Iconic British Gothic metal band PARADISE LOST are set to release the beautifully titled “Obsidian” on 15 May 2020 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to the 2017 opus “Medusa” and the band’s sixteenth studio album in their 3-decade career sees them continuing on their path of crafting dark, reflective music for sensitive souls that appreciate the beauty in simple, elegant forms. Before diving into the review, check out this interview we did with vocalist Nick Holmes.
More than anything else, what you get with “Obsidian” are deep emotions covered in haunting heaviness, dark romanticism, and melodic (and melancholic) delight, spread out over the course of nine diverse tracks. Darker in atmosphere and richer in texture than “Medusa,” “Obsidian” covers a large sonic spectrum from death/doom anthem “Fall From Grace” with its down-tuned guitar tone and clean/harsh trade-off approach to the vocals, to the Gothic stylings of “Ghosts” which boast a superb atmosphere and unforgettable melodies (especially those elegant drum fills, courtesy of Waltteri Väyrynen), to the ferocity of either “The Devil Embraced” or “Serenity,” where Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy’s guitars have more bite to them, delivering heavy riffs and leads while the vocals are both melodic and vicious. The classic PARADISE LOST signature sound is in full bloom here, as the heavy riffage of “Serenity” hearkens back to the likes of “Draconian Times” (1995).
The dark lullaby feel of opener “Darker Thoughts,” which starts off soft, on gentle guitar notes and vocals, is sure to intrigue the listeners. Halfway through, the song picks up pace as drums, guitars, and harsh vocals bring the song to life beautifully. The violin lines and mellower parts add atmosphere to the track, making it fuller and more dynamic. Gloomy anti-ballad “Forsaken” has some chugging guitar patterns and melodies that well accompany the intense vocal delivery and the doomy atmosphere, as “we’re all forsaken.” The desolate vibe of “Ending Days” is enhanced by a sweeping violin melody and somber bass from Steve Edmondson, while the guitar adds melody and heaviness to the track, with an amazing solo to boot. The almost tribal drums, light guitars, and breezy vocal approach to “Hope Dies Young” act as a counterbalance to the previous songs, giving the album more nuances and refinement. The heaviest and darkest track on “Obsidian” is without a doubt closing number “Ravenghast,” where suave piano notes battle with aggressive guitar melodies and incredibly versatile vocals – a superb way of ending this musical journey.
Living up to its namesake, “Obsidian” is not only one of the best works from PARADISE LOST, it’s one of the best albums of the year, showing a multi-faceted band that pays homage to their past but looks on to the future. Vibrant, classy, fresh, and varied, this album will be a great addition to the playlist for many fans of the band, but also for fans of metal in general.
Written by Andrea Crow
- Darker Thoughts
- Fall From Grace
- The Devil Embraced
- Ending Days
- Hope Dies Young
Nick Holmes – vocals
Greg Mackintosh – lead guitars
Aaron Aedy – rhythm guitar
Steve Edmondson – bass guitar
Waltteri Väyrynen – drums
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