Paradise Lost
Tragic Idol


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
April 25th, 2012 | 75 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Paradise Lost have finally completed their transition away from the electro-rock influences and have also embraced a bit of their past -- but at what cost.

Ever since Paradise Lost started to move away from their electro-rock experiments, each album has been met with a 'return to roots' prediction that has never turned out to be accurate. Based on that, it should come as no surprise that the band's thirteenth album, Tragic Idol, is being met with the same hopeful prediction, but, for the first time, it's not too far off base. At its foundation, Tragic Idol continues down the same evolutionary path as every post-Believe in Nothing release, but it has also gone a step further by including an obvious nod towards the band's early material. For those that haven't been following each release since Symbol of Life, Paradise Lost have slowly been phasing out the electro-rock influences in favor of gritty riffs and grittier vocals, and Tragic Idol is the culmination of that effort. The electronics, clean singing and most other elements first introduced on One Second have been removed, and in their place is a collection of songs that rely almost entirely on dirty metal riffs and morose leads.

The album's opening song, 'Solitary One', almost seems to serve as a transitional piece between the band's immediate past and the rest of Tragic Idol. It is the only song to make prominent use of keyboards, and it is also one of the few to feature a cleanly sung chorus. Due to these additional features, 'Solitary One' is one of the more instantly memorable tracks and a great way to ease into the album. After that initial track, the band are fully committed to delivering a powerful assortment of songs based on doom-oriented riffs, wailing leads and a traditional metal edge. This has allowed Tragic Idol the distinction of containing some of the band's heaviest material, and definitely some of its most visceral (relatively speaking, of course). In addition, the moments where a certain riff-style might remind of Draconian Times or a particularly miserable lead might immediately recall the best moments of Icon are just icing on the cake, and a welcome addition to the overall direction of Tragic Idol. The problem is that they might have taken their current evolution a little too far.

Don't take that last statement the wrong way, though – the prominent reintroduction of early nineties influences is most certainly welcome, but it didn't have to come at the expense of the remaining electro elements. The most noticeable problem created by the lack of electronic elements is that a whole undercurrent of melody is missing, and nothing is present to make up for it. This has the immediate effect of making each track much less instant and, overall, requires quite a few listens before the album will fully click. This issue is intensified by Nick Holmes' decision to sing almost entirely in the gritty style that he has slowly been phasing in since Symbol of Life. The relegation of these two elements has left a gaping hole in each track that the older influences just can't fill. Overall, the lack of song-defining elements combined with the use of similar sounds and tempos has lead to an album with a very homogenous feel that easily allows individual songs to blend together. Thankfully, despite these shortcomings, Tragic Idol is still a solid album, it's just not as exciting or diverse as its last few predecessors.

It almost seems natural that the final step away from all the electro-elements would involve bringing back a more prominent early-nineties influence, and that is what the band have done. There are definitely hints of Shades of God in the band's renewed energy and use of grimy riffs, and there's no denying that Icon is an obvious influence when it came to creating the morose leads, but those influences don't ever make Tragic Idol sound like a band paying homage to themselves. No, the foundation of the entire album is still the same catchy, well-crafted style of the previous few releases; just with less electronics. The choruses are still fairly memorable and the songs are still built on the same quality songwriting first perfected while dabbling with electro-pop on Host – which is also this album's main issue. Listening to the previous few releases, it's obvious that the band had began to rely on a lot of the more 'instant' moments coming from the electronics and keyboards, and with their exclusion, the songs definitely take a handful of listens to truly click and never fully retain their own individuality. The extra effort that Tragic Idol requires is definitely worth the time, though, because at this stage in the game Paradise Lost are incapable of making anything mediocre or even average even if they did finally lose a step.



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user ratings (213)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
There is something beautiful in these minor tones; it’s just like looking at a lobster for the fir...

ksoflas (4.5)
Massive, majestic, stern, a flawless album from all angles which brings proudly the group’s signat...

Voivod STAFF (4)
Paradise Lost paint a bleak icon for the draconian times we are called to live and cope in....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album Stream: http://www.decibelmagazine.com/featured/streaming-paradise-lost-tragic-idol/

Digging: Necropoli - I

Tyrael
April 25th 2012


20876 Comments


good review but your new avatar is creepy

by the way can you think of any staffer that would be kind enough to review the new MM?

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

TheNotrap
April 25th 2012


8070 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review.

Album's very good.

Digging: Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain

scissorlocked
April 25th 2012


3510 Comments


I love this band so much, but I haven't payed attention to their steps since In Requiem

now they've taken the back-to-roots route, huh? will probably give it a listen cause I'll be seeing them in a summer festival



Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


6099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank god for your review, I was writing something myself about Tragic Idol but it will take some time to complete.



