Friday 10 November 2017

Live: Paradise Lost – Electric Ballroom, London 03/11/2017

Paradise Lost have been proudly slogging away on behalf of British metal for three decades now. It's a carrer that has seen them amass an unbelievably diverse back catalogue of fifteen albums that range from Death Metal, Doom Metal, Goth Metal, Industrial Rock, Electronic Rock and all the way back again. Their two most recent albums 2015's 'The Plague Within' and 2017's 'Medusa' have seen their heaviest output since the early 90s – for some it's a return to form, for others a regression of sorts. But there is no denying that their rekindling of the death doom sound has yielded some brilliant material that quite rightly deserves a public airing.

The band's latest tour in support of 'Medusa' sees them joined by Portugal's Sinistro and USA's Pallbearer. Sinistro are up first with their atmospheric and avant garde take on doom rock. There is a nice experimental and progressive element to their sound which is quite compelling and causes the heavier elements of their songs to just catch you off guard. It's a strong if unfortunately short set but one that sees a strong performance and will undoubtedly have created a few new fans.

Pallbearer are up next. A little controversial for some with the whole “are they doom or not” argument floating in the air. But that doesn't matter as they are a damn solid band. Technical issues with one of the guitar rigs may have slowed them down a little, but they didn't falter and saw the set through to the end. They're a band with many faces and influences that come together for a monumental sounding whole. Alt rock, prog rock, doom, ambient, and proto metal come together for a sonic spectacle that sweeps you along. The band perform with the skill and precision of veterans and by the time they leave the stage the crowd are more than satisfied with their set.

Finally though it is time for Paradise Lost to take to the stage. The veteran performers on their native soil may not play the size of concerts they deserve, but are always met with a hero's welcome. With two of their heaviest releases in years recently under their belts the setlist is the doomiest the band have sounded in decades. With five cuts from new album 'Medusa' and three from 'The Plague Within' there isn't much room to show off the full range of their previous work, but what the band do produce is a damn tight set with slow heavy tracks, sing-a-long moments and even a rare opportunity to open up a moshpit.

Songs such as 'From The Gallows', 'Gods Of Ancient', 'Enchantment', 'Medusa', 'Blood And Chaos', 'Beneath Broken Earth', and 'Embers Fire' give the set a dark and doomy backbone of monolithic rhythms and bludgeoning riffs. While tracks such as 'One Second', 'Erased', 'Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us' and 'As I Die' allow bodies to move and the crowd to join in.

The encore again sees a heavier slant with 'No Hope In Sight' and the stunning 'The Longest Winter' bringing the doom once more before the band's finale in the form of 'Say Just Words'. The band may be older but they are sharper – Nick Holmes does a great job varying his vocals across the set (even if they were a bit low in the live mix). The whole set is tight and expertly performed and once again shows why Paradise Lost are one of the best bands this country has produced in the last 30 years.  

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