By Raymond Westland
Paradise Lost is one of the true pioneers of the early UK doom/death metal movement, together with Cathedral, My Dying Bride and Anathema. As with many long serving bands they had their bit of success and adversity. However, nowadays Holmes and co are perfectly happy in their own niche, releasing a string of outstanding albums in the process. Tragic Idol, their latest offering, is arguably the best of the lot..
Nick Holmes and his merry men aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel on Tragic Idol, as they did on Host. No, they opted to take the best elements from their landmark albums Icon (1993) and Draconian Times (1995) and combine those with the heaviness and songwriting prowess of In Requiem (2007) and Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us (2009). This makes Tragic Idol a record that should appeal to both new and old PL fans alike.
Greg Mackintosh‘s trademark weeping and meandering guitar leads and solos are back in full force. This gives tracks like “Crucify”, “Honesty In Death” and “In This We Dwell” that classic Icon/Draconian Times charm. Former At The Gates/Cradle Of Filth skinsman Adrian Erlandsson confines himself by providing a solid back beat, but it’s on the drum-driven “Worth Fighting For” where he really shines. Nick Holmes’ anguished vocals are in fine form and he really manages to bring “Fear Of Impending Hell”, “Honesty In Death” and “The Glorious End” to life. The incredible level of songwriting and maturity makes Tragic Idol a truly stunning album.
The previous album sounded a little too compressed for my personal liking, however this issue has been addressed on Tragic Idol. This time around Jens Bogren (Opeth, Ihsahn, Borknagar) chose for a more guitar driven and spacious production. A smart move, because it really underscores the grandeur of Tragic Idol.
Holmes and Co have come full circle on Tragic Idol, because it harnesses the best elements from the classic Icon/Draconian Times period with the songwriting prowess and maturity of modern day Paradise Lost. This album is certainly one of the highlights of this year. Highly recommended!
Tragic Idol will be released in North America on April 24th