From the brooding piano line that starts off “Don’t Belong”, one knows that this is going to immediately be another classic album by Paradise Lost. The use of string-like sounds over the piano further gives the track a fullness that is completed only when the vocals kick in a minute after the track starts. Mix an ample amount of radio-friendly metal with interesting arrangements and a heaviness previously unheard in what is popularly called metal, Paradise Lost shows that they are the leaders of the pack with whatever designation one would like to give them (metal, black metal, progressive metal). This is Paradise Lost’s 10th studio album, and dare I say it, but this may be the best of all of them. The band has picked up some of the best innovation of the last 17 years and infused each of them with something that is specifically Paradise Lost, making sure that all the tracks on this self-titled album are as flawless as the most perfect diamond.
The multiple vocals of “Grey” mix perfectly with a Type O Negative / Fear Factory brand of metal and really make something accessible, something that newer acts like HIM would love to be able to claim as their own. With Paradise Lost ripping off track after track, hit after hit, one needs to not see this as an album that vainly tries to recall the glory of eighties metal, but rather as an album that should be placed alongside “Reign In Blood” or “Holy Diver”. What is most interesting about tracks like “Forever After” is that Paradise Lost can even pull from eighties pop – bands like Depeche Mode – and not fail miserably like the other acts that attempted the same thing (think Deadsy or Powerman 5000). The successful meshing of electronic instruments and old style guitars has to be the most exciting part of the disc, even going further that the chilling vocals put forth during all sections of this album.
Even when Paradise Lost slows things down (such as in “Laws of Chaos”), there is still a furious sound that encapsulates the slower tempo and makes the resulting dichotomous sounds that much more effective. Paradise Lost has been around since 1987; with amazing albums such as this one, I would say that they could still be rocking by the time their twentieth studio album comes out. Easily one of the best metal albums of the last decade.
Top Tracks: Grey, Laws of Cause
Paradise Lost – S/T / 2006 Abacus / 14 Tracks / http://www.paradiselost.co.uk / http://www.abacusrecordings.com / Reviewed 15 January 2006