own top-10 in order of preference, I am sorry that "Dominion" is not featured but this band has way too many awesome songs.

1) Lucretia
2) Floorshow
3) Temple Of Love
4) Some Kind Of Stranger
5) Vision Thing
6) Alice
7) More
8) Walk Away
9) Black Planet
10) Under The Gun

bonus: Gimme Shelter (the best cover ever made of this song)

Enjoy!
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11.05.2020 - 14:38
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 14:00

1) Lucretia
2) Floorshow
3) Temple Of Love
4) Some Kind Of Stranger
5) Vision Thing
6) Alice
7) More
8) Walk Away
9) Black Planet
10) Under The Gun

There are a few there that I can't immediately recall, but I'm glad you included "Walk Away" that he didn't.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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11.05.2020 - 15:24
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
How do you chose quotes when write a review. I grow up whit them as well one of first bands i dig up. Love them
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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11.05.2020 - 15:44
nikarg
Mod
Written by Bad English on 11.05.2020 at 15:24

How do you chose quotes when write a review. I grow up whit them as well one of first bands i dig up. Love them

Well, I like reading the lyrics when I listen to an album for the first time. So I choose the lines that appeal to me the most and/or I feel that are representative of the album.
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11.05.2020 - 17:54
Lanthros
Why does no one ever include Amphetamine Logic in their lists? Not my favorite but the mental breakdown in the vocals towards the end is awesome.
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11.05.2020 - 18:28
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 15:44

Written by Bad English on 11.05.2020 at 15:24

How do you chose quotes when write a review. I grow up whit them as well one of first bands i dig up. Love them

Well, I like reading the lyrics when I listen to an album for the first time. So I choose the lines that appeal to me the most and/or I feel that are representative of the album.

Same here, i love lyrics well poetical one not as David coverdale sings about How he wants to score or motley Crüe pussy, pussy, pussy.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
11.05.2020 - 18:43
nikarg
Mod
Written by Lanthros on 11.05.2020 at 17:54

Why does no one ever include Amphetamine Logic in their lists? Not my favorite but the mental breakdown in the vocals towards the end is awesome.

I'm with you all the way, fantastic song. The truth is I could make my Top-10 featuring just the ten tracks of First And Last And Always and it would be totally legit. I had a really hard time choosing the ten I chose, SoM is probably the only band that have zero (0) songs I dislike. And I am not just talking about the studio albums, I have bootlegs, singles, rarities, pirate stuff, vinyls that are impossible to find today. I think there is a name for that.... ah yes, "fanboy"!

edit: Eldritch used to do this type of more "crying out" the lyrics rather than just singing them, especially in a few of the early songs. For me, his most compelling vocal performance is on "Some Kind Of Stranger", which I included in the list. The part when he starts singing "And I know the world is cold but if you hold on tight..." and the repeated verse in the end that starts with "Come here I think you're beautiful..." is... I don't know, I don't have a word for it, it gives me goosebumps every single time.
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11.05.2020 - 19:19
tominator
At best deranged
I know some friends of mine (big Paradise Lost fans) didn't like Medusa. But honestly I liked it. Though I feel it suffered a little bit from the absolute excellent record that came before it. The Plague Within was just so incredibly good (I actually managed to make another friend realize he was wrong all along and that Paradise Lost is absolutely awesome thanks to that record). That record had a lot more variety as well compared to Medusa (which was probably Medusa's biggest achilles heel).

Reading this review, I've got a feeling that I'm going to like this one. Sounds right up my alley.
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11.05.2020 - 19:33
nikarg
Mod
Written by tominator on 11.05.2020 at 19:19

....
Reading this review, I've got a feeling that I'm going to like this one. Sounds right up my alley.

I know people who loved Medusa and others who didn't, basically because it was very one-sided. I agree that The Plague Within was exceptional and one of the best PL albums ever.

You will like this one for sure, I cannot imagine how a PL fan cannot like it. It's impossible. I can count about four 10/10 tracks on it: "Darker Thoughts", "Fall From Grace", "Ghosts", and "Serenity".
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11.05.2020 - 19:43
tominator
At best deranged
Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 19:33

You will like this one for sure, I cannot imagine how a PL fan cannot like it. It's impossible. I can count about four 10/10 tracks on it: "Darker Thoughts", "Fall From Grace", "Ghosts", and "Serenity".


