on 23 April 2012
Paradise Lost have recorded some great tunes and some great albums both before and after Draconian Times. Indeed, the last three CDs have seen them steadily crank up the grandeur and intensity of their music, and while they have been generally considered to be the godfathers of contemporary British doom, their doom has always had an edge to it, a bite in the songs, a strong hint of anger.
And now we have Tragic Idol, and weirdly it all makes sense. TI raises everything by a notch, the production, the attack, the underlying richness of a metal band at the top of their game, all parcelled up in songwriting which is utterly compelling. Of course, no band goes about their day to day, week to month to yearly process thinking, hmm, yeah, all going according to plan (okay, most bands). But as a Paradise Lost fan I've been discerning a progression, and we have now reached Tragic Idol. Could this be the Cistine Chapel of modern doom metal? Damned if I know, but for me this music speaks to my heart as much as it speaks of the world about us.
It has taken a certain strength to make this album, and it will become a source of strength to those who listen.
on 8 July 2012
I have been away from PL for a while so was very interested to hear what they'd been up to since I last listened. To begin with I'll be honest....I was worried. Where have the haunting, gothic piano melodies gone? And the catchy choruses? On first listen this album sounded like a halestorm of crushing doom riffs with shouting over the top. No! Things soon start to make sense however. Yes, the riffs are HUGE slabs of death-o-rama but its not long before the great songwriting starts to rear its head. OK, so the hulking beast of heaviness has replaced the pianos and melodies but this album still has tunes, diversity, groove and power. Its just that this time when Greg (Macintosh - gtr) and Nick (Holmes - vocals) sat down to write these songs it sounds like they were about the almighty RIFF as opposed to well worn chord sequences. Even though I am a fan of the 'Draconian Times' and 'One Second' days I think this is my album of the year so far. The production is super tight and punchy and the record doesn't let up for a second from start to finish. It's bludgeoning in a listenable way, something I have a problem with when it comes to a lot of extreme metal bands because they are unable to write good tunes. No such problem here! I thought I had grown out of having albums that soundtrack my life at my age but Tragic Icon will be blasting out of my speakers for a LONG time I reckon! It's difficult to make 'classic' albums these days so I can't award PL 5 stars but as piece of art in the realm of modern metal, this is near perfect.
on 8 June 2012
Ok so honestly I've never really paid much attention to Paradise Lost. I think I always had this opinion that they were a kinda Gothic band that had been kicking about since the late eighties and I probably wouldn't like them.
When their press pack came in from Century Media Records I thought "oh...great....not looking forward to this..." But imagine my surprise when I sat and listened to their new album `Tragic Idol' and actually liked it!!
`Tragic Idol' is Paradise Lost's 13th studio album since their formation in 1988 and surprisingly this UK band still has 4 out of 5 original members since its creation. The only non original member is drummer Adrian Erlandsson (At the Gates, The Haunted, Cradle of Filth) who joined in 2009.
So what can I say about their new release `Tragic Idol'? Well firstly it has plenty of cross-genre appeal due to the variety of influences and the production of the album is very polished but overall has a Scandinavian sounding bleakness to it.
First track `Solitary One', is a heavy, doomy affair, which may not be the strongest opener, but the album's command is confirmed with `Crucify', a song that shows the band's talent in writing heavy, doom-laden sadness with appealing lyrical hooks.
Most of the album falls into the Doom or Goth category but they do veer into other genres at times, the opening section of the title track for example has a huge Traditional Metal feel.
The album as a whole is persistently heavy, mostly in a slow and crashing way rather than a furious way. Vocally, the beginning of the album Nick Holmes focuses mainly on his tonal growls, but towards the end of `Tragic Idol' more of the gothic style vocals get unleashed.
One thing I really liked about this album is how accessible it is, on tracks like `Fear of Impending Hell' Holmes integrates haunting clean vocals and layers them over ghostly guitars that ultimately plummet into a massive, uplifting chorus.
