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