Paradise Lost

Tragic Idol

01. Solitary One
02. Crucify
03. Fear Of Impending Hell
04. Honesty In Death
05. Theories From Another World
06. In This We Dwell
07. To The Darkness
08. Tragic Idol
09. Worth Fighting For
10. The Glorious End

[04/24/12]
[Century Media Records]

Admittedly I’m a pretty new listener when it comes to Paradise Lost. I was introduced to them about a year ago, and I took the time to listen to a few albums from each of their eras; the doomey/death stuff they started out with, the gothic/hard rock stuff they dabbled in, and all the weird shit in between then and now, where they’ve returned to their metaphorical roots. The band has a lot to offer for fans of a diverse taste, and they have been able to captivate a lot of listeners for nearly 25 years, but one can’t help but feel like they’ve past their prime, especially when taking into consideration their latest offering the well-titled album, Tragic Idol.

Tragic Idol is very much a continuation of the sound that Paradise Lost have decided to partake in with their last few albums, a return to a more doom centric metal sound. Unfortunately this one is much less of an evolution, and more of a rehash than anything else. The entire album plods along at a frustratingly middle of the road pace that leaves a lot to be desired. Nothing is as heavy or doomey as their previous album, Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us, and most of the riffs feel repetitive and generic. A few of the times that I listened to this album felt like I was on the same song for nearly an hour. What it all boils down to is that the song writing is lackluster, boring, and just plain uneventful.

Another huge problem for this album is the production. Yeah, I’m sure a lot of you are annoyed at us for pointing out the vague problems with “production” on other reviews, but this is an album where the “sound” is such a drastic problem that it really needs to be addressed. It’s all well mixed and everything is clearly audible, but there’s no real dynamic sound to it. Doom metal requires a certain sort of atmospheric quality for it to really grip and captivate a listener. Without that sense of grandeur and hazy atmosphere the music just seems like a bunch of pointless riffing and emotionally flat vocal lines about death. There’s enough of that kind of music out in the metal world, and we certainly don’t need anymore.

Which brings me to the vocals. I’ve often thought that I was spoiled when it comes to vocals, as most of my favorite artists always feature a wide array of vocal inflections and tonal shifts, but even without those I can still enjoy a vocal performance and the lyrics that accompany it. However, Paradise Lost fall so flat in this area. They’ve never been a band that has excelled at dynamic vocal performances, but this album is just sort of sad. There’s two types of vocals on this album; big, mid-paced, beefy growled vocals, and slow clean vocals. Sometimes the growls take center stage and dominate a song, sometimes the clean, and sometimes they trade off! Wow! But like the guitar work and the drumming, it’s all very flaccid sounding, and repetitive. There’s no hooks of any kind, no interesting vocal melodies, and the lyrics are your typical, and boring spiel about death and the afterlife. Nothing new, nothing eventful.

I had high hopes for this album, and I went into with an open mind. I loved their previous album, and a lot of their back catalogue, but this album just feel short for me. I have absolutely no desire to revisit it, and there’s not a single song that stood out or grabbed me in any sense. Maybe long time fans will enjoy this thing, but it’s not for me. It’s just too boring.

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol gets…

2/5

– EC

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