Editors’ Notes If there’s one thing that defines UK doom/death progenitors Paradise Lost, it’s consistency. Not musical consistency—the band has taken detours through hard rock, goth, and even dark synth-pop since forming in Halifax, England, in 1988—but in terms of quality control. Which is no easy feat considering that Obsidian is the band’s 16th album featuring original members Nick Holmes (vocals), Gregor Mackintosh (guitar), Stephen Edmondson (bass), and Aaron Aedy (guitar)—not to mention their second with Finnish drum wizard Waltteri Väyrynen. As esteemed metal veterans, Paradise Lost has had time to appreciate the perspective that experience has given them. “When you’re older, you understand the consequences of your actions,” Holmes tells Apple Music. “When you’re a teenager, you make rash decisions that can really impact you later on. My children are at the age where they’re young adults, and I just think about what they’re going to be doing in ten years. I think that impacted me somehow when I was writing the lyrics.” Below, Holmes takes us through Obsidian’s shadowy depths.

Darker Thoughts
“This originally started as an intro piece for the album. Greg sent the acoustic recording to me, and I just came in with a singing line for it. The song was written so incredibly fast that I can hardly remember doing it. Usually it takes us weeks and weeks, if not months, to write songs. But I think it came out better for it, because it's quite a different song to the rest of the album as well. It’s probably one of my favorite songs on the album, if not the favorite, actually.”

Fall From Grace
“This is about the cracks appearing in a situation, and everyone else sees it but you don’t. So it’s literally a fall from grace. I think Ash Pears, the video director, ran with the lyrics a little bit in his own artistic way for the video, but the video is more like a mini-film that we wanted the song to be a soundtrack for. We’ve always liked that type of video. The old Radiohead videos were always great in that way, and that’s what we wanted to do with this.”

Ghosts
“I think it’s one of the most direct and instant songs on the album. The band was paying homage to the music that we grew up with—we were always metal guys, but goth music was always there in the background. If we ever went out to nightclubs, they were always goth clubs, and you might hear Motörhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ or ‘Run to the Hills’ by Iron Maiden, but everything else would have been Bauhaus or The Call or Sisters of Mercy. It was always there and very much the soundtrack to our young teen lives, so this is kind of a tipping of the hat to that.”

The Devil Embraced
“This is a mishmash of different styles. It’s obviously very dark, with a very heavy chorus. Lyrically, it’s a similar kind of topic to ‘Ghosts,’ about perhaps seeking some kind of religious belief later in life to try and cushion yourself if you believe in some kind of afterlife. I find it fascinating when people to turn to religion later in life, but I could never imagine doing it. Even the most hardcore atheist I’ve known turning to religion—I just wonder what makes that happen. Maybe I’ll find out. Probably not, though.”

Forsaken
“This song is very reminiscent of something we might have written in the early 2000s. It's a period of music that we haven't touched upon since that time, really. With that said, the musical approach seems quite fresh, and we’ve got the choir on it. I remember we changed the chorus at the last minute. But yeah, it’s the only song that’s really like this on the album. It’s quite out there on its own, I think.”

Serenity
“If you were listening to this on vinyl, this would be the B-side opener. Musically, it’s got a faster, galloping pace. Lyrically, it has to do with the horrors of a medieval battle and the aftermath—and who decides when it’s won. There must’ve been a lot of people that died after these battles had been won, so I was thinking about being out in the field still fighting even though it’s finished. It’s kind of like a Monty Python thing, but it must’ve been so horrendous.”

Ending Days
“Someone called this a ballad. I wouldn’t say it’s a ballad, but it’s probably the saddest song on the album. If I was in a particularly melancholic mood, I could have a good cry to this one. Lyrically, I was thinking about when people fall out through petty grudges and lose contact—particularly when families do this. And then when you hear someone’s dying or they’re really ill, you make friends with them again. It hasn’t happened to me directly, but it has happened to people I know. And you think about all those decades wasted, but I guess people are just too busy getting on with their lives to realize the time’s passing by.”

Hope Dies Young
“I was thinking about the phrase ‘teenage dreams so hard to beat’ [from the Undertones song ‘Teenage Kicks’] because I used to listen to John Peel’s radio show and he used to say it all the time. I think he’s even got it on his gravestone. But I never really got my head round it ’til I got older. And it’s such a true statement, because I do find the teenage years were such a good time—no cynicism; just excited about things. Especially music. It was the only thing I cared about as a teenager.”

Ravenghast
“Greg came up with the title, and I don’t even know what it means. I think maybe it’s an evil ghost or something, but not everything has to have a great meaning. It's like a painting—I know I just like it or I don't. And this is one of those kind of moments where I just thought, ‘Well, that's a great title,’ so we went with that. Lyrically, it’s about how the higher you are, the harder you’re going to fall. So it’s better to be three-quarters of the way up than right at the top.”

Hear the Night
“This song and the next one are bonus tracks. They didn’t make the album because we thought it was complete as it was. But ‘Hear the Night’ is actually one of my favorites. Greg’s wife Heather sang the chorus on this, so it’s got a very catchy hook, but the rest of the song is crushingly heavy.”

Defiler
“This song has a very traditional rock riff to it, which is quite unusual for us. It’s going to raise some eyebrows. The chorus is very Paradise Lost, but you kind of need the rock riff for the chorus to work. When you hear it, you’ll know what I mean. I’m interested to see what people say about it. This one was a bit too different for the album, but it’s still interesting, hopefully.”

1
5:46
 
2
5:42
 
3
4:35
 
4
6:08
 
5
4:30
 
6
4:46
 
7
4:36
 
8
4:02
 
9
5:30
 
10
5:34
 
11
4:45
 

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