Have you ever met a friend after not having seen him or her for years? Better still: you meet a friend who was dear to you back then, at uni or school or whatever, and now that friend seems even more interesting and more profound.
I had an experience like that when I first listened to the new Paradise Lost album. And it gets better every time I listen!
'Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us' reminds me how much I loved the 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times' albums back in the nineties. Melody and heaviness melt into one amazing unit that for me, I realise now, is the essence of Paradise Lost.
Yes, 'Lost Paradise' was great because it tore through boundaries with it's thick gloom and guttural ugliness, and, yes, 'Gothic' smashed even more boundaries and created a genre by aligning the ugliness and adding beauty in the shape of e.g. a female voice, but it was 'Icon' and 'Draconian Times' via 'Shades of God' that made heaviness accessible in a new way, combining the gloom with the mainstream metal of the day (Metallica) and The Sisters of Mercy.
I thought that 'In Requiem' would be the climax of heaviness for a Paradise Lost who after a Depeche Mode phase began turning the boat. I was wrong: This album sounds heavier and fuller than its predecessor, more organic, more dynamic, more every-sodding-thing!
There is room and surplus for goth, thrash, groove, speed, gloom, ballady bits, sing-along bits, melody and crunch, the lot - even a bit of the Depeche Mode element (In Truth)! And Nick Holmes sounds as if he's on top of the world, both in the clean parts and the rough sections. It is probably the best vocals he's delivered ever.
A mighty, mighty return for the Brits - don't miss this one!