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paradiselost liveatthemill
Artist: Paradise Lost
Title: Live At The Mill
Genre: Gothic Rock / Gothic Metal
Release Date: 16th July 2021
Label: Nuclear Blast


Album Review

A bit over a year ago I had an interview with Nick Holmes about PARADISE LOST’s up and coming release ‘Obsidian’. Back in the days everybody hoped that the pandemic situation would have ended in autumn and live shows would be possible again. Well, we all know that this turned out to be a pipe-dream but live-streams were established and so some live-music came into our lockdown living rooms. PARADISE LOST did not play an ordinary stage set up, but adjusted their stage setting to the place, where the recoding took place: The Mill, a nightclub in Yorkshire, close to the band’s hometown. The whole thing took place on November 5th 2020 and filled the dreary gap in the calendar for November is a classic month for touring the clubs in many bands and fans schedules.

“Due to the ban on live music, we, like many other bands, have had to adapt and do something we never thought we’d have to do”, reflects guitarist and songwriter Greg Mackintosh on the release. “No, not stacking shelves in Aldi like METALLICA, but playing a show at a disused mill in Yorkshire with no one else there. We decided against trying to pretend there was an audience in the room with us, opting instead for a rather moribund version of a live lounge show. Whilst never being pleased with anything, we were however slightly less miserable at the result. It was also almost fun playing some of our new album Obsidian within the set for the first time too. We can now announce that we will be releasing this show as an official CD / Blu-Ray and vinyl imaginatively entitled At the Mill.”

PARADISE LOST approached the whole project with a dream team of people they had cooperated with over the years. The recording of the show was directed by Ash Pears who had directed several videos for ‘Obsidian’ and ‘Medusa’ and mixed by Les Smith. The audio version of the show was mastered by Jamie Gomez Arellano, who was responsible for some of the band’s best releases in the past. The show had been recorded in a rather low-key set up. The band members all dressed in black against a setup with white light. When I watched the live-stream I inwardly congratulated the band on choosing a setup with several cameras that showed the band from several angles with cuts that were not too hasty and showing the musicians at their best. Sound wise it was the best production I had listened to, so far.

The album opens with a surprise for those who have attended PARADISE LOST’s live shows and know their “Classic” openers. ‘Widow’ had been chosen as the first song and been stripped down to a quite raw version that brutally kicks you awake. Congratulations to the band, they have my full attention on their music now. ‘Fall From Grace’ is the first song of ‘obsidian’ that is performed live and offers Nick Holmes a perfect opportunity that he’s in a perfect form vocal wise. ‘Blood and Chaos’ from Medusa follows suit in the dark and gloomy atmosphere is still there, without all the effects a studio recording comes with. The live stream version of ‘Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us’ is one of the best live performances of the song I ever heard and it was worth to watch the stream just for this highlight (and many followed.) The mix for the album adds a layer of deepness I would never have expected in a live recording and makes the song a gem of PARADISE LOST’s back catalogue.

It seems that PARADISE LOST thought “Highlight after Highlight” when they created the setlist and ‘Gothic’ comes in an epic quality that reminded me of live performances dating app 25 or 30 years ago. During the last years I read several concert reviews that criticised Nick’s vocal performance and it seems that this show was meant to be a punch in the face of these critics. Nick’s vocals reach a quality that reminds you of the bands early very gloomy recordings. The only track from ‘Draconian Times’ on the setlist is ‘Shadow Kings’ that comes with a solid performance, but that’s the fate of a band that has such an enormous back catalogue, they have so many fantastic songs to choose from, that hardly all the highlights can make it on one and the same setlist.

Now the setlist takes us to one of the gloomiest releases of the band and this version is a masterpiece of ‘One Second’ followed by the author’s favourite song of their current album ‘Obsidian’. ‘Ghosts’ this perfect song that appeals to my Goth side and comes with influences of Post-Punk and PARADISE LOST’s signature Metal attitude. The live version opens with a strong bass-line and the remaining instruments form a perfect background for the vocals. Hell, I’m so looking forward to hear and see this live during a concert. The audio version of ‘The Enemy’ exceeds the live version that was loud. The mix added a more detailed focus on the instruments and both together creates a soundscape that makes you think “Hell Yeah!” for sure.

‘Requiem’ is a song that is on the lists of my all-time favourite song and it seems that the band had listened quite a lot to BLACK SABBATH recently, for this quite unique version reminded me a lot of this epic bands approach to music. The next song is a highlight of every live set of PARADISE LOST and I’m quite sure that there would be loud protest if the song would not appear on a setlist. We are talking ‘As I Die’ that comes with a great Doom attitude but not too heavy so it doesn’t dominate the set. A very clear version of ‘No Hope in Sight’ follows suit and the live stream ended with ‘Embers Fire’ for those who had only bought a regular ticket for the stream. Guys you really missed some Highlights, so if you didn’t buy a VIP ticket, make sure to grab the audio recording now.

‘Beneath Broken Earth’ was released on ‘A Plague Within’ and is a real highlight due to the heavy riffing. ‘So Much Is Lost’ is a song that is laden with effects in the album-version, but PARADISE LOST reduced it to the essentials to form of a guitar prone version. The show ends with the opener of ‘Obsidian’ and the circle closes. ‘Darker Thoughts’ starts with a clean nearly folk orientated approach, gathers strength and intensity riff by riff, adds a touch of Goth to end up in a heavy Doom atmosphere.

‘At The Mill’ is a perfect live album. The songs are stripped down to their essentials and performed by those who wrote them to suit their individual instrument. The mix perfectly merges the intense layers of sound the bandmembers play live, without the sound wise disadvantages of an outdoor venue or a massive crowd. PARADISE LOST made a fantastic setlist of 16 songs released on 11 different albums, offering the first ever live performance of some songs from their latest release ‘Obsidian’ and making the fans the gift of a live performance of some of their all-time favourite songs. To make it short: PARADISE LOST at their best and proving that they are ready to shake the planets live venues as soon, as touring will be possible again. If you want to hear the whole album live, you can order it on CD, Blue-Ray, Vinyl and some bundles.


Tracklist

01. Widow
02. Fall from Grace
03. Blood and Chaos
04. Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
05. Gothic
06. Shadowkings
07. One Second
08. Ghosts
09. The Enemy
10. As I Die
11. Requiem
12. No Hope in Sight
13. Embers Fire
14. Beneath Broken Earth
15. So Much Is Lost
16. Darker Thoughts


Line-up

Nick Holmes - Vocals
Greg Mackintosh - Lead Guitar
Aaron Aedy - Rhythm Guitar
Steve Edmondson - Bass
Waltteri Väyrynen - Drums


Website

www.paradiselost.co.uk / www.facebook.com/paradiselostofficial


Cover Picture

paradiselost liveatthemill


Rating

Music: 10
Sound: 10
Total: 10 / 10




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