Paradise Lost Paradise Lost

The fickle fancies of the metal community have not been considerate to Paradise Lost — a group who have spent the last ten years distancing themselves from a genre they essentially spearheaded. This self-titled effort, their first for Abacus and hands down their strongest release since Draconian Times, sees them all but abandoning the rampant Depeche Mode-isms and borderline nu-metal of the last three efforts. Opting for a more seamless and consistent blend of new wave, dark pop and doom metal, every track is a winner, or at the very least, an adequate time-passer until the next showstopper lands. Vocalist Nick Holmes has allowed his thrash-y, coarser vocal delivery of old considerably more presence then in recent years, but apart from that, do not expected a retread of Shades Of God. These songs are replete with sing-along choruses — i.e. no bellowing of any kind — and are saturated with the effects and squeaky clean production values one should expect from Front Line Assembly front-man and Fear Factory collaborator Rhys Fulber. This also marks the debut of skins-man Jeff Singer (ex-Blaze), who’s performance is considerably more dynamic than the group’s electronic dabbling and strictly regimented songwriting has ever allowed in the past. If you have been giving this pioneering powerhouse the cold shoulder since One Second, or have simply never bothered to investigate their considerable catalogue, now is the time to reconsider. (Abacus)