'The Plague Within'
It's hard to believe that Paradise Lost have been around for 25 years now, but the stalwarts of the British dark metal scene have been a constant and evolving presence since their 1990 début 'Lost Paradise'. In that time they have pioneered death-doom, gothic-doom, gothic metal, dark metal and even dabbled in industrial metal to leave on of the richest and most diverse discographies in their wake. The band return with album number fourteen in their silver jubilee year with a sound that sees them come full circle.
'The Plague Within' is one of the band's heaviest offerings to date harking back to the ground-breaking second album 'Gothic'. Nick Holmes' death vocals are front and centre backed-up by a bludgeoning doom metal barrage tinged with gothic symphonic elements. It's the kind of album that long-time fans will be yearning for.
Songs such as 'No Hope In Sight', 'Punishment Through Time', 'Sacrifice The Flame', 'Flesh From The Bone' and 'Return The Sun' see the band at their darkest and most monstrous sounding with excellent riffs, haunting keyboards and imposing vocals bursting through the speakers drawing from their early death doom and gothic-doom outings. Though the stand-out tracks have to be 'Beneath Broken Earth' and 'An Eternity Of Lies'; two songs which utterly encapsulate everything to love about Paradise Lost's musical legacy.
The production is cold and bleak, recalling the likes of Ulver and Swallow The Sun. It's the band at their melancholic best brought out by the capable hands of producer Jaime Gomez Arellano. A partnership that will hopefully continue onto future releases.
'The Plague Within' is a magnum opus for the band. Uniting 25 years of melancholic evolution while pushing their sound forward once more, they exemplify their own past and future. The album is heavy, dark and full of doom metal influences executed with the skill and attention to detail that you would expect from a veteran band of their status. The album is a proud declaration that signs acknowledges their roots but gazes towards the horizon.