Tragic Idol (Century Media)
By Mike Delano
UK metal vets Paradise Lost received a glowing write-up in a recent issue of Decibel magazine, wherein the cover story deemed them “Metal’s Most Underrated Band.” That’s both a blessing and a curse, of course: While that moniker will certainly prompt the curious to check out the band’s latest, it also puts a lot of pressure on Tragic Idol, their 13th record, to outperform expectations. Thankfully, it’s up to the task. The band’s sleek, modern, rock-flavored doom shines on these 10 tracks, which pick up right where 2009’s excellent Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us left off. The band – vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, bassist Steve Edmondson and drummer Adrian Erlandsson – sounds invigorated, placing straight-up burners like “Theories From Another World” amongst the traditionally sterling medium-paced odes to darkness like “Solitary One” and “Fear of Impending Hell.” In an alternate universe, all metal acts would sound this confident and powerful so far into their careers, but at least in this one we’re living in, Paradise Lost is carrying the torch high.