Review Summary: All in all, an excellent album let down by a couple of misfires. Atmospheric, emotive brilliant.
Many have credited Paradise Lost with the creation of the gothic metal genre, and they have ceratinly been influential, with albums such as Draconian Times raising the standard to a bar that not even thay have surpassed since that release. However, last year saw the release of their self titled album (the title of which seems to have been mistaken here), which at times exudes the same quality that Draconian Times did.
The album does have its faults, particularly exemplified in the first two tracks. Don't Belong has really rather obvious lyrics, and with its extended piano intor seems to be trying to recreate Enchantment, my favourite track by the band. However, despite a mossive production sound, the song doesn't quite reach the heights it aspires to. Same too for Close Your Eyes, which despite some heavy riffing and excellent ethereal chanting in the background seems in desperate need of a chorus. There is also the fact that Nick Holmes isn't the greatest singer in the world, which whilst it makes them splendidly individual also makes this track rather harsh listening.
The first pair out of the way though, and the album finds its first real winner. Grey is a massive tune. The opening riff is as heavy as close your eyes, but this time there is a real bastard of a chorus, the ascending note giving way to exactly what gothic metal should produce, achingly beautiful melodies backed by huge instrumentation. The lyrics are also stronger, transcending the adolescent mutterings that pervaded the first two tracks.
From here on in the album rarely looks back. There are a few misfires, in the shape of Laws of Cause, which fails despite an excellent intro, but songs such as 'All You Leave behind', a short sharp rock song with excellent lead guitar, and 'Shine' which has two superlative chorus', more than make up for any misfires. Holmes singing provides a perfect sound despite the harsh and oddly out of tune sound. Performance by the band are very solid, especially in the songwriting stakes, and it is difficult to notice they don't actually have a drummer.