Band: Paradise Lost
Genre: Gothic / Doom Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Location: Halifax, UK
FFO: Type O Negative, Opeth, My Dying Bride
With only a few years difference from their previous record, the production on Obsidian has been stepped up big time. It’s the fullest, best sounding album from Paradise Lost in all of their decades of being a band. The mix of core instruments with the vocals and backing orchestra moments is done very very well. They don’t clean up too much but make sure everything can be heard and appreciated where it needs to be.
The opening to Obsidian is much more easy going than what someone might be used to as a fan of Paradise Lost. ‘Darker Thoughts’ brings in some light picking, piano playing, and faint violin. These instruments increase as Nick sings along until a couple minutes in when those guitars and drums kick in. This sort of sorrowful melody sounds much like it could close out an album but instead they make it this very big, “this is who we are” introduction for what is to come. Something that makes these guys stand out amongst many others in their genre is their ability and willingness to step over boundaries. Which is a little funny to me considering they are pioneers of this genre, yet many bands that follow in their footsteps refuse to try anything new. They bring in so many shining elements that lift up the core of the music for such a solid wall of sound. They mix the droning guitars and thick drums with beautiful orchestral instruments at times and soaring leads/solos from Greg. Even a solo can be hard to get at times out of a Doom Metal band. These factors play a part most of the time and keep my attention very much present. When a song is good, it’s good front to back. But there are a couple duds in here that aren’t terrible but have much more of a dull and repetitive vibe to them such as ‘Forsaken’ and ‘Hope Dies Young’. Lyrically, as far as I can tell, they remain true to what you might expect as a fan. Very gloomy and somewhat broad. Metaphorical but at times, relatable. The lyrics complete the full package you ordered from this group.
This is not an everyday kind of album to me. I think it can be enjoyed often enough but being the style it is, I have to be in a certain mood for it. Although Obsidian is a big step for the band, it does differ from past work for a few reasons. In terms of their last album ‘Medusa’, this album is certainly not as heavy. With what we get in Obsidian though, I prefer it. The factors that I love the most in this album overpower the need for it to be the heaviest thing they’ve done. Compared to albums even farther back, you may know how it is. They don’t necessarily “change” but they take away things, add others and experiment to get something relatively new each time.
As someone who isn’t a huge fan of this genre and even their past music, I definitely appreciate what Paradise Lost has done with Obsidian. With a lot of musical history, I think it’s their most ambitious, greatest sounding, best work to date. It’s a full album in terms of music and quality. I don’t have any big criticisms other than a couple of songs that were more of “duds” and the fact it’s not 100% my cup of tea style wise. But this is without a doubt the best Gothic/Doom record I’ve ventured into. It’s something fans of the genre can love, while fans of other metal could get into and appreciate.
Strongest Song: Ghosts
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/paradise-lost/6967607