BraveWords Interview: PARADISE LOST – Britain’s Got Talons

By Carl Begai

Back in 1997, UK doom / Goth pioneers Paradise Lost threw their fanbase the most brutal of curves with their One Second album. Two years earlier they had released Draconian Times, which went over a storm and was considered the best and most logical way to continue the band’s reign, which had been established and cemented with their Gothic (1991), Shades Of God (1992), and Icon (1993) records. One Second’s electronic enhanced direction threw some people for a loop while others embraced it, and it was a message – however unintentional at the time – that Paradise Lost will do what they want to their sound, critics and (some) fans be damned. The Goth elements remained at the core as they moved forward with some bold experiments, but it wasn’t until Tragic Idol (2012) and The Plague Within (2015) that the band truly seemed to be returning to the full-on doom and gloom that put them on the map. The unleashing of Medusa two years later signalled the band had come full circle, or so it seemed. Obsidian – their 16th album to date – sees Paradise Lost pulling new tricks out of their collective sleeve, twisting their “trademark” early doom / Goth sound into new forms, effectively ripping apart any expectations people may have had going into the record after feasting on Medusa.

“I’ve become very pragmatic over the years about people trying to nail down our classic period,” guitarist Gregor Mackintosh says of fans referencing Paradise Lost’s early albums as their best work. “I think it has more to do with the time period in which an album comes out. For example, I don’t think Draconian Times would have been as popular if it came out two years later or two years prior. It’s pure circumstance sometimes. You can have strong material and be completely passed over. I take everything with a pinch of salt, really.”

According to Mackintosh, Paradise Lost has indeed put albums out that they thought were strong, yet the media and fans were unimpressed for the most part.

“Lots and lots of times, yeah,” Mackintosh laughs. “We’ve completely missed the mark or the scene has missed us, whichever way you want to look at it. We’ve been kings of shooting ourselves in the foot in certain parts of our career, but that’s from somebody else’s perspective. From our perspective we did exactly what we wanted to do and we wouldn’t change it, but from a commercial point of view… absolutely; we’ve gone off on a tangent and everybody hated it (laughs).”

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DAVID GOLD – Finding Peace In The Woods Of Ypres

By Carl Begai

I don’t have much use for God these days.

With that in mind, when December 25th, 2011 rolled around I decided that I wouldn’t be celebrating the birth of some overblown, fictitious, omnipotent phantom as I gave gifts to my loved ones, turned the music up louder than usual, and drank more than I should have. Hell no. I chose instead to celebrate the life of my friend, David Gold.

David was taken from us on December 21st, 2011. He was 31 years old.

He was the voice and mind behind the band Woods Of Ypres. Not to discount or dumb down the invaluable contributions of the band members that worked with him over the years, but thanks to David’s efforts – seemingly superhuman and borderline insane at times – his music touched people around the world. He put Canada on the map amongst doom metal fans, and for anyone fortunate enough to lock into Woods Of Ypres, the name joined the likes of Rush, Annihilator, Voivod and Strapping Young Lad as a band to be revered when discussing metal spawned on Canuck soil.

I was introduced to David via a suspicious package that arrived on my doorstep in 2002. Living in Germany as BW&BK’s European correspondent, packages in the mail are nothing new, but a parcel sent from Toronto that I didn’t request or wasn’t warned about beforehand was odd. The name on the return address rang a bell, but I couldn’t place it. Inside was the first Woods Of Ypres CD with a hand-written note from David, introducing himself and the band, asking me to take a listen and offer my thoughts.

To this day I have no idea how he got my address, but I’m grateful to whoever gave it to him.
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