The Plague Within: Paradise Lost Refuse to be Pigeonholed
At what point is it enough?
Oddly, Paradise Lost’s new album, The Plague Within, finds the long-running group not necessarily breaking new ground, but treading a familiar one.
Fortunately, PL is a band that’s not necessarily rockin’ the same familiar. At times they’ve been gothic, doomy and/or synth-y. Hey, remember when they covered The Smiths, and it was cool?
So can’t pigeonhole these guys. Even fourteen albums in.
Plague offers little that’s new, but does do a nice job of consolidating all the band’s varietals with some real dexterity. Often, it’s a slow start that leads to a faster payoff: “Victim of the Past” begins moodily, then builds to its growling finale: “Punishment Through Time” locks into a groove midway through, providing the album’s aggressive highlight.
There’s choirs and orchestral fluff in here, synths hovering in the background if you listen closely. It doesn’t always pay off: “At Eternity of Lies” is like a lost, pre-Mindcrime Queensrÿche tune that also wants to be thrash-y: the dichotomy doesn’t work. “Beneath Broken Earth” chugs along, with Nick Holmes’ “you wish to dieeeeeee” growl kinda bordering on cheese…an element they’ve thankfully avoided most of their career.
But for the most part, it works, and it works in disparate styles that do more to compliment than hinder each other. It’s a rare work that’s up and downtempo, moody yet aggressive, epic and also streamlined when the need arises.
Here’s to reliving the past. The good parts, at least.