Album Review: Paradise Lost – The Lost And The Painless

04 Paradise Lost - Anne C. Swallow

Album Review: Paradise Lost - The Lost And The Painless
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Damnation in Leeds recently, this release may be very timely. There is no doubting that this was an impressive album, which has become more favourably viewed with the passage of time. The band’s second release for Peaceville Records, it marked a significant shift in tempo and style from their 1990 debut ‘Lost Paradise’.

This limited edition drags us back kicking and screaming to the beginning of the nineties with remastered versions of both albums along with demo and live material, DVD and 92-page booklet written by music journalist Nick Ruskell, who along with members of the band scope the history of the band through retrospective eyes. It apparently includes recollections from Paul “Hammy” Halmshaw, Barney Greenway, My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe & also Chris Reifert who toured with Paradise Lost whilst in Autopsy. With a forward from Dani Flith, and a selection of rare photos from photographer Porl Medlock. I’ll have to invite you to purchase your own copy to check out the booklet, as I haven’t had access to that or the DVD that covers four shows.

Disc one contains demos which are extreme. The band’s early music is unsurprisingly heavy, containing bruising death metal influences. The raw sound is something that may be something of a surprise to newer fans of the band, although recent releases ‘The Plague Within’ and ‘Medusa’ saw the band return to their roots with vocalist Nick Holmes reprising the demonic death metal growls that graced the band’s early works.

Remasters of ‘Lost Paradise’ and ‘Gothic’ have been issued in the past, and there’s little comment needed about these or the other studio recording, the remaster of the ‘Gothic’ E.P. The change of style between the albums with the incorporation of keyboards and female vocals is striking, even now.

Album Review: Paradise Lost – The Lost And The Painless

It's the live recordings that are likely to be of interest to long-time fans even though the band already have seven live recordings to their name. The production values are reasonable, with 1989’s ‘Live Death’ highlighting the early, primitive sound the band were developing. To hear Nick Holmes speaking to the audience in a death metal voice is a remanent from a distant pass, with phrases such as “alright you arseholes, let’s see some movement down the front” hilarious given the static status of the majority of the band’s fans today. The full version of 1991’s ‘Live in Ludwigsburg’ incorporates songs from both ‘Lost Paradise’ and ‘Gothic’ and it’s a rare opportunity to hear the band’s progression from the ‘Live Death’ recording a couple of years earlier. Unsurprisingly you catch audience chatter throughout, and despite the best efforts to clean it up, this is mainly Holmes snarling vocals, Matthew Archer’s drums and Stephen Edmondson’s bass, whilst Gregor Mackintosh’s guitar does occasionally cut through the mix.

As a snapshot of time, ‘The Lost and the Painless’ does its job. Whether you’d want to spend too many hours relistening to bootlegs depends on your persuasion. Paradise Lost have reissued a lot of their music in recent times. This is merely the latest offering and whilst it is great to have a record of those early years, I’d wager that this is a package for those whose wallet is as deep as their love for the band.

ICYMI - Check out our recent interview with Aaron here.

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