16 December 2004 -  at Wulfrun Hall   - WOLVERHAMPTON - UK



review by dalia di giacomo

- all photos © by Stefan Vogelaar

The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited without written permission







After Greece (Thessaloniki), from where exciting news concerning the show headlined by PL hit us like a hammer some days ago, gryphonmetal.ch is now in  Paradise Lost  fever again. Flying from Switzerland we attend the Yorkshire band in Wolverhampton: another important concert of this "warm up"  group of dates that  announce the release of the album "Paradise Lost" in February 2005, and very important, allows the  drummer Jeff Singer, who , as Lee Morris' successor,  took the place behind the skins in the recording of the upcoming CD,  to be introduced to fans and public. I think it is general  belief that Jeff Singer (ex-Blaze) will be definitely  confirmed son as  the new official drummer of Paradise Lost.  We will see... but besides all this , it is a great  deep sincere emotion that leads us here in England again, PL home. It is so important for the devotees to attend an English gig in December, seen also this year like a sort of  X-mas gig , a tradition, an event that cannot be missed, meeting with some nice weepers included. The only 2004 UK date takes place in Wolverhampton's Wulfrun hall (close to Birmingham) : a quite big venue. I have never seen this location before, neither i know its technical details, but to tell that Wulfrun Hall has the capacity to  guest around 800 persons seems absolutely realistic to me.  I'm immediately attracted to the merchandise corner  where the new t-shirt, revealing very likely the cover theme of the upcoming album (at least i hope), is towering above all other wares,  among which  we can find the  SOL "serpent" shirts, in the beloved  green version,  and  the thongs...


EXICO         www.overplay.co.uk/exico   


When i enter the concert room  at 20:15, Exico are practically about to finish their concert. Therefore  i cannot tell really much about this band live. To be honest i even didn't know that this band would have been playing, and i don't know them  at all anyway. I just get the impression they are young and enthusiast, and that they propose a quite angry music in the wake of the metalcore/NWOAH style, a holy hell of style that definitely should conquer the new generations . They have clear  influences that span from Chimaira to Shadows Fall. It is evident at once. And confirmed then by the listening to  the one-track sampler that the band generously  distributes for free to the interested ones) . Actually they seem to have pluck,  aggressiveness and the right sound and tuning "du role". Quite sympathetic and agreeable are they also. But more originality should be needed. They have time to work on characteristics of their own.  But they have a certain cool impalpable Death appeal both in music and vocals, a feature they should develop more , in my opinion. 

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CATHEDRAL   http://www.cathedralcoven.com/main.htm  http://www.cathedral.rockers.co.uk/ 


Ok, Cathedral are rockers, and very 80's oriented so  it's not the most attractive stuff concerning my taste. But ,for what i 'm looking at, and i'm listening to in this show,  i can only come to the conclusion that this evening Cathedral  look like  a very common, usual," normal" band, that it's doing its show with no particular participation. I am not here for Cathedral, and the fact that this well famous band is supporting PL has never added the smallest  fascination to  this concert at my eyes .  Anyway, though i am not thrilled at all , i must openly say that i had anyway some good expectations. Therefore i'm  not only bored but also  a bit disappointed cause i believed  the "name" Cathedral could offer much more. Lee Dorrian and Co. perform  all in all a  normal just decent gig that however unfortunately delivers many moments of banality and monotony, in particular during the first part  of the set. Moreover i see that Cathedral as supporters is quite a right  deserved situation. Actually in my personal opinion Cathedral , like they are this evening, could be the supporters of many Swiss underground bands . I can see more involving  and better shows in any corner, concerning Rock too. In few words, they are nothing special . Lee Dorrian tries to be elegant and a bit good mooded, but the result of this behaviour, imo, is just able to come close  to a veiled  arrogance. Self- confident is he for sure but i don't see him into the gig. The rest of the band is almost total monochromatic , drummer included. Only the doom-y breakdowns are played with a certain meaningful involvement and the guitar solos add, at times, a certain lively touch . The extremely rocking Soul Sacrifice and then  Skullflower inject a bit of movement, it's true, and it's true that also the weak wish  to attend a duet  Nick Holmes- Lee Dorrian was in the air (just remember that Lee did an apparition on PL's album Symbol of Life and Cathedral shared the same Chapel Studios with PL at that time). Good thing  that it was just a pale, wake wish for me too, so i  have no further reasons to be disappointed than  the ones this gig is already giving to me. Anyway i  must  say that actually there are some attenders  with an  enraptured expression on their  face, some other ones are singing lowly knowing all the lyrics, some bang their heads, and Cathedral get their applauses ("thank you very much, cheers!" answers Lee every time), but the general positive response of the pit is another thing. In my opinion this concert is a flop  underlined by the fact there are no many Goths here this evening: the audience is composed mainly by Rockers and Metallers. For me, Cathedral just don't show the proper engagement and consequently they don't produce the proper enthusiasm neither they arouse enthusiasm in the crowd. it seems they are doing  simply a job, nothing less, nothing more. Moreover i have to extend  the "negative " list,  telling that the sound was not the best : voice and instruments don't emerge sharply. Cathedral are usually  reported to be  "cult  doom rockers". Too bad that this evening i don't see any single reason  that can justify this  cult...and the "templars" instead of arising are , in my opinion, rather far from returning.


