For two decades now Paradise Lost have been one of the most important names in the gothic metal scene and now they celebrate their twenty year anniversary with the release of their first live CD entitled The Anatomy of Melancholy.
With eleven good studio albums behind them, the band has plenty of good material to choose from and they do a pretty good job in choosing songs. After a short intro the bands starts with “The Enemy”, which with its diversity and energy seems like a perfect opening song, which is followed with a great choice for the very important second song, a beautiful “Grey”.
Great start is matched by good and balanced sound that mixes clean, but not cold sound with atmospheric warmth, which is necessary for a good concert experience from these kinds of bands. However at the times the sound seams too perfect for a live album. Most of the songs are performed in the same way as they are on the albums, which takes some of the excitement from the live experience, but there are some minor changes, which leave the listener wanting more.
Nick Holmes’ vocals display more maturity and authority nowadays but he lacks more edge and his comments to the crowd are very boring and lame. In those rare moments where he plays with those well-known melodies he manages to creates some beautifully moments.
Jeff Singer, who replaced the magnificent Lee Morris back in 2004, does a good job on the drums. Occasionally he experiments with the rhythms and that results in the brilliantly played “One Second”. On the other hand the changes he made for “Once Solemn” feel forced and unnecessary and that results in one of PL’s best songs not displaying the greatness that it otherwise has. Those drum patterns that Morris recorded for this track back in his day are so perfect that they should never be changed.
As mentioned, the set-list is good and there is enough to keep just about any PL fan satisfied. However, it is a pity that Host is represented by only one song and the worst one from that album on top of all. Also, “Hallowed Land” feels like live-must for this band, but with a back catalogue like theirs it is difficult not to leave out some of the great songs.
This live album is a good look back at the great career of this English band and it also shows that the musical changes that lots of fans have been complaining about aren’t that big at all. Paradise Lost is and always has been a band that delivers dark, beautiful and none the less good music and the fact that some of their albums are more influenced by electronics than the others shouldn’t mean a thing.
After their excursion into the electronic world the band came back with a few albums that again are based around heavier sound, but the structure of the song is basically the same as the structure of the songs from their electronic era. Unfortunately lots of fans are blind to this and the only thing that matters to them seems to be the fact that more distortion equals more quality.
After seeing the band live five times I know that the simple yet extremely effective visuals are a big part of the PL show. Therefore this CD perhaps doesn’t fully represent the atmosphere of their shows, but therefore it is a good thing that The Anatomy of Melancholy is also available as DVD.