Review: Paradise Lost – Symphony For The Lost

Mere months after releasing ‘The Plague Within’ to glowing (often positively drooling) reviews, UK goth metal legends Paradise Lost evidently decided that their loyal fans deserved yet another treat, releasing Symphony For the Lost in November 2015.

The 2CD/DVD package, also available on vinyl, consists of one CD featuring the band playing with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra at the theatre of Phillippopolis in Bulgaria in 2014, another CD of them playing at the same venue but sans orchestra, and a DVD containing the material from both CDs as well as a documentary depicting the difficulties they faced in attempting to stage a metal gig in such a beautiful yet (acoustically, at least) patently unsuitable venue. Interestingly, although the band have utilised orchestras whilst recording in the past, this was the first time they had played live with one – a new experience for both band and fans, you could say.

CD1 opens with ‘Tragic Idol’ from the 2012 album of the same name. It becomes immediately apparent that Paradise Lost’s doomy brand of gothic metal suits orchestral accompaniment down to the ground and it lends their songs a rather lush, symphonic feel. Each song is greeted by screams of delight and frontman Nick Holmes interacts well with the crowd, taking them along for a ride that was probably as exciting for the band themselves as for the audience. Guitar solos such as those in ‘Last Regret’ and 1993’s ‘Joys Of the Emptiness’ are given a glorious boost, while the more delicate moments of tracks such as ‘Your Own Reality’ and ‘Victims of the Past’ (the only song from what would then have been their upcoming album The Plague Within)are painted with beautifully elegant brush strokes with the addition of the orchestra’s pomp and glory.

CD2 sees the band on their own and bringing out the big guns such as 2007’s ‘The Enemy’ and a spectacular ‘Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us’ from the 2009 album of the same name. Standing alone with no gimmicks, just amazing songs and a skyscraping level of power and might, this is Paradise Lost at their best. It really is a joy to listen to (or watch, if you’re checking out the DVD).

Said DVD also contains the aforementioned twenty-five minute documentary detailing the concert’s logistics, as well as a bit of backstage to-ing and fro-ing. There’s nothing controversial or jaw-dropping, apart from the footage of the stunning venue, but it’s well worth a watch nonetheless.

If you’re a PL fan, this is well worth shelling out a few quid for, or a few quid more than that, if you’re a vinyl fan. It shows a band that, almost thirty years into their career, are still at their towering best.

Symphony For the Lost can be purchased from Century Media or from OMerch.

Review: Melaine Brehaut

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