in the digipack version 2 bonus tracks (the 2 covers: Xavier - Small Town Boy)

Nick Holmes - vocals

Greg Mackintosh - lead guitar

Aaron Aedy - rhythmic guitar

Steve Edmondson - bass

Lee Morris - drums

PARADISE LOST: "Symbol of Life"   paradise lost      

Symbol of Life screensaver at http://www.rockhard.de/home.php3?rubrik=43&grafik=2 

Reviews by dalia "gryphon_spirit", Salvo "lovedeath" Russo (Italian) and Jelenes



review by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo__


This is an important moment for all Paradise Lost fans that have waited for the successor of BIN nearly 2 years. Symbol Of Life (SOL) is the name of the desired object which is the ninth full-length studio album of the British band. Paradise Lost never copy themselves and each album showcases new characteristics. Is this the same for SOL too?: yes for sure, SOL is not the copy of BIN or the copy of some other previous album , but , if compared with the last works, Host and BIN indeed, SOL clearly marks a certain  return of the most typical Paradise Lost sounds of the Icon and Draconian Times era (if not even older ones) united with the more recent Gothic, New Wave direction. We can say that  "old" Paradise Lost meet the newer ones and "together" explore new musical fields, proposing themselves in a fresh and rather convincing way , without forgetting anymore their roots. Those who liked Gothic, Shades of God, Icon and Draconian Times will finally taste again the flavour of the typical PL guitars, chords and atmospheres.  Aaron's crushing and pushing rhythmic  , Greg's distorced and atmospheric lead , Lee's effective drums. Those who liked above all One Second, Host and Bin will find again anyway the same pronounced darkness and the clearly underlined synth orientation.
 Eh yes SOL is rich of the usual PL darkness, though one can notice  a small opening to brighter settings. If you think that Symbol of Life is an happy wish for an happy good morning, well you have only to listen with attention to the lyrics!  Nevertheless some radiant and more positive starting points  peep out in a revaluation of the concept that darkness is  not always steady synonym of obscurity. 

Practically born in the Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, Symbol Of Life is not only a kind of summa of what PL have proposed till now, is something more cause, like always, this album too offers new features, rather unusual for this band before.

 I have noticed for example a certain convergence between SOL and Lacuna Coil's Comalies concerning the rhythmic guitars, the male vocals, and the exotic soundscapes. So Paradise Lost are finally back, even if projected in a more modern frame and even if we can establish evident traces of the passage through One Second till BIN. And, in the same way ,  the older classical and mytical version of the Crown of Thorns is back too. Everything ok with the new album ? well not exactly so, cause in my opinion SOL presents many positive aspects, but also some less positive ones. On the whole SOL is a good album, better than BIN for sure. But which are in my opinion the "minus" characteristics?. Well 1) a couple of tracks are not that fantastic and soon we will see which ones 2) the production, which was in Rhys Fulber's hands, is not that bad, but at the same time is not that good as well. The fans know from official sources that Fulber was very engaged and meticolous in his work, done with so much attention and enthusiasm. I don't doubt a single word of it, only meseems that Fulber, though offering a better production than the last one, is not again the ideal "man" for Paradise Lost music. At least in my personal opinion. The electronics are still too invadent and the balance between electronic effects and the reborn guitars is in many moments too problematic. The determination to sound modern at any cost spoils sometimes the new freshness of this music fighting hard for a foreground place with the cool rhythmic and lead guitars. I am fully in favour for  the use of electronics that give completeness and atmospheric touches, but in my opinion there is no need to add too many electronic effects when the music is generally  persuading like we have in SOL. Not to mention how too often Nick's vocals are filtered, which otherwise would be more energetic and angrier, I don't want to think how this album would sound if it would have been produced by Peter Tägtgren or Waldemar Sorychta. 3) The exclusion of the song "I can Hate you" from the 11 regular tracks is, in my opinion, a big mistake, cause "I can hate You"  is the song that reminds so much the Icon era for example though having resolute modern flavours. 
Musical Direction - we all know that labelling music makes no sense, and even more when we are speaking about Paradise Lost. Anyway we can try to picture some of the many facettes of the album. There is in many pasaages a clear return to metal. We can find again Gothic flavours merged with Industrial echoes, but on the whole, the album is not industrial. It's, in many moments, very athmospheric, with choruses and dark mystical touches. Unfortunately one can find also some disco orientations, but awsome thrashy moments are included in this album as well. And throughout Aaron's and Greg's guitars are again the typical PL signature, supported by good drums with the presence of songs that rock so much in a modern way.


