Paradise Lost - The Plague Within

Paradise Lost The Plague Within cover
Paradise Lost
The Plague Within
Century Media
I’ll be damn! Is this the Paradise Lost we used to know?! Is this Nick Holmes who’s “growling” again?! What has happened? Haven’t they renounced their past? Wasn’t it Nick who said -years ago- that he won’t “growl” again, cuz that can ruin his voice and he did what he did cuz he was a young guy then?! I won’t even start talking about what they used to say during their “Depeche Mode” era. Anyhow, it’s better not to talk big and think twice before making fancy statements in general. You never know what the future will bring huh?!!
I have been following Paradise Lost since their early days (precisely since “Shades of God”) and they used to be (a certain time-period) one of my beloved bands. Another thing is that Paradise Lost is the paradigm of musical evolution through the years. No one ever wanted them to remain the same and they did so by evolving with each new work. Like it or not the band has experimented in some albums and got heavily criticized because of it… but they’ve got the guts to do it and go forward.
“The Plague Within” is a “weird case”. The band returns to their doom/death days but thankfully not entirely. They add the “old doom/death” elements on their atmospheric doom/gothic style and they present a rather OK but a bit “confused” outcome in the end. Nowadays, “growls” & death metal vocals” are mostly a “trend” and do not offer anything anymore. That’s the first thing the band (who hasn’t used such vocals in over 20 years) should have avoided. Going back to your roots ain’t bad but it certainly shows that the “evolution” is over and you’re trying to find ways to hang in there. Recycling yourself ain’t a sin but it is not a very creative thing to do either; however, all the “big bands” are forgiven by their die-hard fans for doing so. Tracks like “Terminal”, “Punishment Through Time” & “Beneath Broken Earth”, “Sacrifice the Flame” & “Flesh from Bone” apart from being tremendously tedious, they are also kinda disgraceful and fully uncreative. It’s like a bad copy of their prime. Probably, the best track here is “An Eternity of Lies” but this song could have been “just a fine track” on a really strong PL release.
“The Plague Within” ain’t a bad album musically, but it’s too intentional. It lacks that PL “true & free” feeling of creativity. It feels that it was delivered deliberately. It’s unlikely to play even one track from this album again in the future cuz there are no “PL classix” on this release, like it or not. I know that the album has been praised extensively and the idea to hear some “PL from the past” arouses many fans, but that ain’t the case here exactly. Paradise Lost have lost the “magic touch” they once had and their songwriting is a tad flat, recycled & dull nowadays.