Par­adise Lost

On their un­der­ground jour­ney through the metal zones, they’ve had ma­jor suc­cess and been hugely in­flu­en­tial along the way.

Classic Rock - - Contents - Dave Ever­ley

Where to start when delv­ing into the cat­a­logue of the most con­sis­tently suc­cess­ful British metal band of the past 30 years.

Is this the most miserable band in the world?’ ran the head­line of one early mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle on Par­adise Lost. The an­swer was no. Well, not quite.

The im­age of dour, un­smil­ing north­ern­ers is some­thing that Par­adise Lost them­selves have done lit­tle to dis­pel, and it’s one that has served them well through­out a ca­reer that saw them be­come the most con­sis­tently suc­cess­ful British metal band of the past 30 years. Dur­ing that time they’ve gone from pur­vey­ors of gut­tural ex­treme metal to goth-metal stan­dard bear­ers to their cur­rent in­car­na­tion as a stately hy­brid of both. Their in­flu­ence has been im­mense, even if they’ve never quite been prop­erly ac­knowl­edged as the ground­break­ing band they are.

When Par­adise Lost crawled out of Hal­i­fax at the tail end of the 1980s, the British metal un­der­ground was still play­ing catch-up with the thrash scene that had bro­ken ear­lier in that decade.

With their de­but al­bum, Lost Par­adise, they of­fered some­thing dif­fer­ent – a doomy, dirgey, goth-tinged noise that pre­sented a distinctly Euro­pean take on the ex­treme metal move­ment then emerg­ing in the US. Along­side such fel­low Peaceville Records acts/kin­dred spir­its as Anath­ema and My Dy­ing Bride, they drew up a road map that would show the way for­ward for the home­grown un­der­ground scene.

By the mid-90s, that un­der­ground scene was al­ready too small for Par­adise Lost. Their 1995 al­bum Dra­co­nian Times was a bold tilt at the main­stream – a big-bud­get metal al­bum that pos­sessed an am­bi­tion they’d hinted at a few years ear­lier. It worked, too, break­ing into the Top 20 and turn­ing the band into fes­ti­val head­lin­ers in main­land Europe, long a PL strong­hold.

But Dra­co­nian Times also marked the end of Par­adise Lost’s first chap­ter. With their next al­bum, 1997’s One Sec­ond, they brought their goth in­flu­ences to the fore, lean­ing in­creas­ingly heav­ily on Depeche Mode-style elec­tron­ics and ditch­ing the last ves­tiges of their ex­treme metal past. It was a brave move, and an ini­tially suc­cess­ful one, but per­sonal prob­lems around the time of 2001’s sub-par Be­lieve In Noth­ing de­railed the band’s for­ward mo­men­tum.

Since the mid-00s, Par­adise Lost have grad­u­ally drifted back to­wards their metal roots, with­out ever aban­don­ing their for­ward-look­ing edge. To­day they oc­cupy a po­si­tion as un­likely el­der states­man of goth-metal, cited as an in­flu­ence by the likes of Nightwish, H.I.M. and La­cuna Coil.

Par­adise Lost: the most con­sis­tently suc­cess­ful British goth metal bandof the past 30 years.

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