Ahead of next year’s 30th anniversary, Paradise Lost, this genre-defining British doom metal are set to release the 20th anniversary edition of their 1997 album ‘One Second’ through Music For Nations. ‘One Second’ was my gate way into Paradise Lost, the album was catchy and had iconic stand out songs like ‘One Second’ and ‘Just Say Words’ which are still played live to this day. The sound was a departure from their previous albums, but in turn it was an exciting opportunity for experimentation. Looking back; Paradise Lost have not shied away from trying something new, the following album ‘Host’ was a mix of electronic beats (which I loved). Last years ‘The Plague Within’ was a return to a darker doomier side of the band, with singer Nick Holmes growling on occasion.
With this in mind, what does the 20th anniversary edition of ‘One Second’ have to offer? Re-mastered by the band’s current producer, Jaime Gomez, and with a CD version featuring a live concert from the time, previously only available on DVD. This is a must for any Paradise Lost fan, or for someone delving deeper back into the band’s catalogue. The re-issue of ‘One Second’ is fully supported by the band and their management with their input on packaging and audio along with liner notes from renowned Kerrang journalist Nick Ruskell.
Vocalist Nick Holmes comments:
‘The album really was a vast departure from Draconian Times and for better or worse the beginning of a very experimental stage for the band. Either way ‘One Second’ will always remain a vital cog in the band’s close to 30 year history. We are happy to be working with Music For Nations again on this release.’
To anyone familiar with the album, there is not much that has changed overall. The sound quality has been improved, adding depth to some songs. With this in mind I take this as an opportunity to talk about an album that really had an impact on me, it’s lyrics and sound had a special place in my teen years.
Opening with the title track ‘One Second’ which has the most haunting piano intro, as it opens up for Nick Holmes vocals. The song builds with such passion and power, that is as fresh today as when it was released. The crispness of the strings and guitars is so prominent. Lead single ‘Say Just Words’ is classic 90’s Gothic Rock, it was such a departure from the previous album ‘Draconian Times’, but it worked for Paradise Lost. It is a sound that they have made their own over the years, something they do so well. Nick’s strong vocals proved that he could sing as well as growl, which added a variance to their style.
‘One Second’ is an album of its time, not to say it is dated. It has aged well like a fine wine; the mix of sounds and styles is refreshing in today’s modern music climate. It’s predecessor ‘Draconian Times’ was characteristic of early 90’s black metal and still feels as though it is there, whereas ‘One Second’ could have been released today and not feel massively out of place. ‘Lydia’ is a touchy song about Nick’s wife with beautiful lyrics, which introduces us to a slower pace. Whereas ‘Mercy’ has our first glance of electronic beats and vocal distortion on the album, this style was used more on the follow up album ‘Host’. The layers of strings and beats, along with an infectious chorus, makes this a stand out track on the album.
The pace is upped with ‘Soul Courageous’, with heavy guitar riffs and intense drums. The catchy chorus is another technique that Paradise Lost do well. It’s amazing how many times I find myself singing along on a subconscious level. ‘Another Day’ is an intimate and sensual song, the tender melody follows so gracefully. Paradise Lost have that ability to take a goth rock approach to lyrics and produce harrowing songs, in the same vein as Type O Negative. With content that creates clear visuals and stimulates all of my senses, in a tactile sense. The guitar outro is beautiful; sending the listener on a graceful journey.
A quiet intro greets us for ‘The Sufferer’, which in turn explodes with Nick’s vocals. This altering in tempo is repeated through the song, giving a sense of quiet reflection before the chorus. Contrasted with ‘This Cold Life’ with its stripped-down opening of Nick’s vocals and the gentle hum behind him, before the guitars and drums kick in. The electronic beats are again used to great effect, entwining techniques and sounds.
The strong up beat tempo of ‘Blood of Another’ really gets the pace of the album racing, with its chunky guitars chords and steady drum beats. The peaceful church like tones and harmony of voices in the back ground create calm, before the last chorus. ‘Disappear’ is again a graceful song with a beautiful piano opening, the distorted vocals lead into a strong choir of voices. The multitude of voices and styles brings a haunting effect as they disappear into one voice with a beautiful melody.
A strong intro brings us the song ‘Sane’, with a powerful sound mix. The pace and amplitude again is varied, mixing guitars, flowing synths and strong bass. The drum build-up and guitars which lead to the end of the song are fantastic. Ending with ‘Take Me Down’ with its heavy drumming thundering from under with Nick’s vocals. As he sings the synths start to create a platform for his vocals to lay on, while the guitars slowly pierce through towards the end, entwining with the synths. It is a thick mix of sounds, that concludes the album beautifully.
The second part to this 20th Anniversary release is the Live at Shepherd’s Bush, recorded back in 1998. You can view most of it on the Paradise Lost Vevo currently, which is a pleasure to watch. (I would recommend watching this commentary version of ‘One Second’ too, it gave me a giggle)
Opening with ‘Just Say Words’ which is now a classic track for any Paradise Lost show, starts the show with great sound levels. ‘Hallowed Land’ from ‘Draconian Times’ is next, with its beautiful chorus. Nick is such a charismatic frontman; as you hear him bantering with the photographer in front of the stage. His wit and humour is always great to witness, which if you’ve seen Paradise Lost live you’ll have seen. As the guitars play it becomes apparent that they are more prominent live, giving their sound a heavier feel. Which can be common with a lot of bands when they play live.
‘Blood of Another’ starts with its heavy guitar grooves, which comes across well. Leading straight into ‘True Belief’ which is another great opportunity for Nick to showcase his strong vocal style, which is clear and distinctive. The rest of the band perform well together, with guitarists Gregory Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy complimentary each other fantasticly. ‘Disappear’ is another song from ‘One Second’, with its atmospheric synths, guitars and melody, as it sweeps across the stage. The set covers a lot of the album ‘One Second’ with other songs like ‘Lydia’, ‘Mercy’, ‘The Sufferer’ and ‘Soul Courageous’, which all come across well live.
‘Dying Freedom’ takes us back to the then, classic Paradise Lost sound and formula. Along with ‘Shadowkings’ which erupts with heavy guitars and bass, getting the crowd and listener going. ‘Remembrance’ drumming is solid throughout, contrasted with an equally solid guitar solo. As ‘Forever Failure’ starts the harmonies flow, which is conveyed beautifully live. With the set drawing to a close we get a couple more gems from the album ‘One Second’, with the title track and ‘This Cold Life’. The haunting melodies are beautiful in their conception and presentation, as they endeavours to touch the listener. Ending with ‘Embers Fire’ with its skillful guitar work, we get two more song as the encore. Which are ‘As I Die’ and ‘The Last Time’, bringing to aclose a wicked live set. This show is maybe nearly 20 years old, however listening to it Paradise Lost are as good now as they ever were then. A testament to the longevity of the band members, who still produce creavitive albums and are about to release their new album ‘Medusa’ in September.