Paradise Lost w/Tribulation and Lucifer
October 4th @ KOKO, London
Hype surrounding a band is either indicative of said band being incredibly talented and worth your time, or, on the flipside, a band that has had all the right people push them but they may not be as interesting as other similar acts out there. The support for Paradise Lost tonight includes both of those scenarios and it’s unfortunate for Lucifer that they don’t quite have the songs to back up the excitement that surrounds them. Forming from the ashes of The Oath, Johanna Sadonis went on to form this outfit, and despite the talent that resides within, Lucifer just aren’t very exciting. Songs sound too alike to really stand out and Sadonis’ stage presence feels somewhat forced. Lucifer are a watered down version of the previous band and it’s a shame that the best song of the over-long, forty minute set, comes right at the end with a delightful “Morning Star.” Time will tell whether this group will make it, and ultimately they deserve a chance as deep down this band has the capacity and passion to do so.
Tribulation on the other hand, completely justify the praise they’ve been receiving with the release of The Children of the Night earlier this year. While this Swedish band have been plying their gothic and blackened death metal style for a number of years, it seems as though 2015 has allowed their stars to finally align as their name has been on many lips (although those in the know will tell you they’ve always been this damn good) for months and the anticipation for their performance has been building in the interlude. for"Strange Gateways Beckon" marks their arrival and the following forty five minute pass by far too quickly. Frontman Johannes Andersson commands attention and his presence is a powerful reminder that substance will often win over style and when Tribulation sadly leave after their time is up, they do so with at least a thousand new fans.
The Plague Within is Paradise Lost's newest work and it's a remarkable record that pulls together everything that makes this veteran band so good. Melody, weight, sadness and small glimmers of hope permeate the album and as such, is mirrored in their performance. Nick Holmes commands the audience with wit and humilty, throwing up self-deprecating remarks and talking about how dark the material is before allowing the crowd to fall headlong into the world they have been creating for over twenty years. Paradise Lost have remained popular for that entire time with fans old and new alike embracing changes in their sound and tonight the band showcase the best of their career.
"No Hope in Sight" begins the evening on soaring melodies and heavy instrumentation before "Widow" falls into view and takes us back to near the beginning of the band. "Gothic" follows and is a devastating reminder that Paradise Lost were the progenators of an entire genre with the Gothic album often cited as a seminal part of musical history. So much so, that it is going to be part of a special Roadburn Festival performance next year.
The past is easliy married to the present and "Terminal" and "Victim of the Past" surround "Praise Lamented Shade" and show that Paradise Lost haven't mislaid their passion for their craft. Older tracks sound as fresh as they did on first release and new tracks fit lovingly into the set. The crowd are enraptured adn the band give them absolutely everything in return with "Cry Out" inciting a mass sing-a-long and the shattering doom of "Beneath Broken Earth" bringing the mood to a devasting low.
Tonight, Paradise Lost show exactly why they've been creating and playing music for so long - their drive and enthusiasm is clear to see and the music that pours from them is full of love and energy and deep, deep emotion. "As I Die" renders many watching breathless, and "Requiem" seals their fate. Paradise Lost fill this beautiful venue with sadness, despair and melancholy, but with that comes humanity and soul and a timeless grace.