|4 (1 votes):|
When we’re talking about doom/death metal bands, it goes without saying that the early incantations of such are what it’s usually all about. Lost Paradise hints very little about the band’s upcoming eras: it’s a raw, ugly and barbaric album that definitely stands on its own, but in Paradise Lost’s case, this might be a stage of the band you probably wouldn’t refer to as their best.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Lost Paradise hardly gets mentioned as one of the band’s go-to records. You’ve got Nick Holmes’ muscular and effective growls, not unlike that of Gothic, while Greg and Aaron launch a series of ugly riffs that are more appealing on paper than anything else. Greg Macintosh is usually the star of Paradise Lost and while he normally knows how to get enormous results with little efforts, he hardly stands out here. He plays around with his noisy dive bomb tricks that appear out of the blue, but his leads rarely give me the creeps, nor do they evoke any serious emotional responses as one might come to expect. Perhaps this is understandable, as Paradise Lost still carried plenty of death metal influences along, but even on a superficial level I’m never feeling the urge to bang or even bob my head. “Our Savior” summons a vortex of frantic riffing, recalling Chuck Schuldiner‘s gore-obsessed guitar work circa Leprosy, even if the piss-poor production plagues the track quite a bit. “Rotting Misery” has to be the band’s most minimalistic track by far; after the haunting bells of doom, a few chords get revealed in snail-motion – I wouldn’t mind hearing it as background music, but it’s just not a Paradise Lost classic by any means. “Frozen Illusion” presents a sludgy mixture between doom’s haunting characteristics and vigor death metal riffs that stand out more than usual at least and therefor it’s my favorite tune on this record (That said, the version that appears on the Drown in Darkness compilation is far better).
This brings me to my next problem: the production. Just like Gothic, it’s pretty thin and while this poor, almost under produced sound works well for the former (because, you know, that hardly is a heavy album) it doesn’t do Lost Paradise any favors. Here the guitars sound as if their strings haven’t been replaced in a few decades and what that could add a charm to certain albums, Lost Paradise isn’t one of them. Having recently re-discovered the Drown in Darkness compilation, I’ve come to realize a meatier guitar tone can make quite a difference. The aforementioned ”Our Saviour” lacks some serious punch, while the Celtic Frost-inspired creep-o-rama of “Paradise Lost” somehow evokes a sense of terror and dread for the best… on that compilation at least – here that tune simply goes one ear in and one ear out I’m afraid.
The remaining tracks are hardly worth to praise. A few faster (for Paradise Lost‘s standards) riffs emerge from time to time and blend with some quasi-melodic leads. While this should give ”Deadly Inner Sense” and ”Breeding Fear” a unique taste, the results are pretty mediocre (and have you ever heard someone call these Paradise Lost classics? Of course you haven’t!). Lost Paradise sounds innovative for its time, but the crew definitely sounds young and inexperienced here and although there’s something innocent about this album, I’m just not convinced by it.
Release date: February 5th, 1990
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