Almost twenty years in the making and this gothic doom metal band is still spearheading the genre. Paradise Lost has shown a wide berth of musical prowess, from their early death/ doom metal sound to the the mid era electronic prog rock and now they have seemed to find their modern niche. With their last album, In Requiem, it seemed that the group was on a teetering edge; would they return to their electronic rock or continue down the dark path of chugging doom metal and anguished voices? Apparently, the latter won out.
Faith Divides Us… is a wonderful example of just how good this band can be. Sure there are the chugging, gritty guitars and barked out choruses, but it also has its subtle moments with quieter singing, plucked strings, and even some orchestra and piano. However, for the most part, the entire album is dominated by one guitarist whose musicianship is stellar and clear throughout the album, along with the vocals. The rest of the sound- drums, bass, and other guitar- is just there, but they tend to create great collaborations with the main guitarist (this can be seen best in the track, "First Light.")
What makes this album so good for a gothic metal piece is that it really sets the atmosphere. The music, as a whole, is a slow, sorrowful requiem. The brief moments of orchestral choir and piano/ synthesizer really drive the point home, and the lyrics are also very poetic. A great example of this is on the title track, which opens with a very beautiful violin passage that weaves with the guitar and continues throughout most of the song. The vocals are sung with honesty, and not overly shouted. It is a very welcome relief from the prog rock era where most of Paradise Lost's work seemed cheesy and did not pack much of a punch to the ears of listener. However, in contrast, the music was much more upbeat and varied.
Here, with Faith Divides Us…, Paradise Lost have taken a more traditional sound of the doom metal genre that involves long, mournful guitar riffs, monstrous chords to crush the listener, and quiet sections all awashed by someone bellowing out his anger over something. And this something is not the kind that you would anguish over being a teenager who is mad that their mom or dad would not let them wear mascara to school or go to their favorite concert; this is deep, heartfelt anguish like the kind you would feel from losing faith in God or a lover. Such is the genre of doom metal.
If you miss Paradise Lost's electronic rock era, you are going to have to let the past go. It seems the band is going to continue down their gothic metal path versus gothic rock, and keep drenching its listeners in melancholy. For those of you that missed the gothic doom era, it is time to welcome our doomsters back to the fold. May they keep up the dreary work with passion and endeavor!