There is so much to take on board with `Tragic Idol', and yet, it's almost instantly satisfying to listen to. I for one will definitely take notice the next time Paradise Lost release something new as my opinion of them has now been totally smashed to pieces.
on 27 April 2012
Paradise Lost are a band that doesn't stand still, each album is a progression from the last, as a result we have a band that has delivered the doom of Gothic, the gothic metal of Draconian Times, the rock/electronic of One Second & Host before slowly reverting back to a harder metal sound via Symbol Of Life, In Requiem, Paradise Lost and Faith Divides Us...
Tragic Idol continues in the same manner as Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us, it is an album of crushing doom metal, this is again Paradise Lost continuing back to their pre-One Second days. I said that Paradise Lost do not stand still but I feel that Tragic Idol is an extension of their previous album rather than a progression and that is no bad thing. This album is packed with real metal power, crunching power doom chords, Nick's anguished harsh vocals and Greg's haunting guitar solo's that is so much a trademark of this great band. Initial listens hinted at subtle moments of Candlemass and even Metallica's Death Magnetic.
The playing time of Tragic Idol is just over 45 minutes keeping the album sharp and focussed. From the opening assault of Solitary One you know what is coming, this album is pretty relentless though the track Tragic Idol mellows the tone a little, but not much.
The last album took me by surprise with its pure quality and Tragic Idol is in the same vein. It is possibly the ultimate accolade a band can be given that they can produce such diverse albums as Host and Tragic Idol and do them so well.
on 26 April 2012
I will start this review by saying that I have been a Paradise Lost fan since the release if Icon in 1993 and have loved the band ever since. However, I will try to make the review as useful as possible for those who are undecided whether they should purchase Tragic Idol or not.
This is a cracking album with 10 perfect tracks. As far as I am concerned there are no weak songs here. Put simply, it is the next step up from their last album (Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us - also brilliant), so if you enjoyed this, you are in for a treat. The heaviness has been retained, but the songwriting and overall production is more sophisticated.
The album opens with Solitary One,with an intro that sounds like it could be on the band's debut, Lost Paradise (but with better production), and opens up into a great blend of old and new with the welcome return of Macintosh's avant garde soloing.
Other highlights (for me at least) are Fear of Impending Hell and the title track Tragic Idol itself.
This album combines the best of all Paradise Lost's musical explorations over the last few years, but put simply, if you preferred the traditional pre Draconian Times sound, then you can be sure to enjoy it. If on the other hand you only liked the Host and Believe in Nothing era (also great albums), then you may want to check it out before you buy.
on 30 December 2012
Ok so i am biased Paradise Lost are my favourite band in the world of rock and metal. I have every album and have to say Tragic Idol is one of favourites. I would definatly say its up there with Draconian Times and Icon. Every album since Host has been an improvement not that host was a bad album just took some getting used to and not one i go back to often. Soon as i put Tragic Idol on from the opening riffs i just knew it was the Paradise Lost i love. Great riffs,that bludgeon you round the head, Nick Holmes unmistakable bellowing voice. I was nodding my head within seconds with a big smile probably not the thing to do to Doom Metal but great metal does that to me and Paradise Lost are great metal. If you liked In Requiem or last album Faith Divides Us and especially Icon era buy you won't be dissapointed.
on 9 July 2012
I've been on the Paradise Lost ride since 1994 and it's been a wonderful, varied journey.
Tragic Idol is most similar to Faith Divides Us... where several comparisons can be made. Both albums contain ten songs, played on 7-stringed guitars and a 5-stringed bass, creating nearly 50 minutes of crushing heavy, classy, dark and melodic songs. This is moreso the case on Tragic Idol.
Many highlights abound; the chorus on first song 'Solitary One' is mesmerising, 'In This We Dwell' contains a minor lead which reminds me of the atmosphere of 1993's Icon, the hopelessness presented by 'Honesty In Death' almost hurts, the deviation (or bridge) in 'To The Darkness, as well as the lead at the beginning reminds you you're listening to a band very sure of themselves, it's pure PL heaven, and the Draconian Times-like chording on the title-song demonstrates the great variation throughout Tragic Idol.
