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Draconian Times - Paradise Lost

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk - Goth / Artist: Paradise Lost / Audio CD released 2006-07-03 at Music for Nations

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    3 Reviews
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      19.04.2012 12:46
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      A fantastic journey from the eyes of a man.

      "Draconian Times" is the 5th studio album by British gothic metal band, Paradise Lost. It was released in 1995 on the Music For Nations label and produced by Simon Efemey. The line-up for the album was Nick Holmes (vocals), Gregor Mackintosh (guitar), Aaron Aedy (guitar), Steve Edmonson (bass) and Lee Morris (drums).

      Released two years after 1993's "Icon", this is the Paradise Lost album that completed the change in the band's style. It's a softer approach to music, as opposed to the band's previous death metal sound in their first two albums and cropping up now and then in its predecessor. It is the first Paradise Lost album to feature Lee Morris on drums, replacing original drummer, Matthew Archer.

      "Enchantment" begins with a serene and sombre piano piece, before kicking in to the doom-laden guitars. The song is a very haunting opener to the album, with an almost softly spoken chorus. I'm not sure as to what the lyrics pertain, but it's easily one of the best songs on the album and we've only just started.

      "Hallowed Land" takes us back to the early days of Paradise Lost, guitar-wise, as Mackintosh and Aedy stretch out the gothic sound, accompanied with Holmes' singing instead of the early years of growling on each track. The lead guitar steals the show in particular, with a solo very reminiscent of the title track on the band's 1991 album, "Gothic". This is a definite stand-out song off the album.

      "The Last Time" begins with a heavy riff which doesn't let go until the end of the song. The chorus is, however, a little too repeated to make it a stand-out track, but the guitar work in that chorus is pretty unique, and more of the band's gothic roots shine through. I think it's a song about getting too close to someone and letting them go at the same time.

      "Forever Failure" is a song dedicated to those who would rather give up the big fight, and how frustration gets the better of all of us in certain times. It's one of the slower songs on the album, and has the chilling voice of convicted serial killer Charles Manson saying "I don't really know what sorry means. I've been sorry all my life" at the beginning and end of the track.

      "Once Solemn" is, in contrast, a complete change in pace from "Forever Failure". It's an upbeat song with a heavy edge, and the rhythm of Edmonson's bass sounds very audible. This is one of the best tracks on the album for its ferocity and structure. The song is about being alone then finding a purpose by selling your soul, eventually leading to adoration for the one who set you free.

      "Shadowkings" is a song about religion and how faith proves to be a letdown for the author. At the mid-way point of the album, the song has to be strong, and this is that and more. It's an intricate mix of heaviness with gothic tones and it somehow works, especially with the solo riff leading the track out to a fade.

      "Elusive Cure" starts out with a few slow and acoustic notes before the doom-sounding guitars join the party. It's a monster of a song with a soft melody that hits hard with the chorus. The narrator is searching for the cure that will heal his pain and anguish of his past life. The beauty of the song is, we never really know what happens and it's left to your own devices to wonder if he found what he was looking for.

      "Yearn For Change" comes with an almost hard rock feel, but there are still plenty of gothic-sounding beats in there. Just as you though the album would carry on with the same tone, it's split wide open with this refreshing song. The subject matter for the track is self-evident from the title, with the narrator struggling in life and in need of something different.

      "Shades of God" is, without doubt, the best song on the album for me. The intro is mind-blowing and the lead guitar sounds incredible as it plays through the riff. This is another song about religion, which is a growing theme throughout the album. The great thing about this track is, the band take a simple song and make it a monster with apparent ease. In the near four minutes, there are just three verses and an ending chorus, which is hard to grasp.

      Many Paradise Lost fans, and fans of this album in particular, will say that's where the album should have ended. However, "Hands of Reason" still does the business as another gothic-sounding song. If anything, though, it does sound a little like the grunge genre and you can hear a little bit of Soundgarden in there. It's not the best song on the album by any means.

      "I see Your Face" carries on the wind-down of the album in style with strong guitar riffs. It's a song about finding the will to carry on and the need to see the face of one person who can make everything right. But at the same time that same face might ultimately be the last the narrator ever sees. Lyrically, it's dark and doomy, but musically, it has an almost pop edge to it.

      The album ends with "Jaded", a song about the emotions the narrator has felt on his journey throughout these "Draconian Times". The main chorus only has one line; "The feeling can't avoid you", which is a reminder that we're all human, after all. The song is an incredibly powerful number and tinges on a hint of sadness as it becomes apparent that the narrator has finally lost the will.

      In summary, I'm not sure that this was meant to be a concept album, but I do get the feeling that each song carries on where the last left off. It begins with a man's struggle for life, death and everything in-between, and eventually he's left broken and empty. As far as the music goes, this is the definitive Paradise Lost album as far as I'm concerned. You'll kick yourself if you go through life never having listened to this.

      1. Enchantment
      2. Hallowed Land
      3. The Last Time
      4. Forever Failure
      5. Once Solemn
      6. Shadowkings
      7. Elusive Cure
      8. Yearn For Change
      9. Shades of God
      10. Hands of Reason
      11. I see Your Face
      12. Jaded

      My rating: 9/10

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    • More +
      07.08.2009 20:17
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      Paradise Lost's best work

      Paradise Lost despite being from the UK are in fact far better known across the rest of the continent, with a particularly strong following in Germany, Poland and Greece. The metal band have gone through various phases of their career and these days are quite electronic influenced, their initial period was death metal and good death metal at that.

