Let’s doom and gloom, baby! Obsidian is the latest album from goth metal pioneers Paradise Lost. This nine-track album (eleven if you count the bonus tracks) is as Vocalist Nick Holmes said “one of the most eclectic albums we have done in some time, we have miserable songs, sad songs, slow songs and faster songs. Did I mention miserable?”How can you not be intrigued by that?
Obsidian opens up with the song “Darker Thoughts,” a slow building tune that shows off a lot of Paradise Lost’s usual tricks; the song weaves back and forth between clean and gritty throughout its nearly six-minute runtime. The music on “Darker Thoughts” is as melancholy as it gets, and Nick Holmes’ vocals are as strong as ever. Some other standout tracks on Obsidian are “Forsaken,” “Serenity,” and “Ravenghast.” The operatic vocals at the start of “Forsaken” provide a great contrast to Holmes’ low, brooding vocals and the reoccurring main riff and shreddy guitar solo really stands out against the heavy chugging instrumental. “Serenity” is one of the more straight-forward songs on Obsidian but it packs a real punch, showing off more of the band’s death metal influence. Put simply, “Ravenghast” just slaps. The over-the-top guitar work takes centre stage for the first half of the song while Holmes’ mantra-like clean vocals and brutal growls take a bit of a back seat. It’s dramatic, it’s heavy, and it’s got to be my favourite tune on the album.
Despite being the Paradise Lost’s sixteenth album, I think Obsidian would make for a good introduction to the band. If you’ve not heard Paradise Lost before, the tunes on this album show off what the band does best; it’s got the clean, it’s got the dirty, it’s got the doom, and it’s got the gloom. If you’ve been following the band for a while and are looking for something new from these goth legends, however, I don’t think you’re going to find it here.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Danielle Kenedy