Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: May 15th 2020
Paradise Lost start the decade off with sixteenth studio album Obsidian.
This being the sixteenth album from the band has really evoked some strong feelings from me as I was 16 in 1995 when I first came across Paradise Lost & the album I heard was none other than Draconian Times – from then on I was hooked.
I’ve had the album a while now but didn’t want to immediately want to write the review as for me listening to a new Paradise Lost has become an event, my opinions change from each listen as I start to really hear what’s going on in the album rather than (I am ashamed to admit) compare to it to Draconian Times.
The slow opening to first track “Darker Thoughts” threw me at first with its deceptive elegance & whilst listening I was hoping that it was a slow burner – the moment the heavier parts begin combined with some of the opening elements combine together gave started to give me actual goosebumps.
During my first listen to the album I did think that first single released “Fall From Grace” Would’ve made a good opening track as it did remind me slightly of the opening track “No Hope In Sight” from album “The Plague Within”.
I thought the album had morphed into the Sisters of Mercy when the intro of “Ghosts” started and visions of the band coming out to smoke machines distracted me before the guitar sound switched back to what I know and love. This track is for me the catchiest of the album.
Hands down “The Devil Embraced” is my highlight track of the album. it’s slow, menacing, and combines both Nick’s growling & clean vocal styles.
“Forsaken” has a great choral beginning which weaves into flawlessly into “Serenity” which has some really great drum patterns.
“Ending Days” is the most melodic track on the album a highlight for me was the lingering bass lines that were able to come through and grab my attention.
Penultimate track “Hope Dies Young” does it’s best to best to prepare you for the haunting end to the album in the form of “Ravenghast” and if the fact I was in tears at that point should be an indication that I felt it was a really good way to end the album.
Singer Nick Holmes comments about the new album: “One of the most eclectic albums we have done in some time, we have miserable songs, sad songs, slow songs, and faster songs. Did I mention miserable?”
I’m not going to lie, the emotional wave roller coaster was non stop but it made me realize that what I love most about Obsidian is the well-structured familiarity. I’m now not going to listen to the album until the physical copy arrives and the whole ride starts again.
5 out 5 skulls.