Paradise Lost - _Paradise Lost_
(GUN Records, 2005)
by: Pedro Azevedo (6.5 out of 10)
Belonging as I do to the faction that believes Paradise Lost had their finest hour with _Gothic_ in 1991, I may be a harsh judge for the band's recent (as in post-1995) output. It can certainly be argued that they still made some good albums over the last ten years; but during this period, intentionally or not, their work bore a markedly commercial slant, with an accessible sound and a strong emphasis on catchy choruses. I found most of what I heard from them appealed to me less than before, and gradually lost interest in the band -- to the extent that I only recall scanning a couple of tracks off their 2002 effort _Symbol of Life_ before quickly discarding it.

So why am I now reviewing this latest album of theirs? For a number of reasons; none of them strong enough on its own, perhaps, but in tandem enough to make me pick up the disc and delve into it. First of all, irrelevant as it may seem to some, I was intrigued by the band's decision to release a self-titled record after all these years. Were they stuck in such a deep rut as to fail to even find a title for their album? Or did they feel the album was so thoroughly accomplished that it deserved such a distinction? Maybe neither; it has now been fifteen years since their debut _Lost Paradise_ came out, and that was probably all it took for the band to reach a decision. Then my wife recommended the album as surprisingly good (she's had a soft spot for the band since the mid-'90s and decided to give it a chance); then I overheard a few tracks off it, a couple of which sparked my interest somewhat... and the album eventually made its way to my review pile.

To sum it up, my expectations for this album were practically nil before some mixed events seemed to conspire to bring it to my attention.

First of all, and although the general direction of the music hasn't undergone any huge changes, there is less reliance on electronics and more emphasis on guitar riffs and leads on this album than I remember hearing from Paradise Lost in a very long while. Furthermore, this isn't a danceable, upbeat or otherwise unpleasantly happy album; I can't strictly call it doom metal by any means, but it has more in common with said genre than I initially expected. Rather than degenerate into a Rammstein clone or a completely watered-down pop/goth act, Paradise Lost have found a reasonably interesting balance in their own sound -- even if it includes its share of pop and goth. Although the album is heavier and more guitar-intensive than before, it doesn't sound like they have made it that way in an attempt to become more popular with today's youth. They have avoided coming across as just another veteran band struggling to catch up with whatever trend they (or their record label) think is hot, and that is a bonus.

Having said this though, how good is the actual music? Neither complex nor excessively simplistic, the songs generally provide a pleasant and reasonably moody listen despite the linear structures. Several of them contain inspired bits in some guise or another (mostly courtesy of Gregor Mackintosh's lead guitar), and the band even manage to steer clear of overly annoying poppy passages much of the time, although there are exceptions. "Close Your Eyes" and "Laws of Cause" stand out as rather good material, but a few other tracks fail to make much of an impression. _Paradise Lost_ is unlikely to blow you away by any means, whether you are an old fan or new to the band; but it does prove these guys can still create some decent music regardless of trends.


(article published 24/5/2005)

6/23/2007 J Smit Paradise Lost: Requiem for a Dream
5/10/1996 A Bromley Paradise Lost: Can Paradise Ever Be Found?
9/24/2009 J Smit 9 Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us
5/25/2007 J Smit 8.5 Paradise Lost - In Requiem
9/14/1997 P Azevedo 6 Paradise Lost - One Second
12/13/1995 A Bromley 6 Paradise Lost - Draconian Times
12/26/2003 J Smit Paradise Lost / Deathstars And Out Came the Goths
1/1/1998 N Almeida Paradise Lost / Sundown / Uncle Meat The Lost Paradise?
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