Tuesday 24 November 2015

Review: Paradise Lost – 'Symphony For The Lost'

'Symphony For The Lost'

2015 has been a good year for Paradise Lost. They released their heaviest album in 20 years in the form of the stunning 'The Plague Within' and have enjoyed a successful seven week headlining tour in the UK and Europe. Not being strangers to the live album/DVD formats the band have further chosen to commemorate their 25th year with a new double CD and DVD release in 'Symphony For The Lost' recorded live last year in the ancient Roman theatre of Philippopolis in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and accompanied by the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra.

Long time fans will know just how many times the band has integrated orchestration and classical instruments on their studio albums, but to hear this in a truly live context gives the band's already powerful compositions even more depth.

The first disc cover tracks that encapsulate the band's history such as 'Gothic', 'Tragic Idol', 'Last Regret', 'Joy Of Madness', and 'Soul Courageous' featuring the full support of the orchestra, and it sounds utterly stunning. The bottom end of the band's sound is filled out with the rich acoustic textures of the classical instruments as the band's guitars and Nick Holmes' unmistakeable vocals power through the mix.

Disc two covers the second half of the concert. This time without the orchestra but no less powerful for it. Tracks such as 'The Enemy', 'Erased', 'Isolate', 'Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us', 'One Second', and 'Say Just Words' showcase more of the band's middle period characterised by a more electro-rock leaning, which probably wouldn't work as well with the orchestra anyway. But still the songs are performed with the skill and finesse a band of their veteran status.

The accompanying DVD is shot in superb quality with multiple cameras that capture the true grand decay of the venue. It is one of those live documents that really does make you wish that you were there to see it in person and is a fitting tribute to the band. The accompanying documentary shows the thought, preparation and execution of the concert which adds a nice nerdy dynamic to the original spectacle.

The audio mix on both the DVD and the audio discs is excellent. The vocals, guitars and drums sound like a true reflection of the band's live presence. The crowd noise, and the on-stage banter is preserved in full without being trimmed down or muted. And the Orchestra is mixed nicely to give you the optimum balance between what would be the original sound of the song and the live power of the classical instruments.

This is a lovely package that reflects the band's 25 years of duty. This in conjunction with the ban's most recent studio effort show that Paradise Lost are a band on the top of their game and one that still has a hell of a lot to offer in the studio and live.

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