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Interview: Paradise Lost

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With a career that spans almost thirty years with fourteen studio albums, the heritage of Paradise Lost is one that should speak for itself.

Paradise Lost

(Photo credit: Ester Segarra)

The unabashedly heavy, Yorkshire-based five-piece has spent nearly three decades enticing metalheads with dark, gothic melancholy in the form of downbeat doom rock and gloomy death metal. With a canon that includes such classic records as Icon (1993) and Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us (2009), the veterans have earned the ability to – should they choose to – follow the likes of Metallica, Slayer and Thin Lizzy in slowing down and becoming a “legacy band”.

But speaking to Paradise Lost’s infectiously upbeat guitarist Aaron Aedy at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, it looks and sounds like they have no such plans.

“We are very aware of how lucky we are,” he humbly states of his band’s longevity.

“People don’t have to be into it, people don’t have to stay loyal, new people don’t have to listen, so we’re humbled by the fact that – 28-and-a-half years and fourteen albums later – we’re still able to do it.”

Paradise Lost’s set on the main stage during the Saturday of Bloodstock cued the end of their 2016 festival summer, but the band will continue to strike while the iron of their new album – The Plague Within (2015) – is still hot: they are set to embark on a headlining tour of Brazil this October.

“We’ve got five or six shows in Brazil,” says Aaron.

“We’ve been going to South America for twenty years; the first time we went, we went with Ozzy Osbourne and Faith No More in 1995 with Monsters of Rock. Then we went with Alice Cooper, Megadeth and Therapy?. That’s when we became friends with Therapy? years ago. They were a good laugh. We had a few boozy nights with them.

“But South America, it’s changed quite a lot over that time, especially countries like Chile. It was still very much a police state when we first played it. In fact, Ozzy Osbourne’s tour manager got arrested at gunpoint and almost got deported for mooning the crowd. That was quite an adventurous gig.

“Now, you can go to Chile and it’ll be phenomenal. And Brazil’s been good to us; it’s a pretty cool place to play.”

The guitarist continues: [But] the community of metal is the same everywhere to be honest; some [crowds] sing louder than others, some sing the solos – like in Greece or Spain – which is pretty amazing and surprising the first time you hear it!”

On return from its nationwide pummelling of the Brazilian populous, it appears that (less than eighteen months after The Plague Within saw the light of day) Paradise Lost will continue consolidating ideas for album number fifteen, which is – according to Aedy – in the very early stages of development.

“We’re just about to start writing the fifteenth [record],” he explains.

“We’re gonna record it when it’s ready. We’re aiming for spring, but we need a bit of time to do it. We never constrain ourselves to a particular time because it’s got to be right. We’re our own harshest critics to be fair, so it’s gotta be right. Until it is, we won’t be recording it.

“But we’re quite lucky, because we’ve been going for a while, people afford you that little bit of leeway. We never get told what to do or anything, people just leave us to it.”

But apparently, that freedom was not always the case:

“I remember when we did [1999’s]Host album for EMI, we gave them the album and they went: ‘Oh… we expected something heavier.’ And a lot of people blame them for telling us to be more commercial.”

In contrast to Host, the Plague Within album is among Paradise Lost’s heaviest to date, featuring low growls from front-man Nick Holmes and a generally evil, dreary atmosphere throughout. It’s a direction that, based on its success, could very likely be continued on the next record as well.

“We won quite a lot of Album of the Year’s and Album of the Month’s [with Plague…],” states a rightfully proud Aedy.

“At the minute, we’ve been really enjoying playing these songs live, it’s been great, and we’ve just been enjoying it in general. When we were recording it, we felt like we were teenagers: ‘Oh! It sounds great!’ We still get like that; if you don’t feel like that, you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s the only reason we’re still going after all this time.

“But, then again, we never plan ahead; even if we’re halfway through an album with six songs, it doesn’t mean the next six songs are going to be the same as them. It’s very much about the time.”

Clearly, for Paradise Lost, getting older does not mean slowing down. With an upcoming Brazilian tour set to be followed immediately by the planning for a monumental fifteenth studio album, Aaron Aedy and the rest of his band sound just as productive and harmonious as ever.

“We absolutely love it, we’re still into it,” he smiles.

“The day we’re not into it – even if it’s successful – we’ll stop. Which is why we’ve managed to experiment, exploring the way we felt at the time.

“We’ve always been very democratic, everyone’s vote is the same. We’re mates first: Greg [Mackintosh, co-guitarist] since I was eleven, Nick since I was twelve, Steve [Edmondson, bassist] since I was sixteen.

[And] we’re all happier now than we’ve ever been; we’re getting along better than we ever have. Not that we’ve ever not gotten along, but the more you do it, you get humbled by the fact that you are still able to do it and that people are still interested. We’re so fortunate to be in this position still.”

Paradise Lost’s latest album, The Plague Within, is available physically and digitally now via Century Media Records. The band are set to record their yet-to-be-titled fifteenth album for Nuclear Blast in 2017.




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