Century Media Records (2012)
When you’ve been together for 20 + years and on the verge of releasing your thirteenth studio album, rest assured you’ve come full circle with your past discography. We know there are many readers who feel “Lost Paradise” or “Gothic” can never be duplicated in Paradise Lost’s history. Many others feel the commercial leaning “Draconian Times” was a benchmark effort in the gothic metal world during the mid- 1990’s. Others shunned the band during their electronic/keyboard phase of “One Second” and “Host”, but over the past few years Nick Holmes, Greg Mackintosh, and the other three of this UK quintet know what their fervent following desires - and “Tragic Idol” continues their metal ways.
Those wishing for the death aspects to return full force - sorry to say, they are gone with the setting sun. Songs like “Solitary One”, “In This We Dwell”, and “The Glorious End” have more in common with the roots of metal and doom, channeling the best of their NWOBHM ancestors and adding in the well-known “Draconian Times” gothic strains to keep the material flowing on a conventional 4-5 minute clip. Drummer Adrian Erlandsson gets small pockets of fill time but uses them to deep, heavy groove proportions on “Crucify” - accenting the drawn out Hetfield-like melodies from Mr. Holmes. Greg and rhythm guitarist Aaron Aedy are complementary axe masters for Paradise Lost’s melancholic riff stance - some of their best point/counterpoint work coming on the emotionally charged title cut.
Lyrically Nick tackles humanity and the stressors that come in all aspects with an inner knowledge - you would think this many years in the business he would struggle to capture the right word images, but he certainly knows how to get his thoughts across with strength and brevity (“The Glorious End” with its haunting ‘Predatory intent… devours us’ refrain or ‘for eternity… you’re my sentence’ on “Crucify” two passage winners). There are a couple of segments where the open snare doesn’t quite click with their sound (leave that for the modern metal acts), but overall the production values are in line with Paradise Lost and their high quality output.
Overall, this is a logical continuation of 2009’s “Faith Divides Us…Death Unites Us” and will not disappoint most who’ve grown up with the band’s style.
Rating: 4.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe