The last remains of summer are desperately clinging on to life as autumn nears near. Fitting, it would seem, to head to Aarhus to listen to Halifax’s kings of gloom, Paradise Lost and their two supporting bands.
Sinistro from Portugal were unknown to me until a week ago when I checked them out on Spotify. What I heard was surprising, and surprisingly beautiful. Patricia Andrade’s vocal is truly amazing, and the studio recordings are mesmerising, offering a sludgy soundscape with Andrade’s voice in a very dominant position (and rightfully so).
Seeing the band is a no less special experience, however with a slightly different twist. First of all, due to the live mix, Andrade is much less dominant, and that, I’m afraid, is not a good thing. Her voice being the driver of Sinistro’s sound, that is simply something that cannot be lost.
Secondly, with her onstage antics (read: spasmodic moves), pale skin and very red lipstick, the singer adds an element of cabaret to the show, which is not necessarily a bad thing, although it is a stark contrast to the rest of the band who appear like a bunch of shy shoegazers.
But the thing is, after three songs or so, Sinistro become a dull live experience. When the music rather than the vocal dominates (unlike the studio recording), there’s simply not enough going on to keep a man interested and eventually it feels a bit like being hit by a tranquilizer dart.
Highly recommended Spotify listening, though!
The Edith Piaf of doom: Patricia Andrade
Pallbearer, whom I read many praises of in the German music press, are supposedly the hot shit. Compared to Sinistro, they do fare better with a from the outset much more varied approach to the doom/sludge genre and a lot more interaction with the audience. ‘That guy is kind of proggy’, my mate Michael notes about singer/guitarist Brett Campbell, and, yeah, he does have a point. I have to distract from the fact that he reminds me a lot of a guy who works in the Finance department where I work, but let’s forget about that.
Again, I had to use Spotify to check out what this was before the concert, and to me, the Arkansas four-piece’s music actually had a lot of Paradise Lost in it. This, however, is not so obvious to me tonight. This sounds like sludgy doom with elements of prog, and it ain’t half bad, although I eventually fall into the same lethargy as I’ve done so often with other bands of the genre.
Sympathetic bunch, though.
Doom sludge with a touch of prog – Pallbearer from Little Rock
When Lost Paradise came out in 1990, I was in awe; it was different, it has heavy, it was dark in every possible way. I can in all honesty say that up until 1999, each and every album Paradise Lost made was in some way groundbreaking and defining, and certainly enjoyed heavy rotation on my record player or in the CD player. They were and are one of my all-time favourite bands, plain and simple.
The first time I saw Paradise Lost live was in 1994 and I’ve seen them a number of times since, and have always enjoyed Nick Holmes’ dry, English humour along with the amazing songs this band has created over the years. However, tonight’s performance, I fear, is not one I can call their strongest ever. Now you are warned.
Nick and the boys kick off with “Gods of Ancient” from the latest opus brutalis, Medusa. In the photo pit, the sound isn’t at all the best, and this song isn’t exactly one that captures the audience with melodic hooks or catchy choruses like so many Paradise Lost songs, but you could say it’s a statement that PL mean doomy business.
With “Remembrance” from Icon, there is more catchiness to be had, but it’s as if the energy level is slightly under par with Halifax’s proud sons, and the Aarhus is disappointingly easily lead into lacklustre responsiveness on this Saturday night.
Sadly, this defines the concert, even through classic or near-classic material like “One Second”, “Tragic Idol”, “Shadowkings”and “Faith Divides Us”. With “Eternal” (see clip below), one of my favourite tunes ever, it’s as if Paradise Lost finally find the nerve and basically themselves. This continues into the earth shattering “Beneath Broken Earth’, one of the the master pieces from 2015’s The Plague Within. With “Ember’s Fire”, another true classic is aired, and it is around this time that the audience at long last figure out who they have in front of them. Ironically, this is the last song of the set proper.
It is a relief to hear how adamant the demand for encores is, and as Paradise Lost launch into the mighty ‘No Hope in Sight”, they are celebrated feverishly.
Instead of doing the obvious (playing “As I Die”), they then play the slow doom tune “The Longest Winter”, a lesser know new piece from Medusa, and one could argue that this was a bad choice. But, hey, this is Paradise Lost. Much to everyone’s relief, the final encore is “The Last Time”, another grande classic, and exactly one of those songs you’d like to say farewell and see you the next with.
In the end, an approved gig, but it wasn’t a seal of approval that came easily, and it was only carried over the finishing line with a strong repertoire of doom.
Probably the most laid back bassist in all of metaldom…
…and his sidekick, the happiest doom guitarist in the world
1. Gods of Ancient
3. From the Gallows
4. One Second
5. Tragic Idol
7. Eternity of Lies
9. Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us
10. Blood and Chaos
12. Beneath Broken Earth
13. Embers Fire
14. No Hope in Sight
15. The Longest Winter
16. The Last Time
Nick Holmes - vocals
Gregor MacKintosh - guitar
Aaron Aedy - guitar
Steve Edmonson - bass
Waltteri Väyrynen - drums