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Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol (2012) - Review

Band: Paradise Lost
Album title: Tragic Idol
Release date: 20 April 2012
Label: Century Media

01. Solitary One
02. Crucify
03. Fear Of Impending Hell
04. Honesty In Death
05. Theories From Another World
06. In This We Dwell
07. To The Darkness
08. Tragic Idol
09. Worth Fighting For
10. The Glorious End
11. Ending Through Changes (Ltd. edition bonus)
12. Never Take Me Alive [Spear Of Destiny cover] (Ltd. edition bonus)

25 years of musical excellence, 13 studio albums, the main figure in genre known as gothic metal, originators of the genre and much more. I won't hide that Paradise Lost are one of those groups that had the biggest musical impact on me since their Gothic album was released back in 1991, and each their release since then has deepen my relation to their music. Although they had their ups and downs they remained the group which has guided the trends in gothic and also doom metal. And now Tragic Idol, an outstanding album that certifies the leading role of this group inside the genre and like their albums Icon and Draconian Times in middle 90's is destined to attract also fans of other metal and dark music styles.

From the opening song "Solitary One" with its doom riffage, thunderous drums, strong Nick's vocals with clean refrain and the use of atmospheric keyboard sounds in the background giving connection to their previous works like Symbol Of Life or perhaps Paradise Lost, which seduces at first listen, till the conclusion with another gothic doom hymn "The Glorious End", we are witnessing to a band in its glorious performance, it's like the time has roled back in 1993 when the world heard the album Icon. Yes, Icon is the main reference to Tragic Idol, but with a modern attitude and production. Gregor Mackintosh's guitar playing is out of this world, just listen to the powerful chords and solos in "Crucify". Also more gothic rock guitar driven track like "Worth Fighting For" doesn't lose in anything, contrary just adds to a diversity and dynamics of overall experience. Tragic Idol is an aggressive album with gothic doom ambiance, with some of the fastest tracks Paradise Lost ever recorded, like amazing trio "Theories From Another World", "In This We Dwell" and "To The Darkness", still with a decent doze of melancholy. "In This We Dwell" is an absolute winner in this category with thounderous, yet harmonic guitars, pounding bass lines giving an insane drive, really powerful refrain in which Nick Holmes sings like he was doing it 20 years ago. And finally there are classic Paradise Lost tracks: "Honesty In Death", "Tragic Idol" and "Fear Of Impending Hell" incorporating all that what this band stood behind throughout their long career. You can hear elements from doom classic Shades Of God to moments that are similar to those on One Second, yet, following the structures they incorporated with Icon/ Draconian Times and recently on In Requiem or Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us. What was done to reach the melancholic and dark peak of their songs  with abundant use of electronics from One Second till Symbol Of Life, now it's missing and replaced with aggressive, melodic riffs and plenty of solos accompanied with dynamic vocals, everything making such an impressive dark wall of sound that will force the listener for more. Adrian Erlandsson behind the drums is all that we missed since the departures from Lee Morris and Matthew Archer, still bringing  a lot of playfulness into their sound. Is there a weak point on this album? I can't find one, o.k. maybe someone will miss some experimentations with sounds like we were used to hear from them on their 90's albums, but Paradise Lost  have proven with last three albums that experimentation it's not only in adding new sound, but also with the implementation of sounds they already mastered through their career. The production is once again done by Jens Bogren in The Chapel studios and it adds a perfect tone and depth to the sound.

Tragic Idol is certainly one of those albums that will remain as instant classics of the genre. The classic with it's roots in doom metal, but sounding like a really dark gothic metal album, also because of Nick Holmes's lyrics, which are simple, but powerful, showing his poetical talent dealing with questions about death and dark side of humanity in somehow ironic way. Vinyl and limited edition of this album offers two more songs, another beauty "Ending Through Changes" and the cover song of legendary British alter rock band Spear Of Destiny semi ballad "Never Take Me Alive" from their 1987 album Outland, which shows also the softer side of the band till the magnificent atmospheric ending. What more? Don't wait to get your copy one second anymore!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

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