It’s difficult to imagine a band remaining strong and continuously creative over a 25-year period. A quarter of a century is a long time to remain active and not only active, but in PARADISE LOST’s case, incredibly influential over the lengthy life span. Releasing their debut back in 1990, PARADISE LOST were able to quickly establish themselves with the following record Gothic, which would set the tone for the future of the British doom metal scene. However, with 1992’s Shades of God, the band were able to capture a sound that would inspire the remainder of their career as well as countless other musicians along the way. With a reissue of the album on picture vinyl on the horizon, it allows the perfect excuse to talk about one of the more interesting releases in the bands long legacy.
Whilst being flanked by two albums many consider to be superior, the aforementioned Gothic and Icon, Shades Of God saw PARADISE LOST become far more creative with their sound whilst also entrenching themselves deeper into the very fabric of doom metal. The opening track Mortals Watch The Day has a close affinity to thrash metal whilst further in the album Daylight Torn boasts a monstrously heavy riff that simply oozes doomy atmosphere. The ability and mastery of these elements continues through the album all the way to epic close As I Die, which remains a late highlight of the record as the chorus is painfully wrenched from Nick Holmes’ voice.
The power behind each riff is testament to the brilliant mix on the album. Every song is able to display with pride its constituent elements. The bass line on Crying For Eternity stands centre and carries the track wonderfully, but not to the detriment of any other instruments. Being able to latch onto each instrument and follow it with such ease allows for new and interesting motifs to pop out with further listens. Nick Holmes vocal delivery is truly worth mentioning as well, as his screams sound gravelly and raw, a style that would soon be phased out of the bands sound. None the less, the vocals compliment the riffs incredibly well, aiding in creating the dense, doom ridden atmosphere. Also giving a little bit of humanity to the assault, making it all the more intriguing to listen further.
What follows on from this album is a career that is unrivalled within doom metal and indeed across many other genres. PARADISE LOST have an influential reach that spans multiple bands and individuals and this early release shows just why they are so revered. The tone of the album is forever shifting, but done so in such a natural way that it never feels bogged down by the transitions. The power of each riff is immense and the crystal clear sound that Shades Of God bathes in allows it to be a labyrinth of discovery across multiple listens. Whilst perhaps not their most flushed out and well realised album, Shades Of God still deserves recognition for being a genuinely under looked gem in the PARADISE LOST lineage.
Shades of God is set for release on July 22nd on 12″ picture disc via Music For Nations.
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