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'The Plague Within'
(Century Media Records)

jools green

Jools Green

paradise lost

'The Plague Within' is studio full length number fourteen from death/doom pioneers Paradise Lost and irrespective of how you view this collection there is no denying that in their twenty seven years as a band they have never been afraid to be experimental with their sound, often boundary pushing, occasionally berated for their choice of direction, but never shaken in their determination to produce extreme music that both challenges their capabilities and inspires them.

This latest offering is much more reminiscent of their earlier works with a stronger emphasis on death Metal than they have had on some of their more recent releases. The sound is more guitar led and there is also a greater emphasis on death Metal growling from Nick Holmes.

The tracks feature classic Paradise Lost bleak morbidity, emanating from Gregor's melodies, which are rich with melancholy and as you would expect and they have also maintained their morbid emphasis in their lyrical content.

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It's a ten track offering spanning a generous fifty minutes, opening on the haunting, doom laden 'No Hope In Sight', with powerfully delivered cleans alongside the growls and beautifully melancholic swathes of lead work set amongst chugging riffs.

'Terminal' is bleak but with a steady pace to its construct and a blackened edge to the riffs.

I like the morbid buzzing riffs weaving across 'An Eternity Of Lies', overlaid with higher picking and there is also a very atmospheric vocal range here; a mix of haunting harmonies, cleans, some which even have a gothic edge and growls with haunting lead work in the second half.

paradise lost

'Punishment Through Time' has a superb, dirty, sleazy groove to the guitars while one of my favourite tracks of the release, 'Beneath Broken Earth', is a superb chunk of hypnotic death/doom with harrowing growls and lyrics topped off with haunting lead work.

Another favourite of mine, 'Sacrifice The Flame', is slow, dark and powerful with haunting violins, depressive riffs and harsh growls while 'Victim Of The Past' is bleak and reflective with great riffs.

'Flesh From Bone', initially dark and sombre, overlaid by haunting riffs maintained predominantly across the track but the pace takes you by surprise in places because on the brief occasions when it does pick up, it's to quite a frantic pace with intense riffing and a battery of drum work.

For a bit of variety 'Cry Out' has a very up tempo with a delightfully sleazy groove but the vocals growls and haunting overlying riffs keep it dark.

Final track, 'Return To The Sun' took a couple of listens to get into but it does have some rather good, haunting guitar work and orchestration.

'The Plague Within' is sure to appeal to all Paradise Lost fans particularly those of you who prefer their earlier work and maybe attract some new ones, I think it's well worth a listen.

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