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PARADISE LOST       www.paradiselost.co.uk       
Paradise Lost Live in Thessaloniki 2004
I Despair (PL fanzine of gryphonmetal.ch)
Symbol of Life
interviews with Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost live at Astoria 2003
Paradise Lost Live in Zürich 2003
Paradise Lost live Thessaloniki 2003
Paradise Lost - reviews written by  the fans

Now it's time to turn over, let's change subject. After a precise almost perfect stage preparation with a very attentive, effective and even  not very long  check of guitars and drums, we can turn over . In this darkness broken only by fading spotlights, the waiting becomes more fervid. Everybody is looking forward to the performance of Paradise Lost now.  We are right to be excited. We will be all greatly rewarded. Still i don't know , we all don't know what a utter strong concert we will  experience, but  the Draconian Time dream, the never ending Icon spell flatter on the air, vivified  by the  satisfaction left by a reliable Symbol of Life . In this darkness, after a lightly symphonic gothic gloomy  intro they meet the stage: Aaron and Steve , welcomed by  many warm  applauses. And Aaron is applauding back with his arms raised high over his head, also in this darkness we perceive his appreciation for the fans. And then Nick, here he is, applauses! and Greg. Jeff is behind the drumkit, a bit hard to be seen, though  the drumkit is positioned over the stage level. Only Lee Morris' smile is missing: this change of drummer still needs a good quantity of anabolism in order to be completely assimilated!

 PL start off with No Celebration, like they did in Greece. Quite unexpected way to open, something new, considering how much used to  Erased we were in  2003. The opening with the sorrowful  but fascinating No Celebration is appreciated very much.  Mouth  follows leading to a burst of involving "rocking on",  like in Greece. But immediately you notice that Pl are so fu**ing heavy!!! The attitude of Draconian Times and of the previous eras is here, flourished again, combined with the new melodies. Already during the numerous gigs attended on 2003 there was a clear inclination towards a clear Metal path. This evening represents the accomplishment . Among such pitiless,  kicking-ass  "monsters" of bands that dwell in the Metal world today, Paradise Lost  still  stand an ideal confrontation with them, PL stand tests and comparisons. Evergreen and everlasting, the "kings" still hold tight their crown.  It's not me to say it. It's the way True Belief is delivered, or Shadowkings, or Hallowed Land, or the mythical As I die (from" Shades of God" , gosh! it seems composed today!) , or Forever Failure (with the unmistakable and unforgettable Charles Manson intro), or Embers Fire, or  Enchantment with which they opened a very  acclaimed encore, or The last Time, the last song of this evening, the last super emotion of this evening. Some of these tracks are not songs but monuments that revolutionized an epoch, an epoch that after all lasts till now. Monuments that show no aging at all, played tonight with almost the same disposition with  which they were released, with the same resolute energy and strength. On the contrary, those who appreciate Host too will forgive me if i say that fortunately only one Host-representative appears in the list: So much is lost, proposed in the hardest way you can do it, more i think it's not possible , if you want to maintain the essence of the song. One Second is catapulted into a more  aggressive sphere, while Say just Words sounds propelling and amazing. Symbol of Life and its fellow mates No Celebration, Erased, Mystify, Perfect Mask are enriched by  a new intensity and so much  that you can wonder , "oh what song is this, from SOL?" This is to say that the more recent songs and the "golden" ones perfectly match, thanks to  the great work of guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, granitic concerning the the powerful rhythmic riffs and agile for what all concerns embroideries , virtuosi and solos. The bass sound from Steve Edmondson is always a great source of pushing force. Jeff Singer's drumming, though being still a bit "dry" and brusque, is actually bringing a new wind of freshness and power. A healthy lashing. Lee's smoother and deep sound was filling up every empty space , nonetheless always supporting the songs like a true pillar. Jeff' s style on the contrary gets nearer to the one of Matt Archer (the devotees still gladly remember him), in particular regarding the snare i think, and, as consequence, he brings the band in the wake of a  more Heavy/Death -oriented sound instead of the Gothic one, but right for this the  bass-drum should be increased . Like mentioned before, Greg and Aaron are exquisite and even more now , wit this new drumming that hardly tolerate imperfections. Nick's vocals  are  aggressive, precise, intense. Never listened recently to such a precise and strong voice from Nick Holmes, whose irony appears to be less bitter and less biting, while his stage acting and singing now are truly enhanced. Practically almost all concert long i was headbanging like a mad, like i usually do only before the best, the strongest , the heaviest, the most merciless and enthralling Death and Black acts, so this explains pretty much. But  i am not for sure the only one.  We are in many to bang a lot, getting a sane- insane aching neck. Like in Greece, we are also gifted with the preview of  brand new songs excerpted from the upcoming and much awaited "Paradise Lost"; songs which are inserted  in different moments of the concert and properly announced by Nick. Close your Eyes is presented after  Erased, while Grey after  Perfect Mask. Close your Eyes is the song  which impressed me the most, well balanced between melody and bone-breaking rhythmic bursts, with an attractive,  interesting , not predictable, anyway enjoyable musical construction. Grey  is definitely more melodic though able to show tightness. 

We "Weepers" are surely not  forgotten by the band: Nick dedicates the song Mouth to Jon Marks, recognizes and points to Stefan, who is  in the photopit,  and, still during the concert,  also asks where are the Weepers, inviting all of us  to raise our arms in order to  give a quick sign of  our presence. 

Well, I could sum up this amazing concert saying that Paradise Lost are so near to their past and  so near to their future. They receive a great response from the crowd, beyond  the usual and spontaneous sing along's and hand-clapping's:  they get so much warm appreciation , so much acclamation, in particular when  the encore is called, cause it's in this moment that  the "venue" is shouting and calling the band back  at the unison, through an impressive chorus and a wall of applauses. It seems the  floor is vibrating too. 





1. No Celebration
2. Mouth
3. True Belief
4. So Much is Lost
5. Shadowkings
6. Erased
7. Close your Eyes
8. Hallowed Land
9. Mystify
10. Symbol of Life
11. Forever Failure
12. Embers Fire
13. As I Die
14. Perfect Mask
15. Grey
16. One Second
17. Enchantment
18. Say Just Words
19. The Last Time





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