History & BiographyParadise Lost of Halifax, England was founded in 1988 as a death metal band before drifting towards gothic doom. The band’s line-up, aside from the drumming position, has been remarkably stable despite the change of style and journey through multiple record labels. Paradise Lost’s name is often uttered in the same sentence as My Dying Bride and Anathema with whom they shared an initial label, namely Peaceville, recording studio, styles and country of origin.
The band was heard first in 1988 through the Morbid Existence rehearsal and Paradise Lost demo. The Frozen Illusion demo of 1990 was produced by Hammy and got the band signed to Peaceville. The debut album of 1990 was, in fact, recorded in 1989. The band issued a live video called Live Death featuring half a dozen tracks. At this stage the band features deathly growls and plays death metal, something that would soon give way to doomier gothic elements and softer vocals influenced by Sisters Of Mercy. Speaking of which, Gothic featured synthesizers and female vocals. Assorted Heap opened for the band in 1991. The band toured Europe with DVC, Unleashed and Protector during April of 92. The group also toured with Cathedral. As I Die was a successful track and EP for the band.
Shades Of God is something of a breakthrough for the band and is distributed in the USA by Metal Blade. Morbid Angel had Kreator and Paradise Lost open for it in Canada. Reportedly, the band and Morbid Angel did not get along. Moreover, the band has a problem with Satanic metallers in Sweden. Opeth, Tapping The Vein and Paradise Lost hit Europe. The group also played with Invocator. The band toured with Benediction. Drummer Archer left in 1993, which would become a pattern for the band. The group appeared at Rock Am Ring in 1994. Draconian Times had hints of Metallica in its music. Nick completed a 1,500-mile motorcycle charity run in Australia in 1996. One Second featured synth elements. Host was the band’s major label debut. By 2005 the band was quite popular, especially in Germany, and even had tinges of Metallica and Depeche Mode in its music. Callenish Circle was announced as the opening act for Paradise Lost on its Mexican tour in January of 2006. The band played with Novembre in 2007. Drummer Jeff Singer quit the band in 2008 in pursuit of a paying career and more time with his family. The British goth rockers had to cancel all touring for the time being including shows in South America. Paradise Lost recruited Adrian Erlandsson (Cradle Of Filth, Brujeria, At The Gates, etc.) as its new drummer in early 2009. The gang picked Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us as the title for its 2009 album, which was due in September through Century Media Records. The album was recorded at Fascination Street Studio in Örebro, Sweden with producer Jens Bogren. Paradise Lost headlined the Jägermeister Stage at Ozzfest on 18 September 2010. Jeff Singer filled in for Adrian at a few concerts. The band undertook a 25th anniversary tour in late 2013.
The band kicked off 2015 by entering Orgone Studios in London, England with Jaimie Gomez Arellano to record a new album for a spring of 2015 release through Century Media. The band believed it would be a heavy album. Paradise Lost performed with an orchestra on September 20th, 2014 at the Roman theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and issued it in 2015 as the Symphony For The Lost (announced as ‘Symphony Of The Lost’ initially) CD and DVD. The group signed to Nuclear Blast in 2016. Paradise Lost announced a tour of North America in support of the Medusa album. Openers were Sólstafir and The Atlas Moth. My Dying Bride booted drummer Shaun Steels "due to unresolvable drumming issues" to start 2019. He was replaced by Jeff Singer. Greg Mackintosh had a new act called Strigoi and since Paradise Lost was signed to Nuclear Blast now the former act’s Abandon All Faith album was also being issued by Nuclear Blast. This was a return to heavier times. Decibel Books published a Paradise Lost biography, called No Celebration: The Official Story Of Paradise Lost, in 2019.
Paradise Lost released the At The Mill livestream as a live album and DVD on July 16th. Birth Ritual Records was issuing Draconian Times Live MMXI of 2011 on tape on June 30th 2021. The band was touring Europe in October and November 2022. Support came from Hangman’s Chair. In the meantime, the band lost drummer Waltteri Väyrynen and replaced him with Guido Montanarini (Strigoi). Väyrynen jumped ship to join Opeth replacing Sami Karppinen who, in turn, had replaced Martin Axenrot. This last man was also in Bloodbath with Paradise Lost singer Nick Holmes. Opeth singer Mikael Akefeldt was in Bloodbath previously. Opeth and Paradise Lost were managed by Northern Music Co. Host, an electronica and goth side-project from Nick Holmes and Greg Mackintosh, was to release its debut album IX through Nuclear Blast Records on 24.03.2023. Paradise Lost had an album called Host in 1999. Denmark’s Næstved Metalfest, which would take place in August 2023, booked Artillery, Grave, Illdisposed, Paradise Lost and Cabal. The band made drummer Guido Zima Montanarini a full-time member in 2023 after road testing him for six months. The act was booked for Candelabrum Metal Fest in Mexico in 2023 alongside Grave, Mork Gryning, Deceased, Heathen, Sacramentum, Unanimated, Draconian and others. Another self-cover version record emerged when Paradise Lost re-recorded its Icon album of 1993 for its thirtieth anniversary. The band was using the Embers Of Europe monicker to tour Europe with My Dying Bride in December.
The Englishmen were named after the poem Paradise Lost by the poet John Milton. Greg Mackintosh is married to the band’s back-up singer Heather Thompson.
PARADISE LOST - IN REQUIEM - CENTURY MEDIA
It is certainly odd to listen to Never For The Damned, In Requiem’s opener, and be reminded of Metallica, but that is the case helped immensely by Nick Holmes’ vocals. Further into the song Paradise Lost delves into its trademark gothic, dark corners but the song retains a clear heavy metal feel. Ash & Debris follows and carries heavy doomy riffs and a good dosage of the gothic melancholy. Enemy, dominated by heavy riffs, is somewhat catchy. Praise Lamented Shades is gothic and dark through and through and the listener can hear where a commercially successful band like Linkin Park could have drawn some of their inspiration. Besides the purely Paradise Lost elements Requiem is sometimes a mix of progressive and heavy metal not unlike a Dream Theater and Pantera fusion. Unreachable is more gothic and melancholy with clean vocals aplenty. Prelude To Descent drops a bit of the doomy into the mix again. Fallen Children doesn’t add anything to what has been done already. Beneath Black Skies is of the Type O Negative school of gothic. Sedative God is on the heavier and catchier side of things. Your Own Reality closes Paradise Lost’s latest with a ballad. In short, In Requiem will satisfy fans of the band and the genre but others will be hard pressed to accept all of the 45 minutes here. - Anna Tergel