EMV LIVE REPORT – VARIATIONS ON DOOM METAL

PARADISE LOST - PUMPEHUSET POSTER

Paradise Lost have become a bonafide doom/death metal band again. Old news. The band’s “back to the roots” course, firmly cemented by “The Plague Within” and the new opus “Medusa”, sees the woeful Brits coming “full circle” after a journey through numerous styles, although retaining the melancholic spirit along the way. Nearly thirty years as a band, Paradise Lost is still very much a touring band, something which is preserved in connection with their new album. A stop at Pumpehuset, a classic venue in Copenhagen, and with such diverse support acts, namely Pallbearer and Sinistro, I was prepared for some dark, sorrowful atmospheres but most certainly also aching for heavy, dragging riffs, ready to move my hips to misery!

Thanks to Jacob Dinesen of Devilution for the photos!

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Feel the misery of Nick Holmes – Photo credit: Jacob Dinesen

SINISTRO

Fresh darklings Sinistro, are the latest addition of quality atmospheric bands to come out of Portugal, along with The Ominous Circle and Gaerea. The misty moods have always been prevalent in the country in southwest Europe in classic bands such as Ava Inferi, Process Of Guilt and of course frontrunners Moonspell, and Sinistro is no different. The band has garnered a great deal of positive reviews around last year’s “Semente” and with Season Of Mist as a partner, my guess it’s only a matter of time before they increase their acclaim. It was a modest band that took the stage. The material was super heavy which at the same time had a refined fragility to it. Altogether a dreamy, hypnotizing sound, moving through a sludge-influenced style of doom metal with the occasional exploratory post-metal passage and a unique, alluring vocals. The set felt too short, but I guess that’s the prize you pay, when offered the opportunity to support one of your influences. Actually, I wouldn’t mind hearing their recent cover version of “Nothing Sacred”, which would’ve fitted perfectly in my opinion.

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Come with me beyond… – Photo credit: Jacob Dinesen

PALLBEARER

They’re the ambassadors for the new wave of doom metal! Raised at Profound Lore Records, now advancing working relations with titans Nuclear Blast and vinyl goldmine 20 Buck Spin. Yes, Arkansas’ Pallbearer are among my favorites when it comes to recent doom metal, I find their music to be compelling, especially their latest work “Heartless” shows a quantum leap in songwriting and has received plenty of plays. To my dismay, their performance was a bit of a disappointment. It felt mostly like an instrumental set, where the ethereal vocal qualities didn’t get a place to shine. It’s a vocal style that’s not easy to reproduce I know, but without the vocals at centre, the music felt a bit rigid. There’s no denying the epic scope of Pallbearer’s heaviness; the arrangements in “The Ghost I Used To Be”, the beautiful intro and progressive dynamics of “Dancing In Madness” confirmed vast potential. All in all, the solid musicianship unfortunately couldn’t remove the feeling that something was missing.

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Last touch of enchantment absent – Photo credit: Jacob Dinesen

PARADISE LOST

I must admit that I’m not sold regarding “Medusa”. The album feels a bit like a rushed  and “fitting” solution to the band’s “return to the roots” course. I might miss this boat, but make no mistake, there’s still a great deal of interest in Paradise Lost, including on Danish soil. The concert was announced as completely sold out, and lo and behold, the venue was packed when the band came storming to the stage with the ever cheerful and cynical Nick Holmes at the helm, opening with the wonderful combo of “Blood And Chaos” and “Remembrance”. This pretty much set the tone for the performance. One could sense that here was a band with experience, tight and reliable, naturally with a bit of autopilot, but also an edgy character regarding the new material. I’ve witness Paradise Lost a few times, and this had to be their heaviest set that I’ve experienced. As common practice, “Medusa” required focus, as this was the album they were promoting, loved how grandiose the title track sounded. The outstanding qualities of “Forever Failure”  was an absolute highlight, while the biggest surprise the savage presentation of “Dead Emotion”. “Beneath Broken Earth” shattered the place with its redefined doom metal benchmark. The only true contrast to the goth/death/doom themed of the setlist, came in the tender fan-favorite “One Second”, which still evokes a feeling a transcendence. Great performance, but the question everyone wanted answered was: how were the growls? Delightfully ghastly, surprisingly, old Nick is angry again!

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Doom, darkness, heaviness, turmoil – Photo credit: Jacob Dinesen

 

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