“I love how they’ve evolved over the years. They’ve taken risks, but always stayed true to themselves.” Watch the time Lacuna Coil singer Cristina Scabbia joined her idols Paradise Lost onstage in 2013

Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil and Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost onstage in 2012
(Image credit: Chiaki Nozu/WireImage | Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images)

Paradise Lost are one of the most underrated bands in the history of heavy metal. Shortly after they formed in Halifax in 1988, the Yorkshiremen became one of the “Peaceville three”: a unit of bands on the label of the same name who refined the death/doom genre. That alone would make frontman Nick Holmes, guitarist Gregor Mackintosh and their cohorts worthy of adulation, but since then the quintet have leapt between styles without putting a foot wrong. They pioneered gothic metal with 1993’s Icon, then laudably forayed into synthpop and dance-rock before, nowadays, settling at the junction of every genre they’ve previously explored.

Though Paradise Lost were never the arena-sized superstars they deserve to be (anthems like The Last Time and One Second practically beg for thousands-strong singalongs), for most millennial metalheads, they’re your favourite band’s favourite band. Turn-of-the-2000s goth icons from Him to Cradle Of Filth have all acknowledged the masters’ influence. However, none of them have been a more outspoken champion than Cristina Scabbia, co-singer of Italian sensations Lacuna Coil.

In a 2019 interview with Kerrang!, Cristina named Embers Fire, the opening track of aforementioned game-changer Icon, as “the song that made me want to be a goth”.

Icon and [1995 followup] Draconian Times are my favourite Paradise Lost records, and they both remind me of that turning point in my life,” she said. “[Paradise Lost] have been a massive influence on me and fed my fascination with the darker side of music. I love how they’ve evolved over the years. They’ve taken risks, but always stayed true to themselves.”

Lacuna Coil went on to become pioneers in their own right, transcending the Italian metal scene with their meticulously honed melodies and graceful darkness. As a result, at the 2013 Golden God Awards, we at Metal Hammer hosted a clash of the black-fingernailed titans. Cristina joined her heroes onstage during a commemorative 25th-anniversary mini-set, helping sing their pop rock set-closer Say Just Words.

Frankly, it’s a team-up so good that we’re both stunned and disappointed that we never got anything like it again. Cristina’s silken vocals are the perfect complement to Nick Holmes’ far more gravelly delivery, a chemistry evocative of the one she enjoys with her snarling Lacuna Coil co-frontperson, Andrea Ferro. The rest of the band are unsurprisingly tight to a fault, given they’d played the track hundreds of times by this point, yet they sound especially spotless with human metronome Adrian Erlandsson (also of At The Gates) on the kit.

Paradise Lost’s performance in London that night was stacked with surprises, also including the live debut of 2012 song Theories From Another World and a Black Sabbath cover with Gus G. on guitar. But, this was far and away the most special part. Two generations of gothic metal trailblazers united for one fleeting moment – a moment that fans of both parties still replay more than a decade on.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.