Paradise Lost – Draconian Times (Legacy Edition)
Paradise Lost were, along with the My Dying Bride and Anathema, pioneers when it came to all things Doom/Metal/Goth in the early/mid-nineties.
The band's 1995 release "Draconian Times" stands as one of the Paradise Lost's seminal releases (though, to give them their dues, 1991's 'Gothic' and 1993's 'Icon' were also hugely influential albums when it came to Doom/Gothic Metal). Gone is the growling death rattle vocalist Nick Holmes used on the first few releases, replaced by something more akin to James Hetfield.
The album opens with the excellent 'Enchantment', which is immediately followed by the equally impressive 'Hallowed Land', with a guitar melody that is distinctively Paradise Lost. The storming 'Once Solemn' has hints of 'Ride the Lightning' era Metallica, while 'I See Your Face' with its opening arpeggio and single bass drum beat is somewhat reminiscent of a more metallic and muscle-bound Sisters Of Mercy.
Musically, "Draconian Times" is still unmistakably Paradise Lost, with none of their trademark melancholia lost but, dare I say it, it's an album that is more mature when it comes to the song writing, with nothing superfluous when it comes to parts or production than previous albums.
Speaking of the production, the newly remastered album sounds suitably impressive, with an excellent balance between the instruments, and also includes a bonus disc with a 5.1 Dolby surround version of the album. Disc one also includes demo versions of 'Enchantment' and 'Last Desire' and a handful of live tracks including 'Forever Failure' complete with Charles Manson samples recorded in Germany on 1995.
If one or two of the songs on this expanded re-release are slightly less memorable than others, or if the bonus tracks are mere curios rather than essential listens, this remains a classic album of its type and should be required listening for fans of doom/goth-laden metal.