Review Summary: Paradise Lost paint a bleak icon for the draconian times we are called to live and cope in.
Should someone considers the course of Paradise Lost since 2005 and the release of their eponymous album, he would assume that the band’s sole burden lies in refining its superb trademark style and coming up with slightly differentiated but interesting versions of it from time to time. However, this was hardly the case in the time frame between the eponymous album and the band’s critically acclaimed breakthrough Draconian Times
. With Draconian Times
, the sound of Paradise Lost had come close to perfection and seemingly thrived only for minute future refinements. However, the band chose to deviate consciously from the trajectory that fans and press wanted it to follow and boldly explored unknown territories. The band’s complete return to form in 2005 with Paradise Lost
initiated a line of excellent albums which were warmly embraced among long time fans and press. Fortunately enough, the new observation from Paradise Lost, titled Tragic Idol
, while it is another excellent addition in the same respect, it is also prolifically remnicient of the band’s iconic doom/death era.
First few listening sessions will reveal little (if not anything) about the album’s excellent quality, first of all the flawless sound production, the best the band has ever had in years. The guitars are complemented with a thick, almost sludgy sound, while rhythm section and vocals are given tremendous depth and audibility. Despite the bland first impression being given upon first listens, the album is a grower in the best of every possible sense. The delay in the revelation of the album’s merits lies for the most part in the band’s conviction to appear restrained with respect to the stretch arrangements are allowed to have per song and in the album as a whole. The rhythm section of Edmondson/Erlandsson and the rhythm guitars of Greg Mackintosh adopt a virtually asphyxiating doom/death vibe which is combined with discrete influences from old school heavy metal. Mackintosh appears restrained even in his trademark lead guitar improvisations, as the latter exist mostly to complement the rhythm guitars. Holmes, on the other hand, contributes some of his best vocals in a long time. Literally, he hasn’t sung with such passion and conviction since Icon
and Draconian Times
. The amount of energy he puts in the choruses of songs such as “Honesty In Death” or the epic album closer “The Glorious End” is simply colossal. His lyrics, although they are abstract by default, showcase a stronger focus on the struggles of modern man against all possible sources of despair and anguish.
Instead of a prologue: Tragic Idol
is the long overdue compensation of an album that Paradise Lost die-hard fans were expecting to succeed Draconian Times
back in 1995. Paradise Lost decided to pay a full and whole-hearted visit to their core attributes so as to bring forth ideas and sounds that were thought to be fully eradicated during the band’s evolutionary process. With Tragic Idol
, the band’s burden in maintaining the same level of interest in years to come just got a lot more heavier.