» Blog Archive Paradise Lost Convey 30 Years Of Gloom In NYC -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

30 years ago, I wasn’t even a thought to my parents. Having just celebrated my 24th birthday, age is creeping up on me and feeling very much apparent as I’m slowing falling into seniority. To think that for the entirety of my lifetime (and then some) that Paradise Lost has been hustling and exploring the sonic landscape of gothic, doom-laden metal, is astonishing. Yet here I find myself, camera in hand, as the band makes their first New York appearance in six years to celebrate the extensive history of their band.

Before we even talk about the band in question, let’s talk about this line-up because holy shit is this a great bill. In tow are Icelandic post-metal outfit Sólstafir and North American underground heavyweights The Atlas Moth opening the night up. Both gloom-laden and musically engaging, this is undoubtedly one of the best bills of the year. Amorphis/Dark Tranquillity have serious competition with this one.

Yet with such stunning acts opening your show, you better come out like a freight train and really knock the crowd on their asses. For the most part, the 30 years have been extremely kind to Paradise Lost and its members. Though the band has come and gone back to their death metal roots on their most recent work, (Medusa, and it rips) the band opted to hone in on their work that featured clean vocals. Songs like “One Second” and “The Enemy” starting off the set. “Gothic” and “Blood and Chaos” came early and well, and it became very much apparent that the band were playing right to their fans with this set. This, clearly, was meant to celebrate all that the band had done an accomplished thus far.

With 15 albums under their belt, I give credit to the band for getting two-thirds of their albums acknowledged on the set. By the time the band came into “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us,” it was starting to feel like a complete circle of sorts, in which the band  kept traveling in a time machine backwards and forwards. Granted the likes of Host weren’t acknowledged, but the band’s extensive goth years, as well as their formative and current death metal efforts were well on display. But I guess that’s what happens when a portion of it is fan-voted, am I right? (Good on the band for letting the fans have a say, too)

Vocalist Nick Holmes, though… Man, what a voice. Though Holmes isn’t found moving around the stage all that much, the dude is 47 and sounds great. Though his death growls definitely sounded restrained during the set, I can’t deny that this guy has one of the cleanest, most precise voices I’ve heard live in a minute. Perhaps that gripe was because of sound issues (Go watch anything from the past year, his growls sound solid) but the precision on display was impressive, to say the least. I don’t believe Holmes’ voice has changed since One Second, and if it has its only aged like fine wine.

Sonically the band was on point, that I cannot deny. Yet for a venue such as Gramercy Theater, I was disappointed with the lighting on stage throughout the band’s set. For large portions of the set, it became very difficult to see the band and what was happening onstage. There were times that the lights were so needlessly dark and the stage was barely lit by soft red lights at the very front, it became frustrating watching and not having any spectacle to join the music that was ongoing. Being able to discern the onstage activity is just so crucial to the show, that it seems that it fell upon the venue for the poor handling of periods in the headliners’ set.

And yet, Paradise Lost are seasoned veterans of this gothic, doom-laden heavy metal. Their performance is precise, their presence is titanic, and the sound better than they ever have performing form such an extensive career. Be it a first time seeing the band or the twentieth, an all-encapsulating performance like this surely isn’t to be missed.

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