mahh ....in my opinion not the good opener for this album, i personally would have preferred "I can hate you". It's catchy, sympathic, good rhythmed but too disco oriented. At a first listening it sounds great, but , methinks, the more you listen to it the more you are getting bored.


 good rhythmed, rather atmospheric, (though a little bit disco oriented), with heavy crunching guitars , i like very much the piano inside and  the piano- guitar intro too. Good backing female vocals. 

Two worlds -
i personally don't like it , in spite of a good lead guitar sound, the notes are not convincing, a little bit too experimental . it's a song i skip and i will always skip for sure . And about  Devin Townsend's backing vocals (SOL shows the collaboration of some renowned guests too) i couldn't care less.

Pray Nightfall
already at a a first listening one understands that this song is something particular , maybe such an atmosphere is the first time that it's be proposed by PL. It seems solar to me  with an oriental -like proceeding. immense and intense. It doesn't sound so boring to me like the title track. it has something in common with the new atmospheres proposed by Lacuna Coil . Vocals are very good and, in the middle of the song, the heavy guitars roar and power fantastically. In my opinion one of the best songs of the album

another exotic song for PL, listening to it i think of very far lands, thanks also to the backing vocals, but there are so many sounds à la Icon (or already before) inside, projected into a more modern frame. it's not easy but very interesting and valuable, the more you listen to it, the more you like it. Anyway an incredible step for pl (and methinks the guitars let remind, in some passages, to engine somehow, - for example in the outro).

Perfect Mask
ahh another song with a nearly exotic atmosphere!. One of the best songs: heavy, dark, pushing great metal guitars, though i could tranquilly miss some of the electronic effects that it's showing. 

 Together with Channel for the Pain it's my favourite track and i bet like hell it will be one of the songs that you will listen to, the most. One can hear it a lot of times without getting bored. In Mystify that damn synth back musicscape is, thanks jaisus, well balanced by the guitars, who sound great , both lead and rhythmic, with a couple of fantastic dowtuned guitar shoots. The song is catchy, sad, but well structured in fully PL style with a valuable cool guitar metal intro (and lead outro). It shows sounds which let remind the One Second era, Bin, but Icon too. It could be very superficially defined as a kind of gothic with a touch of metal inside though it's hardly to label every pl track . It is not a very complicated song , but it's formidable anyway, and shows a good chorus. I would also underline the great bass work all the song  through

No Celebration
ahh yes! si! oui! ja!  sad and tormenting, one of my fav, i think that everybody will like it. It drives you to tears, cool piano notes inside, gothic atmosphere, supported by good guitars and a weeping clear lead guitar

Self Obsessed
damn it rocks like hell oh well, maybe i'm wrong, but somehow in American style if we can say so, merged with typical British notes, it's a really modern oriented one. It needs more than one listening in order to be appreciated, has interesting tempo changes inside. It will be one of the songs which will be played the most in our hi-fi's!

The Symbol of Life
 I can imagine that it will be appreciated by many people and i respect the general opinion. but i personally finds it boring, not good structured, without any particular interest. The fantastic heavy guitars burst out too late in the end of the song. The music is indeed good though repetitive, but, in a way, the formula on the whole, is not the winning one. I really think there are more intense and valuable songs in this album than the  symbol of life itself. Moreover, though it is a 
drum driven track (one has almost the impression to hear the rhythm inspired by a train), at the end of story, i personally find that drums are not put in so much effective prominence like it seems and in my opinion they cannot anyway save so much this song.

