Paradise Lost - _Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us_
(Century Media, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (9 out of 10)
There are at least a few hundred doom metal veterans who probably still tear holes in their Calvin Kleins at the sight of -that- logo; the forlorn, almost juvenile scribble that nearly two decades ago was a virtual guarantee of more misery than the average rush hour journey on the London Underground. But while Paradise Lost may have blown the cobwebs off their vintage call-sign of late, you'd be well advised not to let your expectations fly completely off the grid, for as much as their eleventh full-length is the heaviest material to bear their moniker since _Shades of God_, Greg Mackintosh's almost oppressively heavy seven-string strumming alone lends a modern enough touch to proceedings to ensure that this disc could never be mistaken as a rehash of former glories.

Likewise, Nick Holmes' vocal performance may at times be a gruff departure from the Hetfield-inspired crooning that has long divided the band's fan base, yet at no point does it recall the cookie monster growl he employed as a teenage star of a then fledgling sub-genre. Instead he lets the frequently disparate textures of each cut dictate the tone of his voice, and make no mistake about it -- the overriding emotion on _Faith Divides Us..._ is as dank and downtrodden as anything in the earliest recesses of the group's discography.

Following their frontman's example, Holmes' cohorts play exclusively to their respective strengths, collectively bolstered by the addition of Adrian Erlandsson to the drum stool left vacant by Jeff Singer. This inspired, yet pragmatic approach makes a track like "As Horizons End" seem almost effortless, even if repeat listens quickly identify several subtleties which could only ever have been the product of an intense fervour for one's craft. And on the rare occasion when the record does suffer a stutter-step -- as it does on "In Truth" -- thereby forcing into reserve any "best Paradise Lost album ever" accolades it may otherwise have earned, there's no questioning the sincerity of its architects. That alone is more of a compliment then several other acts of Paradise Lost's tenure deserve.


(article published 24/9/2009)

6/23/2007 J Smit Paradise Lost: Requiem for a Dream
5/10/1996 A Bromley Paradise Lost: Can Paradise Ever Be Found?
5/25/2007 J Smit 8.5 Paradise Lost - In Requiem
5/24/2005 P Azevedo 6.5 Paradise Lost - Paradise Lost
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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