Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m fairly certain I know who this release came from. I will hold off judgement till the end, but if it is who I think it is, it is a sterling release from one of doom metal’s pioneers. There’s a certain sound here that just resonates the stylings of Paradise Lost. Only time will tell (or you know, TL;DR, look at the bottom). It might also possibly be My Dying Bride if they’ve cheered up a bit, but my money’s on the former.
The album’s doomy a dystolic magnum opus is a stomper that gets right to where it wants you to be. And that place is dark, doom-laden, and dank. The atmosphere is threatening and black, with the riffs and vocals powering the track on. This allows for “Terminal” to rush in, assault your grandma at the christmas party, and leave again, cackling into the night. The drum performance here is deliberate and smooth and again the vocal performance given connotes that Paradise Lost care about the lyrical quality of their craft. The only issue is the lacklustre bass that only really picks up towards the back end of the album.
Each track is a behemoth, but tracks “Beneath Broken Earth” and “Sacrifice The Flame” steal the show entirely, with a mighty funeral dirge that is as relentless and crushing as it is mysteriously uplifting. Both songs run into each other perfectly to form a 10 minute long monster. I cannot extol the virtues of these two in particular enough, they are something to be experienced personally to be understood. The clean vocals in the latter ape that of Suicidal Tendencies.
There are a few duffers that mar an otherwise great release. The intro to “An Eternity Of Lies” would definitely sound better live. Its simplistic structure is almost boring, but is brought from the brink by some unpredictable tinges. The real jarring point however is the utter randomness of “Cry Out”. Weird Rock riffs, bored sounding drums – it sounds like Lordi in all the wrong ways. Utterly bizarre.
There are elements of God Forbid in “Punishment through Time”. It’s here we really see the bass come into its own, perfectly complimenting the duel guitar riffs. The rest of the album is solid platinum, from the deliciously evil “Victims of The Past” to the dissonant, titanic chordage of “Flesh From Bone”. This band give the impression that they’d sound pretty incredible live, from their blistering black metal nonsense, to their massive sounding choruses, I’d definitely put up with £9 for a beer in London to go to see them.
Now an entire paragraph dedicated to the ending. Sitting at a girthy (snigger) 5 minutes 40, we are taken on a fucking spirit quest, only to find the great horned one has eaten our guide and we are instead going to fight a dragon or some shit. The less-padded sound of this track makes it absolutely bleak in the best way imaginable. “Return to The Sun” is worth buying the album alone, let alone the myriad other desolating ear worms.
Overall, this album is an absolute must for anyone with a taste in metal that extends beyond skinny jeans and cheeky Nando’s shirts. It’s credible, honest metal, with all the pomp and circumstance that doom metal deserves. Hail Santa!
HA. FUCKING CALLED IT. Now go buy this album you damn fools. GO!
1. No Hope In Sight
3. An Eternity Of Lies
4. Punishment Through Time
5. Beneath Broken Earth
6. Sacrifice The Flame
7. Victim Of The Past
8. Flesh From Bone
9. Cry Out
10. Return To The Sun
Paradise Lost are:
Nick Holmes – vocals
Greg Mackintosh – Lead Guitar
Aaron Aedy – Rhythm Guitar
Steve Edmondson – Bass Guitar
Adrian Erlandsson – Drums