"Tragic Illusion 25: The Rarities" (Mayhem; 1998)

Reviewed by Snidermann

It is impossible to be a fan of this genre and not have heard about Paradise Lost. We here at Rough Edge have reviewed earlier CDs and played songs from the band on our radio show over the past nine years; however, this is the first time I have personally had the chance to look into this band. So shall we get to it?

Paradise Lost has been around for 23 years and put out an astonishing eighteen releases. "Tragic Illusion 25" is a compilation featuring rare tracks from throughout the band's varying eras plus a new track, "Loneliness Remains," and the newly recorded "Gothic 2013" and "Our Saviour 2013."

There is a word that comes to mind when I listen to this CD and it is "Wow!" This shit is all over the spectrum; killer music is the status quo whenever the band is playing with voice, guitar and drum battling for supremacy in such a way as to make the recording very easy and fun to listen to. And the variety found hereon is nothing short of breathtaking.

"Tragic Illusion" has a few songs with an orchestra section that combine metal and classical music with seamless abandon and it all goes together perfectly.

I do not know much about Paradise Lost, but what I have discovered is that now I must go back and listen to all of their music I can find. "Tragic Illusion 25: The Rarities" is a perfect launch board into the band and their music.

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"Reflection" (Mayhem; 1998)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

England's extremely underrated Paradise Lost have made six albums in their ten years together - despite great songs and tight music Paradise Lost have managed very little press in the U.S. and even less airplay.  This "best of" collection represents a broad, hand-picked selection of the band's work.

The 17 songs that make up this collection clearly display the band's early influences of Kreator, Celtic Frost, and Black Sabbath along with more recent industrial, doom, and death metal styles. However, throughout their entire history the development of the singularly unique Paradise Lost style is quite evident. If you were to arrange the songs in chronological order it is quite easy to hear Paradise Lost develop from a band with a unique sound in the death metal genre into a band that has incorporated lush arrangement and orchestral elements. 

Paradise Lost share a lot in common with their fellow countrymen Iron Maiden yet still have their own distinctive style. While Iron Maiden was fairly consistent in their style from one album to the next, Paradise Lost have constantly avoiding repeating themselves. Paradise Lost is as talented a band that you'll find on the scene today.

From very humble beginnings Paradise Lost have continued to develop their audience in Europe to near legendary status, yet remain practically unheard of in the U.S. The prevalence of near-guttural death metal style vocals in their early work is probably the primary reason for the lack of radio airplay. While the vocals may be a bit gruff, in no way does it detract from the band's ability to take chances and constantly expand their own as well as the listener's horizons.

Highlights include "Say Just Words" which rails against hypocrisy and "Forever Failure" which is a mournful song. "As I Die" is another great track. The only weak track I can find on the disc, comparatively speaking, is "Eternal" which is a bit fuzzy despite it's heavy groove; "Eternal" seems to lack the clear focus of the band's other work. Elegant use of keyboards throughout the various tracks offset the crystalline metallic sheen of the guitars. Other elements that keep the listener interested are added female vocals that are prevalent in some songs to recent inclusion of industrial noise to the overall Paradise Lost style. In addition, three live tracks are included which gives an added dimension of the band and their sound and lets the listener know this band can pull it off live as well as in the studio.

Phil Alexander, the editor of the famed British hard rock magazine "Kerrang!", wrote the liner notes in a very entertaining fashion. Additional liner notes are provided by the band which gives a unique historical perspective on the development of Paradise Lost through their music.

The line-up of Paradise Lost has remained remarkably stable with only a few changes over the last decade. The current line-up includes Nick Holmes on vocals, Gregor Mackintosh on guitar and keyboards, Aaron Aedy on guitar, Stephen Edmonson on bass, and Lee Morris on drums.

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"Draconian Times" (Music for Nations; 1995)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I had heard some earlier Paradise Lost when I was younger and in a band that lasted only two months. The singer wanted to develop his voice to sound all guttural like this band. I didn’t shine to his choice, and Paradise Lost was just that, lost. A few years later I found a CD of theirs and I remembered the vocal style and I was able to play the CD before I bought it. Was I surprised! The vocals had either changed or matured so that they were not only understandable but sounded inviting. I quickly purchased the CD for $1.00 and researched their sound past this disc.  

Paradise Lost are pioneers in the Goth, Doom and Black metal arena. Unlike some bands that “dabble” in one sound (and then get stuck there), Paradise Lost is forever changing their sound. They often use a new producer for each disc to completely change direction. Fans of one CD may not like the next one, but this band guarantees to pick up new ones anyway. I don’t care for their earlier stuff as I stated before but this disc has Nick Holmes sounding like James Hetfield ... or James sounding like him. Either way the vocals moved into a new direction. 

This disc is more experimental. It has a Goth sound and you can witness some awesome heavy metal guitar. Charles Manson is featured with a speaking part on “Forever Failure.”(!) The guitars are crunchy and melodic; some of the songs could have been played on a few rock stations, but most people probably would have received only a dial tone when they asked for a request. That’s because Paradise Lost are most popular in Europe.  

Paradise Lost: Nick Holmes – vocals; Gregor Mackintosh – lead guitar; Aaron Aedy – rhythm guitar; Steve Edmonson – bass; Lee Morris – drums; Andrew Holdsworth – keyboards.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 07 Mar 2021 19:26:14 -0500 .