Channel for the Pain
woooooooooooooow one of my fav again woooow i would have called this album channel for the pain!!! The metelheads among us will like it so much, it's fast and atmospheric in the same time, the incredible mystic chorus intro is very soon substituted by lively and fresh guitars . a valuable combination of gothic touches and trash rhythm, with a touch of death spirit though we are far rather far from death. it showcases also influences from the new English waves, and me thinks that also fans of bands like Agathodaimon would appreciate it. Yes it's a song that even black metallers could like in my opinion! and Sulpher fans too! Those who like thrash/death for sure. Well in one word brilliant, like fantastic is its general dark atmospheric backscape. i couldn't imagine a better outro for this song and for the whole album. In my opinion, lee's drums express themselves much more better in Channel for the Pain than in the title track, same for Nick's vocals. 



Obviously SOL is a must- to- have album for  fans and admirers of the band, but objectively i think that no one else will be disappointed by having it . People who appreciated the older works will experience a finally renewed interest for Paradise Lost , Host admirers need to get used to the harder sounds but will not lose the electronic backscapes, Gothic fans will find some tracks really suitable for them, all who like Lacuna Coil will like as well many tracks of SOL, while those who are more into metal (gothic metal, death and even black) will find interesting moments  too. And if BIN is left there (sigh!) on your shelves thick in dust, well..on the contrary SOL will be played and played for long time in your hi-fi's. SOL is not reaching the heights of the Icon and Draconian Times eras, but it's the album that, though in a still unfinished  way, comes closer to them. I ask myself: is this a kind of "coitus interruptus"? Enjoyable anyway!!

