Paradise Lost are in the building to celebrate their 25 years as a band, and they have bought along some mates for the evening. Lacuna Coil are phenomenal support act, but when you add Katatonia to the mix as openers – and by the way all bands are playing over an hour each, this really is quite spectacular.
The Swedes are on this tour with an anniversary of their own to mark. It is ten years since they released their “Viva Emptiness” record, which as far as they see it, is as good a reason as any to play it all the way through. It is an excellent album and one which deserves hearing, however, if we are being honest we would rather see a proper show than an album one. That said, it is a treat to watch a couple of songs that have never been played live before and the likes of “Sleeper” which comes near the end is prime doom of the highest order and “Ghost of the Sun” ends things in a swirl of anger.
Lacuna Coil are often dismissed as Cristina Scabbia and some other people. That does them a tremendous disservice. Big enough to headline this venue in their own right last year, they are a formidable live act. They are also back up to full strength. Last year’s tour saw them missing a rhythm section, tonight sees them all present and correct.
Their set is heavy on tracks from the “Dark Adrenaline” record from last year, including the opening one-two of “I Don’t Believe In Tomorrow” and “Kill The Light” both rock harder than you think, but perhaps where Coil excel is on the massive chorus which sees them in full stadium bothering mode “Heaven’s A Lie” is huge sounding and “Spellbound” ends things in epic fashion.
So…25 years, then? 25 years. How it happened that Paradise Lost became veterans, who knows. Whilst RTM cannot claim that we were there since the start, we will claim PL worship since 1994 when Raw Magazine put a sampler of “Draconian Times” on the front cover, so tonight is as special for the fans as it is for the band.
And my, what a setlist they have put together to celebrate this fact. It begins with “Mortals Watch The Day” from the “Shades of God” record – the track hasn’t been played live, apparently, for nearly 20 years. We are not in Greatest Hits territory, it seems. So it continues, with “So Much Is Lost” from the drastically underrated and undervalued “Host” album and the death metal stylings of “Gothic.”
There are some recent songs too – “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites” and “Tragic Idol” for example – but this is an hour and half that really takes all your expectations, toys with them and surpasses them, and any set that includes “Say Just Words” must be one of the highlights of the musical year.
Notoriously miserable frontman Nick Holmes jokes (no really!) near the end, saying “imagine if you didn’t know us and turned up tonight, there’s been pop, rock, death metal, doom, you would wonder what was going on!”
He’s spot on, but that is the charm of Paradise Lost, you never know what they are going to, except whatever they damn well please. What a joy it was to celebrate their 25 years of music with them here tonight.