Paradise Lost have finally completed their transition away from the electronic influences

This transition has been concluded since Paradise Lost, not this album.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

Dreamflight
April 25th 2012


1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ace reviews as always. You perfectly described the whole thing.

But for some reason I thought you'd give an higher rating. lol

TheNotrap
April 25th 2012


8070 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"This transition has been concluded since Paradise Lost, not this album."
Agreed.

Dreamflight
April 25th 2012


1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually see this album as end of an era too. Maybe that's what Willie meant too, idk.

Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

by the way can you think any staffer that would be kind enough to review the new MM?
SowingSeason maybe? Davey Boy seems to always be up to reviewing terrible mainstream stuff ;)

Thank god for your review, I was writing something myself about Tragic Idol but it would take a lot of time to complete.

This transition has been concluded since Paradise Lost, not this album.
You seemed very reluctant to do a review, so I just cranked something out today. If you had ever said you were actually going to do one then I wouldn't have.

Here is the issue. I know I kept saying electronic influences, and I should be saying 'electronic influenced albums'. Meaning the keyboards, clean sining, big choruses etc... which In Requim and Faith Divides us both have plenty of too.

Ace reviews as always. You perfectly described the whole thing.

But for some reason I thought you'd give an higher rating. lol
I try not to over-inflate my ratings. I could have rated it a four and fought to defend it, but 3.5 is definitely closer.



Tyrael
April 25th 2012


20876 Comments


'SowingSeason maybe? Davey Boy seems to always be up to reviewing terrible mainstream stuff ;)'

Haha very funny

I'm serious man

it's really good

Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@TheNotrap & Voivod: In the opening paragraph I said more of what I meant... I think I just lost track of being so specific after that... this is the line I mean:

For those that haven't been following each release since Symbol of Life, Paradise Lost have slowly been phasing out the electro-rock influences in favor of gritty riffs and grittier vocals...The electronics, clean singing and most other elements first introduced on One Second have been removed, and in their place is a collection of songs that rely almost entirely on dirty metal riffs and morose leads.

To me, the electro-rock influences include the clean singing more melodic elements and the catchier elements and I was pretty clear there. Like I said, I think I just lost track as the review went on.

Haha very funny

I'm serious man

it's really good
I doubt it.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


6099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You seemed very reluctant to do a review, so I just cranked something out today. If you had ever said you were actually going to do one then I wouldn't have.

It is totally fine by me, needless to say your review is excellent and accurate in describing the new album.

I will conclude my text in the (very) near future.



Here is the issue. I know I kept saying electronic influences, and I should be saying 'electronic influenced albums'. Meaning the keyboards, clean sining, big choruses etc... which In Requim and Faith Divides us both have plenty of too.

I see where you are coming from with this, I set Paradise Lost as the end of the band's transition because it was the first Paradise Lost album in a while that didn't have this "dance goth rock" aura all over the place.

Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I see where you are coming from with this, I set Paradise Lost as the end of the band's transition because it is the first Paradise Lost album that didn't have this "dance goth rock" aura all over the place.
First, did you catch my post directly above your last one? I think they were posted at the same time and it goes into more detail as to what I meant. I thought In Requiem still had plenty of that dance goth rock vibe, even if it was more through a metal filter than previously.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


6099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First, did you catch my post directly above your last one? I think they were posted at the same time and it goes into more detail as to what I meant

Yeah, you are right.

I thought In Requiem still had plenty of that dance goth rock vibe

While preparing arguments for my review, i listened to the previous PL album and In Requiem so as to have some view of what "changed" and what "remained constant".

The only dance goth rock vibe in In Requiem is that AWESOME Everything But The Girl cover for 'Missing'.

Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, that is an awesome cover. I actually listened to the entire Paradise Lost discography (well, starting with Shades of God) just to get some perspective. I'm listening to a promo that I need to have a review for on Monday, if possible, or I'd re-listen to In Requiem again just to tell you what I mean.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


6099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To me, the electro-rock influences include the clean singing more melodic elements and the catchier elements and I was pretty clear there

Draconian Times material, which preceded the band's electro age, included clean singing at a good portion and catchy songs.

To end this on my behalf and comment exclusively on the new record, I will admit that definitions in music can be a reference to many elements.




On another note, can't wait to listen to this at one of the band's live concerts.

Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Draconian Times material, which preceded the band's electro age, included clean singing at a good portion and catchy songs.
It had some, but it was more gothy and not all that catchy. After One Second it took on a clean mid-register and was much more expressive.

On another note, can't wait to listen to this at one of the band's live concerts.
This will be a great album to hear live.



Venpts16
April 25th 2012


283 Comments


Awesome review. This seems like an interesting album, even though I've never heard any of their material.

Willie
Moderator
April 25th 2012


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd reccomend starting with In Requiem and then going to Faith Divides Us before this, but you should definitely try them.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I totally agree with the review. The album does blend together and is not very varied. Still, avid fans should dig it.

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