I can already agree with one of those, since I've been blasting "Fall From Grace" quite a lot the last couple of days. Like you mentioned it's basically "No Hope In Sight 2.0" (in a good way). Great track. Very curious (and excited) to hear the rest of those songs!
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11.05.2020 - 19:53
jbm1980
For me "Obsidian" is the most varied album that PL has composed in its 32 years of history, each of the songs collect the essence of PL since its inception.
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11.05.2020 - 20:14
The Melting Snow
Started listening after reading the review. Boy, Darker Thoughts is awesome. has to be one of the best openers I've heard recently
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11.05.2020 - 20:33
FYA
Destroyer
Had a chance to listen to it (I didn't download it - friend of mine did it unfortunately) and I need to say that I am disappointed. They were talking about "how gothic we are now" and all the stuff about 80's gothic music, ecletcicism etc. and yet - it's nothing more than Medusa with 2 more goth tracks, that's all for me. I had really high hopes about this album since I love basically every era of their music. From classic doom like Shades Of God to electronic rockish Host. Ghosts was dealbreaker for me after "safe" Fall From Grace and I expected something more. I've been waiting for this album since they announced it, but now I don't think I need it.
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11.05.2020 - 20:49
Lanthros
Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 18:43

Written by Lanthros on 11.05.2020 at 17:54

Why does no one ever include Amphetamine Logic in their lists? Not my favorite but the mental breakdown in the vocals towards the end is awesome.

I'm with you all the way, fantastic song. The truth is I could make my Top-10 featuring just the ten tracks of First And Last And Always and it would be totally legit. I had a really hard time choosing the ten I chose, SoM is probably the only band that have zero (0) songs I dislike. And I am not just talking about the studio albums, I have bootlegs, singles, rarities, pirate stuff, vinyls that are impossible to find today. I think there is a name for that.... ah yes, "fanboy"!

edit: Eldritch used to do this type of more "crying out" the lyrics rather than just singing them, especially in a few of the early songs. For me, his most compelling vocal performance is on "Some Kind Of Stranger", which I included in the list. The part when he starts singing "And I know the world is cold but if you hold on tight..." and the repeated verse in the end that starts with "Come here I think you're beautiful..." is... I don't know, I don't have a word for it, it gives me goosebumps every single time.


Can't disagree at all. First And Last And Always was pure brilliance. Some Kind of Stranger is the masterpiece of that album to me. The riff is stands out. To this day Andrews vocals on that album define what the ultimate goth vocals are. Not even Peter Murphy could make me feel like that.
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11.05.2020 - 23:58
nikarg
Mod
Written by FYA on 11.05.2020 at 20:33

it's nothing more than Medusa with 2 more goth tracks, that's all for me.

I have a hard time understanding what you mean. Apart from "Ravenghast", I don't think any other track bears the style of Medusa.
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12.05.2020 - 16:43
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 14:00

Yes there are. Here is my own top-10 in order of preference, I am sorry that "Dominion" is not featured but this band has way too many awesome songs.

You're missing my top ten SoM song, "Heartland". Also, there is a good song called "Colours" (released on the CD version of "Floodland"). But what is even better is its version on "The Gift" by Sisterhood, which, I'm sure you know, was Andrew Eldritch's side project (highly recommended!). That version of "Colours" is my favourite song by any Eldritch's band. Here it is, best listened to very loud, in the dark:
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12.05.2020 - 17:00
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Written by Daniell on 12.05.2020 at 16:43

Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 14:00

Yes there are. Here is my own top-10 in order of preference, I am sorry that "Dominion" is not featured but this band has way too many awesome songs.




Link fixed.

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12.05.2020 - 19:21
nikarg
Mod
Written by Daniell on 12.05.2020 at 16:43

You're missing my top ten SoM song, "Heartland". Also, there is a good song called "Colours" (released on the CD version of "Floodland"). But what is even better is its version on "The Gift" by Sisterhood, which, I'm sure you know, was Andrew Eldritch's side project (highly recommended!). That version of "Colours" is my favourite song by any Eldritch's band.

I love "Heartland" too, even though I always thought that he repeats the line "My Heartland, Heartland, Heartland" way too many times
Of course I have both CDs, Floodland and Gift, and "Colours" is just another astonishing song by Eldritch.

On topic: I remember us having different opinions on Medusa, I am really curious what your verdict is going to be on Obsidian.
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13.05.2020 - 00:45
kingeryck
Glad to hear it'll be more gothic. Really not a fan of their death metal type stuff. It worked 30 years ago on Shades of God etc.. but now it's stale. There's a million and one bands with growly vocals and they don't do it as well any more.
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13.05.2020 - 10:07
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by nikarg on 12.05.2020 at 19:21

On topic: I remember us having different opinions on Medusa, I am really curious what your verdict is going to be on Obsidian.

