Saturday, April 13, 2013

Paradise Lost - Draconian Times (1995)

I started off P with the album "Icon", by this band, but after listening to four tracks realised I didn't feel like reviewing it just yet. So I plucked out this one instead. It's prettier, and more interesting, musically.

Paradise Lost formed in England in 1988 and started as death metal, moving slowly but steadily further into the doom metal scene, adding goth elements and eventually turning fully goth-metal. This is their fifth and most successful album. They are still active today.

 The cover is beautiful. In rich shades of reds and blues, a man, hands crossed against his chest, butterflies dancing around his face. All in eerie, surreal-ness. Inside, the colours and surreality continues, creating a dream-like, otherworldly feel of lyrics, band portraits, fossils and insects.

The album opens with the haunting piano of "Enchantment". Vocalist Nick Holmes has a low voice, not too deep but rich and gentle, with the occasional shouted line. The song moves at a slow, but steady pace, creating a stirring, not-quite-relaxing atmosphere. It is rich, evocative.

Faster guitar and solid drums urges us to seek "Hallowed Land". Vocals are rougher, rawer, but still accesible. Piano overtakes and the bridge is a haunting melody.

"The Last Time" is a rockier number, with a nicely repetitive and catchy chorus so that you can sing along - even if you cannot ever remember hearing this song before. Good beat, great vocals.

The opening vocals of the next track (following after a sample) awaken something in my subconscious. I had forgotten this song, but I used to love it, playing it regularly and loudly, and knew all the words. Yet somehow I had forgotten all about it! "Forever Failure" might sound like a depressing song, but it stirred something in past me. Although I must admit, the lyrics are quite negative:
 "High times are courageous, but in truth they serve no purpose. Induced, reduced, unable and afraid..."
It's funny that I liked this song so much, because Holmes is doing his guttural-shouting vocals, but it just works. And then as we slide into the chorus he drops into his sexy baritone and sends shivers down my spine.

Another rocking, energetic number; "Once Solemn" has more shouted vocals. Not overly inspiring.

"Shadowkings" is similarly solid and heavy, with shouted vocals. I really wish he would sing more. He has a beautiful singing voice. Ah, there we go - on the chorus.

We drop down into slower rhythms for "Elusive Cure". Mosty gloom-laden and heavy, it does have its softer moments.

With lighter guitar and drums "Yearn for Change". Then the guitar grows in complexity and the pace picks up. Vocals low, a little raw. Later though, the sexy baritone comes back ^^

"Shades of God" starts with haunting, echoing, slow guitar rhythms.Otherwise, much of the same as above.

The opening vocals of "Hands of Reason" reminds me of Ozzy, I think it might also be the slow Sabbathical rhythms.

Following on we have the similarly structured "I See Your Face".

"Jaded" is slow, moody. Gloomy:
"The feeling can't avoid you..."
And thus concludes a decent doom and gloom gothic album. It's not particularly great, certainly not compulsory or compulsive listening. A bit repetitive for my tastes, but with a few stand out numbers. Similar in style to Lake of Tears, but rather lacking in their creative, whimsical charm.

Rating = 6/10

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