PARADISE LOST (+ Lucifer)
Rock City, Nottingham
With their heaviest album since 1996's 'Draconian Times' in tow, Paradise lost, the originators of British gothic doom metal descend upon Nottingahm's Rock City to round off their latest touring cycle. The band's credentials have ranged from Death Metal, Doom, Gothic, Industrial and come full circle again on this year's release 'The Plague Within'. The band's controversial middle period may have seen their most commercial success, and despite a cannon of strong songs their increasingly heavy outlook has successfully re-engaged their long-time fans while introducing those who may have got into the band through their industrial metal phase to doomier sounds.
But first on the bill tonight is the latest darlings of Rise above Records – Berlin/London based psychedelic occult rockers Lucifer who have been consistent support for the headliners on this seven week tour.
The band's first album 'Lucifer I' has seen them gain attention over the summer to the point where a decent portion of the crowd are interested to see them as they hit the stage. The band lead by former The Oath front woman Johanna Sadonis command a strong presence backed up with groove-laden rhythms, strong riffs courtesy of ex-Cathedral man Gary Jennings. Sadonis' vocals punch through the swirling Candlemass meets Ozzy era Sabbath backing and injects dominant melodies with ease.
The band's lead track 'Izrael' provides their final song for their set and is undoubtedly the best received of the night, but in particular tracks such as 'Morning Star', 'Sabbath', and 'Anubis' provide high spots in a solid and tight set that will see many in attendance converted.
The night's headliner's should be a band that need little introduction by now. The Halifax based arm of “The Peaceville Three” that put British doom back on the map with albums such as 'Gothic', 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times' in 2015 mark a triumphant return to their heaviest sounding album to date. And tonight's set reflects this. The band take to the stage and unleash a barrage in the form of 'No Hope In Sight' from the band's new album 'The Plague Within' before heading right back to 1993 with 'Widow'. It's a strong start further solidified with a big sing-a-long rendition of 'The Enemy'.
The majority of the set is gleaned from the latest album with songs such as 'Terminal', 'Victim Of the Past', 'Beneath Broken Earth', and 'Return To The Sun' getting welcome airings. The band's middle period gets only the briefest of look-ins with 'Erased' making an early appearance, and 'Say Just Words' rounding the encore off. But with 'Praise Lamented Shade', 'Enchantment', 'As I Die', and 'Faith Divides US – Death Unites Us' marking undeniable high points and rounding the set out more.
The band are on top form. The performance is tight and professional befitting their now veteran status. Nick Holmes' vocals sound great as they flit between death grunts, anguish shouts and deep croons. And there is plenty of self-deprecating quips and audience interaction to boot. The band have had a good year, one that has further cemented their place as one of the top British metal acts of the last 25 years. By the time the band come to leave the stage having given their musical legacy as well as their present direction a fitting showcase and showing that they are still a force to be reckoned with.