Lords of Metal review » Paradise Lost - Symbol Of Life


Paradise Lost - Symbol Of Life
Gun Records

Paradise Lost - Symbol Of LifeFerdi: The controversy that Paradise Lost caused with the provoking album One Second (’97) made the band the subject of many conversations between shocked fans. When the two albums Host and Believe in Nothing were released, those conversation shrunk in number. Something happened that might be the worst thing that could happen to a band: the old fans in the metalscene didn’t develop an opinion on the subsequent records. Not a positive one, not a negative one, no opinion at all. Disappointed by the deception that was One Second people ignore Paradise Lost, not caring about a new release and focussing on the thousandths of other great cd’s instead.

In some respects this is the make-it-or-break-it album for Paradise Lost. My prediction? It’s a break-it album. That is, for the metalscene. Because there’s not much on Symbol Of Life to please fans of the old gothic/doom sound of the band. Granted, this cd sounds a bit heavier than the last two efforts. But the band has added lots of electronic elements to the sound that subsequently set it apart from traditional rock/metal. A lot of the songs use a drumcomputer, some even have dancebeats and most of them use samples. With this cd the band proves once and for all that they’re much closer to being an alternative rockband than to being a metalband with a metalsound. Knowing this I think it’s safe to say that Paradise Lost has little to offer to the fans of the old material, even less than on the last three records.

There’s a lot of untapped commercial potential for this band in the alternative rock-scene, and I really believe that that scene has more to offer to Paradise Lost than the metalscene. If the band manages to get their break in the scene of bands like Marylyn Manson and Rammstein, then I wouldn’t be surprised if this band’s following again rises in numbers. But somewhere deep inside I feel like these muscisians, all in their thirties, are to ordinary and not shocking enough to appeal to a teen audience. And that’s a bloody shame. Because despite the changes in the sound, Symbol Of Life is a really good cd. The songs follow a clear pattern, have a decent structure, and still manage to surprise. The added electronics add an extra dimension to PL’s typical sound, and at times even makes it danceable. But I wouldn’t call it commercial, the music is much to melancholic to be labelled as poppy. And the production is very good, even my rough mixed promo sounds excellent. For the band it would be a blessing if for once the metalscene dropped all prejudices and opened their minds towards other styles of music. Because if you stop looking as Symbol Of Life as a conventional metal-cd you might even find it very enjoyable. But unfortunately I don’t really see that happening. Narrow-mindedness and the metalscene are connected to eachother as bread and peanutbutter. And that’s not even a bad thing. The tragedy for this band though, is that they’ve made a good record, but one that will be unnoticed by the general record-buying audience.

Paradise Lost’s case is in that respect comparable to that of Moonspell, Samael and Tiamat. Those three bands have all had their experimental phases, and kept making changes to their music, not caring about how many old fans they’ve lost with it. People who’ve always liked those three bands are probably the same people who’ll also appreciate Symbol Of Life. Those who were hoping that Paradise Lost would return to the sound of their cd Gothic are probably better off buying the new cd from the Finnish band rapture. Paradise Lost is one of the bands who have done great amounts of good work for the metalscene in the past, but who’s audience turned their backs on them when they radically changed their style. A bummer for the band, but at the same time it’s completely understandable. 





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