The songwriting is excellent. Gregor Mackintosh has one of the best musical minds in metal. At a time when too many bands are trying to be complex it's refreshing to hear PL (particularly with this album and the last one) producing powerful, dare I say, catchy tunes in such a low key. Some progressive tendencies can be found; the meandering bass section after the first chorus in 'Fear of Impending Hell' and conclusion to 'Theories Another World'. Not overtly so, however.
The vocals by Nick Holmes are are unique. Generally, an aggressive, deep yell is used and some One Second-like clean singing appears on 'Worth Fighting For' and 'Tragic Idol'. His performance is first class.
I also very much like the artwork. It was unexpected, but the front displays very well the title.
Tragic Idol is a triumph. It possesses a purity seldom found in metal music today. It's gothic, doom metal with PL's signature melancholy, presented in a way so listenable as only this band can do.
on 19 May 2012
These boys have been around for over 20 years now - and even better than that - they're British!!
20 years certainly hasn't dampened the quality of their music - and this is evident in this latest release. From the first chord and piano stabs of the opening track - you just know this record is going to br dark, opressive and intense - exactly what we have come to expect from these boys - and it's GREAT!! This record echoes Paradise Lost's doomy/goth metal past - but at the same time feels fresh and the production is superb (thanks again to Jens Bogren!)
Whilst this album is very heavy and doomy - it still has the trade mark Paradise Lost melodies - and melancholic lyrics that can bring a tear to the eye in a way no other band can. The contrast of "gruff" and "clean" vocals again is used to excellent effect on this album - and dare I say - in my opinion this could well be vocalist Nick Holmes' BEST recording performance to date - raw, powerful, angry and faultless!
There are NO fillers or weak tracks on this album - and it flows very well. Standout tracks for me are "Fear of Impending Hell", "Tragic Idol" and "The Glorious End" - the latter of which is just sheer Paradise Lost perfection - a Melancholic Anthem with jaw dropping lead work and lyrics about "dying" that leave you in an emotional heap at the end....
This album easily gets 5 stars from me - and if you like classic british doom metal or any kind of heavy metal - you MUST add this album to your collection - as it's sure to go down in history as a classic! * * * * *
on 9 April 2013
Paradise Lost are one of those bands you either love or have never heard of.
Going strong from some 25 years, "Tragic Idol" is their 13th studio release and, like their other releases, the boys have not allowed the grass to grow under their feat.
As has come to be expected, their sound has moved on since the amazing "Faith Divides Us...", but the question is, is it any good?
It is difficult to find a weak spot in this album. Coming on like Metallica (circa Black), the gravelly vocals of Holms (whom I swear will one day be recognised as a metal Jonny Cash) fuses well with the soaring music that paints both bleak and blasted landscapes in an equisite vision of doom and desolation.
Is this happy easy listening? No. Is it truely engaging? Absolutely.
The highlights are the title track, "Crucify", "In This we Dwell", and "The Glorious End", but that is not to say the others are weak - far from it.
"Theories From Another World" and "Honesty in Death" are thumping brooding disasterpieces and "Worth fighting for" is just sublime.
If you only buy one dark rock album this year, make it this one.
on 7 May 2012
PL have delivered another cracking album, which although I enjoyed FDUDUU, i was relieved to find this was not as crushingly heavy as the previous album, and is perhaps a return to their Draconian times sound. The only disappointment to me was the lack of keyboards that has been used strategically on the previous few albums. There is not a bad track on the album; 'Fear of impending hell' proves that Nick still has a good singing voice, whereas 'In this we dwell' delivers a faster, heavier, sound with aggressive vocals. The title track is a good all rounder with familiar elements from their previous albums, whilst 'Honesty in death' delivers a good shout along number.
Is the box set version with 2 bonus songs worth it? Yes, in my opinion. The box set features a full colour inlay card, 2 CDs, and full lyrics. Paradise Lost's B Sides & bonus tracks are usually hi-lights that really should have made the main album, and these are no exception. 'Ending through changes' is a typical TI song, whilst the Spear of Destiny cover of 'Never take me alive', although not straying far from the original, certainly has the Paradise Lost stamp on it. However, A further track recorded for TI 'The last fallen saviour' is not on this album.
An excellent album, proving Paradise Lost can still deliver the goods, whilst progressing their sound further.