"Medusa" was kind of an extension of the more doomy tracks from "The Plague Within". As serviceable as it was, it didn't feel fresh, and seemed quite boring to me. Upon re-visiting the album before "Obsidian" was released I liked it even less than before. Also, I had an even stronger feeling than before that the band was trying to re-create the atmosphere of their earliest albums. It didn't work for me.

"Obsidian" is also a throwback album. It reminds me of "Draconian Times" and "One Second". But, unlike its predecessor, "Obsidian" is a successful throwback. The songs have this I-have-heard-this-before quality, which is inevitable on album number 16, but this time it's not an issue. PL are re-cycling their old ideas, while still being able to imbue them with enough freshness. A solid 8 from me.
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13.05.2020 - 10:39
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
If they're gonna be making throwbacks, they should go all the way and do a throwback to Morbid Existence
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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15.05.2020 - 22:03
metaalbewerker
I know the music of PL since Gothic era and i followed them till now. For me they never made a bad album, but i have favorites and less favorites. This album is different. I heard it just once and i think it's already better than Medusa and The plague within. Not that these records are bad, ofcourse not, but Obsidian has more variety and melody. For me it's the perfect PL album.
I hope to see them soon when covid 19 is behind us...
Stay safe everyone!
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17.05.2020 - 03:22
tominator
At best deranged
Written by nikarg on 11.05.2020 at 19:33

You will like this one for sure, I cannot imagine how a PL fan cannot like it. It's impossible. I can count about four 10/10 tracks on it: "Darker Thoughts", "Fall From Grace", "Ghosts", and "Serenity".


Well turns out, there are 5 for me. Those 4 and "Hope Dies Young" are 10/10 songs for me.

Since you mentioned Ravenghast as a weaker song on the record, I've got to say I still like it. Although when I heard those haunting piano touches in it on my first listen, I already knew how the song would end. Which kinda bugs me a bit. It's probably the most predictable track on the album.
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17.05.2020 - 21:51
nikarg
Mod
Written by tominator on 17.05.2020 at 03:22

Well turns out, there are 5 for me. Those 4 and "Hope Dies Young" are 10/10 songs for me.

Since you mentioned Ravenghast as a weaker song on the record, I've got to say I still like it. Although when I heard those haunting piano touches in it on my first listen, I already knew how the song would end. Which kinda bugs me a bit. It's probably the most predictable track on the album.

Yeah, "Hope Dies Young" comes straight after these four for me, along with "Ending Days" and "Hear The Night".

Tbh, it's not so much that I don't like "Ravenghast", but mostly the fact that I feel it does not belong. For some reason I have convinced myself that it just did not make the cut on Medusa and they decided to include it on this one.
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17.05.2020 - 22:30
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Perfectly summed my thoughts about new PL. Anyway, I never got connected with PL as it always been off my radar until this new album which has brilliantly captivated me. I don't know how it sounded compared to previous offerings, but suggest me albums that truly define PL.
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17.05.2020 - 22:45
nikarg
Mod
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 17.05.2020 at 22:30

but suggest me albums that truly define PL.

This is a tough one, Cynic. Every PL album is different. Each of the first five albums is a genre of its own and I love them all. Lost Paradise is doom death, Gothic is gothic death (yes, you read right), Shades Of God is death doom, Icon is less death - more doom, and Draconian Times is gothic and doom. From the new millennium, I'd suggest In Requiem, The Plague Within and Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us.

My all-time favourite is either Gothic or Shades Of God. Can't decide really.
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17.05.2020 - 23:05
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Written by nikarg on 17.05.2020 at 22:45

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 17.05.2020 at 22:30

but suggest me albums that truly define PL.

This is a tough one, Cynic. Every PL album is different. Each of the first five albums is a genre of its own and I love them all. Lost Paradise is doom death, Gothic is gothic death (yes, you read right), Shades Of God is death doom, Icon is less death - more doom, and Draconian Times is gothic and doom. From the new millennium, I'd suggest In Requiem, The Plague Within and Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us.

My all-time favourite is either Gothic or Shades Of God. Can't decide really.


Will take your every word in my stride and start digging. Thank you for your inputs.

As a matter of fact, I just began with Draconian Times and instantly hooked to the end of "Enchantment".
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18.05.2020 - 14:30
tominator
At best deranged
Written by nikarg on 17.05.2020 at 21:51

Tbh, it's not so much that I don't like "Ravenghast", but mostly the fact that I feel it does not belong. For some reason I have convinced myself that it just did not make the cut on Medusa and they decided to include it on this one.


Tbh, I can definitely understand that. It does indeed sound like it could have perfectly fitted on Medusa.
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