Paradise Lost is an English Doom Metal band formed in 1988, considered one of the pioneers of the Death/Doom genre, and considered a main influence on the later Gothic Metal movement. At the beginning of their career, the band made a more extreme sound, and together with their compatriots, Anathema and My Dying Bride. At the end of the 1990s, the band approached a more commercial sound, adding elements of electronic rock, which helped to grow their popularity.
The band’s lineup remained stable for many years: vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, and bass guitarist Steve Edmondson. Holmes and Mackintosh are the main songwriters, with credit for almost all of the group’s songs credited to them. Since its formation, there have only been changes in drummers, with Finnish Waltteri Väyrynen currently occupying the position.
Paradise Lost was formed in Halifax, England, in 1988. They signed with Peaceville Records shortly after recording their first demo, releasing their first album, “Lost Paradise”, in February 1990. This, despite the minimalist production and music based very generally on Death Metal, it had good repercussions, selling well and being highly praised in reviews.
In March 1991, they released their second album, Gothic. Through the use of orchestrated passages, low-tuned guitars, eerie female vocals in the background and dark solos, Paradise Lost achieved a distinct, original sound.
In 1992, the band left Peaceville Records and signed a three-year deal with the much larger Music For Nations. With Simon Efemey as their new producer, they entered the studio to record, according to some, their best 11 tracks. In June 1992, “Shades of God” was released. The album featured great riffs, acoustic charts and lyrics on a level never achieved by his previous recordings. Shades of God launched them further and further away from Death Metal into a category that there was still no way to define.
After a highly successful tour, the band returned directly to Longhome Studios, with the same formula by Simon Efemey and designs by Dave McKean. The result was the EP As I Die, released in October 1992, the most acclaimed on European MTV’s Single of the Week, where it achieved high rotation.
The fourth album, Icon, again produced by Simon Efemey, released in June 1993, was hailed as a Gothic Metal masterpiece and cemented their position in the mainstream Metal scene. This work also resulted in the definitive burial of the band’s Death Metal formation.
Another EP in the band’s career, Seals the Sense, was the basis of the band’s shows at festivals in the summer of 1994. In the midst of these, the band grew with each show, performing in front of 70,000 screaming fans at the Rock in show. The Ring, in Nuremberg, Germany. The band continued to play major European festivals and ended the summer with the release of a full-length video with Harmony Breaks in August.
At the end of 1994, drummer Matt Archer left the band when Lee Morris joined. His departure was justified as a “loss of interest in the band”. Despite the change in the band’s lineup, the new drummer did not significantly impact the recording of the following album, Draconian Times, as most of the songs had already been written and even recorded.
In this album (Draconian Times, released in 1995), the band abandoned the Metal that made them famous, leaving their fans disappointed. But, it attracted a different type of audience. The album is full of melodies; it doesn’t have heavy rhythms, but it contains inspired lyrics and impeccable vocals.
The following album, One Second (1997), caused a stir among fans due to its use of electronic drums, rhythms inspired by 1980s synthpop and less guitar. But the band took care that the beautiful melodies contained in this work and the songs attracted and kept old fans and, thus, won over some new ones.
Paradise Lost seemed to have reached its peak, and in 1999, they released an album that surprised their more traditional fans: Host. The influence of the gothic/synthpop sound of the 1980s increased considerably, with the album being very similar to the sound of the band Depeche Mode. The atmospheric atmosphere and the virtual absence of guitars predominate on the album, which caused surprise from many fans, accusing them of selling out.
In 2001, the album “Believe in Nothing” was released – an album that went somewhat unnoticed in the media and also by fans, as after the controversial Host, the band had lost part of its fans and fame. The album itself is an attempt to return to the sound of the past, with more weight and guitars in the songs, but the mix ended up not pleasing the band due to the loss of weight in the final result. On this tour, the band even played at the Wacken open-air festival, without much fanfare from the media; even some band members ignore this album nowadays, as it is a “dark chapter” in the band’s successful career.
The band reached 2002 with the album “Symbol of Life”, which was very well received by specialized critics. With the slogan “the true successor to Draconian Times”, the band returns with a certain weight in their compositions, as in the track “Self-Obssessed”. This album also includes classics such as: “No Celebration” and the single “Erased”, but we also had bad news at the end of the tour: drummer “Lee Morris”, a member since the days of “Draconian Times”, decides to leave the band, leaving his position vacant for the entry of Jeff Singer (ex-Blaze).