Paradise Lost's Obsidian: turning bleakness into beauty

Power and beauty from Halifax’s finest Paradise Lost with 16th album Obsidian

Paradise Lost - Obsidian
(Image: © Nuclear Blast)

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While pacing the floor and gnawing your knuckles in lockdown, there are two ways you can handle the unique horror of 2020. 

You could take the full-colour, bright and optimistic option. But if that’s just not in your DNA, then Paradise Lost are back with the perfect noise for embracing, owning and then casting out the darkness. 

Three years on from the uncompromising Medusa, Obsidian finds the band playing to their strengths magnificently, from the ponderous, paranoid, string-drenched doom of opener Darker Thoughts, to the utterly magnificent, sumptuous goth dream of Ghosts, a thing of inky wonder that combines militaristic, driving rhythms with atmospheric, swirling riffs. 

With 32 years of influences and invention under their belt, they mix in metal and alt.rock flourishes with laser accuracy, packed with ideas but not a note surplus to requirements, with frontman Nick Holmes’s portentous growl piling drama on top of the drama. 

The volcanic glass the album takes its title from is said to protect against negative energy, and here Paradise Lost pull the same trick by turning the bleakness in on itself to create something beautiful.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.