      Draconian Times was part of the middle period - the gothic metal days. This is undoubtedly the most accesible period for many listeners and if any of their albums was to draw listeners who usually listen to other types of music then this was the one.

      In some ways it's their best work, a gloomy yet strangely enjoyable sound that can be likened to a heavier Joy Division or a less kitschier Sisters of Mercy, Depeche Mode with some serious balls and yet at the same time there's so much else going on with burst of punkiness and riffs worthy of Metallica or Pantera at their finest.

      Each song engrains itself into your brain, so that even without listening to it for long periods, the minute you hear it again you are extremely involved. The music is extremely melodic yet knows how to kick in with some power at just the right time. Likewise Nick Holmes manages to filter the anger in his voice not through growls or grunts but instead through what would be classed as very authoritative singing, it's nice but it really makes you pay attention to the lyrics.

      A classic metal album that could easily be enjoyed by people who like punk and new wave.

      1 Enchantment
      2 Hallowed Land
      3 Last Time
      4 Forever Failure
      5 Once Solemn
      6 Shadowkings
      7 Elusive Cure
      8 Yearn For Change
      9 Shades Of God
      10 Hands Of Reason
      11 I See Your Face
      12 Jaded

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      • More +
        17.03.2009 18:09
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        If you like any kind of rock music this album should be in your collection, no questions asked.

        1995 saw the pioneering album 'Draconian Times' released by Halifax based gothic rock band Paradise Lost. Being the fifth album in the bands discography this album has a very different sound and style being taken by the band especially in the vocal department. Lead singer Nick Holmes vocals take on a more clear and concise tone in comparison to the bands previous albums such as 'Gothic' and 'Shades of God'.


        The album is said to be the first in the gothic rock genre and is sited among many fans as the bands best work to date. Prior to this album the band was virtually unknown outside of the usually rock charts however this all changed when they recorded a UK chart position of number 16 with this album.


        ---Album Track listing---

        1. Enchantment - Starting off the album with a wonderful piece of piano music suddenly we are greeted with the band in full force. The song makes a very simple yet powerful start to the album.

        2. Hallowed Land - This song sees the band turn up the pace and complexity of the guitar work during the majority of the song with it breaking down in to a more melodic style during part of the chorus.

        3. The Last Time - Released as the album's first single this song sees the band crank up the pace even further and provide a great chorus line to sing along to. You can check out the video to the single here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO1DxsFCgtY).

        4. Forever Failure - Is the bands second single on the album and contains vocal samples of the murderer Charles Mason. The overall feel of the song is much more powerful and dirty than the previous really in keeping with the macabre use of Charles Mason's voice on the song. You can check out the single version of the song here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdqkrDivZyk) however the Mason vocal samples only occur in the middle and end of the single version whereas they also appear at the start of the song on the album.

        5. Once Solemn - Its balls to the wall time as the band let rip, no guitar solo, barely an intro just straight into the song and were away. This is and has always been my favourite track on the album and second only to the track "Say Just Words" off of the bands 'One Second' album in my opinion.

        6. Shadowkings - Though the pace slows down in comparison to the last track the sheer power of the band carries on in this song. With plenty of big dirty sounding guitar in the track this song I feel really portrays just what the gothic rock genre should sound like.

        7. Elusive Cure - A very simple sounding track no complex guitar or drum work on it just slow, methodical rock. The lyrics on this certainly aren't advisable for the depressed.

        8. Yearn For Change - The pace picks back up in this song, despite the fact the song last for nearly 3 and a half minutes there are very little lyrics to it. However it does contain one of my favourite lines of all time within it "Life is all the pain we endeavour".

        9. Shades of God - This songs name is taken from their 1992 albums by the same name. Again lyrically there is very little on this track but that does not stop this track from being packed with some great guitar work.

        10. Hands of Reason - Let those dirty power chords ring out as this song really plods along with unstopping power and anger. However the vocals still remain clear and do not degenerate into a grunt.

        11. I See Your Face - The pace and lightness of this track is picked up in comparison to the previous, but again without sacrificing that raw power and drive that is shown throughout the rest of the album.

        12. Jaded - Last song on the album and the band really have produced a great grinding power romp to finish off the album. Again nothing complex about this song and I feel this makes a song a lot stronger than when there is too much going on.


        Overall this is one of my favourite albums in my vast musical collection which as you can probably see from my other music reviews is quite varied. Despite the fact the album is now over 16 years old it still has not lost any of its raw anger and power and is certainly different to what the band had released prior to this and after as well. As the founding fathers of the gothic rock genre these guys are certainly worth a listen especially if you like such bands as 'Nightwish' or 'Lacuna Coil' as these bands will often site this band as one of their major musical influences.

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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Enchantment
        2 Hallowed Land
        3 Last Time
        4 Forever Failure
        5 Once Solemn
        6 Shadowkings
        7 Elusive Cure
        8 Yearn For Change
        9 Shades Of God
        10 Hands Of Reason
        11 I See Your Face
        12 Jaded