Paradise Lost

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Hold on to your knickers, West Yorkshire’s Paradise Lost is on the return with their impressive 15th studio album. This isn’t just any album, folks, this is Paradise Lost’s heaviest full-length release of their careers, melding crushing doom metal with gnarly growls, heralding a new era of meticulous metal misery. One of the most distinctive acts in metal has surprised once again as they unhesitantly explore a path never before ventured by a band of this calibre.

On first glance, the most noticeable feature of the new album is its title – Medusa. The choice behind this Gorgon great as the album’s figurehead, guitarist Greg Mackintosh says all credit must go to vocalist Nick Holmes and his intrigue behind the Gorgon’s nihilistic undertones. “It started off as a working title for a song – we sent the song to our vocalist who said ‘I really like that title, maybe we should use it for the album?’ and I said ‘Yeah, cool’. For me, it’s just a cool title!”

Just like the mythological character, Medusa is often dark and stony, but in no way does Mackintosh feel the new songs are a reflection of the darker sides of Paradise Lost – there’s not even a little commonality with the supernatural connotations surrounding Medusa. “It’s definitely darker. The album is this really slow, miserable doom album,” says Mackintosh, “We wanted it to be a bit of a world production – we knew what we were doing and the title reflects that, but it’s just the title Medusa – how we came up with it is not the way you think.

“But we’re very serious about the music, how we approach it, how we play it – but everything else we didn’t take too seriously.”

Mackintosh gives fans permission to look for deeper meaning relating to legend from the titles of the songs, too. “Gods of Ancient” deals with the concept of ancient paganism, “No Passage for the Dead” addresses blind faith, but then you have “The Long Winter”. Perhaps the softest and most melodic of the metal offered on this plate, Mackintosh agrees that this particular song offers a glimmer of hope among the dissolution. “It’s to do with how humanity finds a way to destroy things. Nature wants to flourish, and mankind seems to want to crush it all the time.

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“It’s this weird, endless cycle but we’re the ones who seem to hold so much importance in ourselves, that once mankind’s gone, that’s the end of everything – well no, that’s the beginning of everything again. Nature will flourish.”

Such intricate ideas will only make for a legendary live performance, and Australian audiences can enjoy this in-depth release live when Paradise Lost tour this December. “This album was written with a view to playing live,” says Mackintosh. “The sound of the album is based on what Nick’s captured. There’s no editing on there [the album], none of the guitars, none of the drums have been edited in any way at all, it’s as it was played. So it should translate really well.

“Regarding the dynamic within the songs, there’s a bit of life and shape, so it doesn’t become too oppressive. Sometimes, there’s heavy and slow music, but it can become too oppressive, too boring. The first track on the album ‘Fearless Sky’ is eight-and-a-half minutes long, but it feels half that to me. Usually, tracks over five or six minutes become a little bit monotonous, but I think if you write in the right kind of way, give it a lot of light and shape, I think it can work and will translate very well live.”

With such a colourful marriage of sound and theme, obviously Paradise Lost want to hoist their audience on to a podium of experience with their impressive live setting. They won’t, however, be resorting to dressing in Grecian robes with crowns of leaves to make an impression. “No! That really depresses me.

“I’ve seen a few bands that bring out huge flight-cases, and I think, ‘Oh! They must have a lot of guitars in there’, and they pull out these Henry VIII type outfits and things like that. It’s like, ‘What the fuck?’ You know?”

Written by Anna Rose

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Paradise Lost “Medusa” Out 1 September 2017

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Tickets at www.metropolistouring.com/paradiselost

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Written by Carl Neumann

Carl is the owner and the director of HEAVY Magazine. Carl is a music journalist and photographer for HEAVY, Rolling Stone, scenestr, Planet Rock and Kerrang!

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