BravePicks 2020 - PARADISE LOST's Obsidian #2
December 30, 2020, 10 months ago
If there was any year that music was a true saviour, it was 2020. The ultimate diversion, as the world sits in virtual stagnation waiting anxiously for a fix. We will keep it brief here with the COVID commentary. Let’s let the music speak for itself. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2020 each day in December!
Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021? and Metal Predictions For 2021. Sadly no concerts. But all will be showcased come the New Year!
This virus can go to hell! Let’s let the Top 30 releases of 2020 rock your world!
2) PARADISE LOST - Obsidian (Nuclear Blast)
A masterclass of Gothic metal. That is the most apt statement of Paradise Lost’s newest output. Drifting melodies and unsettling lyrics are offered on Obsidian, but it is the blanketed heaviness that set it apart from their other releases and other albums from 2020. The legendary Brits have found the key to their newfound success and that is remembering they are a metal band and by digging into those roots beloved on their early albums, they have found new life and are back on the top tier of metal acts. Vocalist Nick Holmes delivers and outstanding vocal performance accompanied by stellar guitar work by Aaron Aedy and Greg Mackintosh.
An excerpt of a BraveWords feature with Mackintosh:
It's a gross understatement to say that Obsidian is different from Medusa. Both are distinctly Paradise Lost, but anyone expecting the darkened rage of Medusa is going to be surprised.
"That's the disconcerting thing about this new record. Medusa did far better than I thought it would. The rest of the band were skeptical about doing a doom record, which is what Medusa was. That was my idea because I just wanted to do a fuzzed out doom record, and I asked them to just roll with it. It was probably the most successful Paradise Lost record of the last 15 years. It was definitely the most successful touring we've done in the last 15 years. It was received way better than I thought it would be, and that got me to thinking that maybe Obsidian is not the record that people want (laughs). There are a couple of tracks that have similar traits to the songs on Medusa, but overall it is more varied."
Frontman Nick Holmes describes Obsidian's opening track, "Darker Thoughts", and one of Paradise Lost's most eclectic songs ever. It certainly is not what one expects as an album opener from the band.
"I don't know if it's the most eclectic album we've ever done, but it's definitely more varied than the last one," says Mackintosh. "'Darker Thoughts' as the first song on the album, there is no other place that it could be for us. The song throws people into a false sense of insecurity or security depending on your viewpoint. It's a tester, really. If you can handle that song you can handle the album."
"Obsidian is a result of we did what we did on Medusa, and we didn't want to do it again," he adds. "We kind of always knew that things would go this way, even before we did Medusa. We knew we weren't going to be a doom band for the rest of our career. We have a song on The Plague Within called 'Beneath Broken Earth', and writing that song just made me want to do a full album of shit like that. I knew we weren't going to continue Medusa because it wouldn't have been fulfilling. I probably would have gotten bored of that before the rest of the guys in the band. It's weird because, years ago, it was me that was always the experimental one, and Nick was always trying to rein me in. Now he really pushes me to do whatever I want to do and I'm not sure where that's come from. Maybe I've broken him down over the years (laughs). As long as we're on the same page, as we were with this one, everything is good."
BravePicks 2020 Top 30
2) PARADISE LOST - Obsidian (Nuclear Blast)
3) KATATONIA - City Burials (Peaceville)
4) TESTAMENT - Titans Of Creation (Nuclear Blast)
5) INSIDIOUS DISEASE - After Death (Nuclear Blast)
6) NECROPHOBIC - Dawn Of The Damned (Century Media
7) ARMORED SAINT - Punching The Sky (Metal Blade)
8) ANNIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
9) ALCATRAZZ - Born Innocent (Silver Lining)
10) NAPALM DEATH - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
11) UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Abyss (Napalm)
12) BLACK STONE CHERRY - The Human Condition (Mascot)
13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)
14) ANAAL NATHRAKH - Endarkenment
15) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
16) BENEDICTION - Scriptures (Nuclear Blast)
17) KATAKLYSM - Unconquered (Nuclear Blast)
18) BLACKGUARD - Storm (Independent)
19) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable)
20) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - Verminous (Metal Blade)
21) ENSIFERUM - Thalassic (Metal Blade)
22) PROTEST THE HERO - Palimpsest (Spinefarm)
23) SODOM - Genesis XIX (Steamhammer)
24) INCANTATION - Sect Of Vile Divinities (Relapse)
25) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
26) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
27) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer)
28) KIRK WINDSTEIN - Dream In Motion (Entertainment One)
29) VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
30) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)