rating: 8.5/10

dalia carla di giacomo 

review by Salvo "Lovedeath" Russo


Evento speciale per Gryphonmetal ...l'uscita del nuovo Paradise Lost!!!!!
Un'attesa ripagata dal gruppo britannico che ci regala un cd assolutamente all'altezza ma non esente da qualche caduta di tono. Il gruppo ormai è alle prese con sperimentazioni varie ed il loro genere pur mantenendo tinte care al gothic metal...è molto distante dal sound di "Icon" e "Draconian times".
I Paradise Lost sono comunque indiscussi professionisti e la loro musica riflette una lenta maturazione sia musicale nel senso stretto che di approccio alla musica.
Oggi i nostri  possono  accattivarsi le simpatie dei fans degli Zeromancer e Pain pur suonando qualcosa di meno industrial e più gothic. Sinceramente penso che questo cd sia più ispirato del penultimo "Believe in Nothing" che non godeva di grossi spunti a livello compositivo. Non si discutono gli ottimi arrangiamenti...molto ricchi di synth ed elettronica ma con le chitarre a graffiare e sempre presenti con un sound caratterizzato da una splendida distorsione...a metà tra l'industrial e il metal. La Produzione è da 10 e lode.....ma su questo non c'erano dubbi.
Il cd parte con un elektro-gothic metal di "Isolate"...un pezzo caratterizzato da una forte enfasi soprattutto per la grande melodia vocale mentre la successiva "Erased" è un brano più gothic dove anche qui la melodia è molto bella e  una splendida voce femminile accompagna il cantato rabbioso di Nick. 2 pezzi si belli,ma ancora il cd non decolla e bisogna attendere la traccian.3 per ascoltare un brano davvero trascinante...si tratta di "Two worlds" ove l'enfasi si intreccia ad una grande cura per la dinamica e per parti atmosferiche. "Pray nightfall" è un brano trascurabile che non decolla affatto e vien voglia di passare subito alla traccia n.5.....
"Primal" che inizia davvero alla grande con un'atmosfera che mi riporta alla musica che Ravell compose per il film "The crow"...il brano prosegue attorno ad una melodia di stampo assolutemente modern-metal .....dove gli stupendi break atmosferici rendono il tutto davvero bello...anzi bellissimo....un brano che definirei maestoso e assoluamente azzeccato per il song-writing dei nostri.
"Perfect Mask" è un brano di modern goth metal caratterizzato da abbondanza di suoni elettronici e la voce filtrata di Nick rende il tutto abbastanza originale; Ottimi interventi di synth ....ma forse manca una trascinante melodia che non fa decollare il pezzo a dovere!!!
Stupenda la successiva "Mystify" ....una melodia struggente e ricca di enfasi costruita attorno ad una song molto profonda....dove l'intepratazione vocale di Nick è da 10 e lode!
Non ho parole per descrivere la successiva "No Celebration" un pezzo molto triste e assolutamente e curato in tutte le sue sfacettature... Altra caduta di tono in "Self Obsessed" un brano assolutemente privo di profondità che vorrebbe un pò ripescare quell'aggressività dell'era Icon....ma con risultato a dir poco pessimo!!!!!!!!!!!
La title-track è un brano che invece rialza subito le quotazioni del cd...melodia elektro-dark e sonorità moderne caratterizzano questa song ....che rappresenta davvero un pò l'evoluzione di un gruppo che ha fatto tanta strada....Il cd si chiude con la claustrofobica "Channel for the pain"..brano molto duro e dove c'è molta influenza modern-metal; Anche qui si registrano buoni spunti compositivi...e grande cura per gli arrangiamenti.
Certo ci si poteva aspettare anche qualcosa in più ..però il cd nel complesso è più che valido...ricordiamoci sempre però che i  PL del  2002 non sono più quelli degli anni 90', ...ma senza dimenticare il passato i nostri son riusciti a far loro input dal modern metal ;oggi i PL sono una realtà da riscoprire .
 Salvo Russo


review by Jelenes 

Here it is ! The new Paradise Lost album Symbol Of Life. First surprise for those who have the limited edition in digipack : it opens up in cross shape and lyrics are printed on it. A detail but it's always nice to see an effort has been made. Another detail : the CD booklet; on one page you have a black & white picture of a PL member, on the other one the lyrics printed on a transparent paper. It's simple but really nice.
And now let's listen to this new album. The first thing one notices is that this album is full of energy, of atmosphere. Angry guitars, metal riffs, heavy rhythmic section, angry voice, rhythmed songs but still it's dark, melancholic, tormenting, emotional and melodic. Aggressivity is well balanced with calmer parts where piano notes, keyboards layers, electronics, strings create a special atmosphere, sometimes epic. Symbol Of Life seems to be a gothic metal album at first listen but it's so special that one can not help and press the play button again.
Opener Isolate contains a good dose of energy. Heavy and aggressive guitars are mixed up with electronic sounds supported by a solid rhythmic section. The voice though deep is aggressive and strengthens the "coldness" of the song. Nothing extraordinary till the good and rather catchy chorus. Instead of the traditional guitar solo we are offered some simple but sad piano notes which makes this song not so ordinary.
Follows Erased bringing the ingredients of a gothic metal song : heavy powerful metal riffs, deep male vocals, clear female vocals, atmospheric keyboards. But the electronics is here so that this song avoids the clichés, giving a kind of modern and original touch. A beautiful song, rhythmed, powerful with a catchy chorus.
At the beggining Two Worlds can remind some song from Believe In Nothing, but it is a well-known fact that the band never do the same album twice. Vocals are first soft but soon aggressivity shows up again both in music and voice; the band are even flirting with prog metal ! It is a particular song, not easy to listen to but still interesting.
And now we are entering into another world with the wonderful track Pray Nightfall. Melodic, deliciouly depressing. The vocals parts are particularly well worked and varied. Less aggressive than on the other songs, here the voice is soft, deep, natural and clearly leads the song. Music is simply epic : atmospheric, sad, melodic, full of emotion with a tormenting and obsessive chorus. A new PL classics ?
Less epic, atmospherical and emotional is Primal. More based on rhythmics than on melody, repetitive with powerful and angry moments. Not the best track from this album and a little bit disappointing after the superb Pray Nightfall.
But let's go on...and succumb to the Perfect Mask. Full of energy with heavy powerful and sharp guitars and rhythmic section, this is an insane, obsessive and exciting song. Catchy rhythm, catchy vocals melody. A killer one !
And now probably a new PL classic song (who knows ?) Mystify. Another beautiful song with a lot of sadness inside, melancholic, mixed with energetic guitar sounds. Just wait for the piano notes and the superb chorus to come. Once you've heard it you remember it forever. Mystify is really representative of the band's personality : melancholic, energetic, emotional with a great sense of melody.
These elements are also present in this other great track which is No Celebration. A little bit more intense than Mystify, No Celebration is a goth metal song, powerful and melancholic. Once again energy and emotion are working hand in hand. A subtle mixture of heavy guitars and sad piano notes creates a dark, depressing, almost epic atmosphere. Again who knows if No Celebration is not going to be another PL classics ?
After the intensity of No Celebration a moment of relief with the rocker Self Obsessed. A pleasant song to listen to with a good vocals melody and catchy rhythms. Though it's not a metal song, angry guitars are here supported by a strong rhythmic section. Another facette of the band's creativity shows up in this song.
And now the title track Symbol Of Life. After several listenings one starts getting bored unfortunately. This is a good song there's no doubt about it but it sounds like a weaker Mystify or No Celebration. One can find the same elements, the same idea behind it but it doesn't reach the emotional intensity of the two forementioned tracks, but still it remains a really good song. Just do not try and compare it to the others.
A complete change now with Channel For The Pain. Definitely a metal song. Full of energy, of anger with speed rhythms and vocals melody. Metalheads will probably like it. Not the kind of metal song one expects from PL. This is a complete new change, interesting but not so exciting. Maybe more in a live situation this song can kick ass but not on album because it's too repetitive, not so convincing and becomes quickly boring. It could be disappointing to end the album on Channel For The Pain, especially if you don't like this track, but if you have the limited edition of SOL (lucky you !) two new tracks are waiting for you.
Two covers to be more precise. Here Paradise Lost are covering Dead Can Dance and Bronski Beat. What do Dead Can Dance and Bronski Beat have in common ? Nothing.
PL fans know for ages that the band are DCD fans so it's not so surprising that they cover them. They have chosen to cover Xavier from the album "Into The Realm Of A Dying". This is simply a pure goth metal song. Atmospheric, dark, heavy, powerful and epic. A superb version, also fascinating because it's a personal interpretation and it could be an original PL song.
The same can be said about the Bronski Beat cover Smalltown Boy. It would be too easy to make sarcastic (or worse than sarcastic) statements. Music matters here and nothing else. And this version of Smalltown Boy is absolutely great ! Again the elements of a typical PL song can be found here. A melancholic track full of energy with a catchy chorus. Absolutely irresistible ! Just like for Xavier it could be an original PL song; for proof the lead guitar strangely reminds the ultra PL classics As I Die. Yes, music definitely matters.
With this new album Symbol Of Life, Paradise Lost have done their most complete and most diversified album, never choosing facility, always avoiding the metal and gothic clichés by mixing up cleverly all the instruments with electronics, keyboards, piano and strings. SOL is a strong album, full of energy, full of emotion, of surprises. All the five musicians have enough space to express themselves and the whole is extremely coherent. Whatever your musical preferences -metal, gothic, rock or if you just love music- this album deserves your attention. This is simply an artistical and creative cohesion performed by five talented musicians. Hats off gentlemen !

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