Paradise Lost

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The last Friday of September had come – darkness, cold, and wind came with it. Also Paradise Lost, a band most fitting for these circumstances. They had just recently released their 15th studio album, marking a new old turn in their nigh 30 year long career.
The album’s named Medusa, and on it the band reaches back, going truly old-school with a slowness only doom can conjure up, combined with an even more raw production than their previous album, The Plague Within, and wicked harsh vocals by Nick Holmes. If this is a wise decision, opinions won’t agree, but the fact that the band has taken such a turn promised for a different kind of show than what we’ve been used to lately.

“There’s no place I’d rather be on a Friday night than Copenhagen, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart.”
- Nicholas ‘Nick’ Holmes (vocals)

As this show had been sold out for some time leading up to it, I must admit I was a bit nervous that the band had been set to play Bombehuset, the first floor small stage of Pumpehuset. Sure, they had sold out the upstairs hall two years ago at their latest visit, but this somehow didn’t calm my nerves (mostly, honestly, because I had forgotten all about it…)
I was therefore absolutely taken aback in the most positive of ways to see upon arrival that it was actually the large upstairs stage the band had managed to sell out yet again! Not only did that show good decision making on part of the booking agency, but it showed that my fellow Danes still possesses a damn fine taste in music, and are willing to support it when comes to town.
As the lights rose ever so slightly on the stage, we could see that the looks of Gregor ‘Greg’ Mackintosh had gone in the same direction as the music had – gone were the long dreadlocks, which now gave way for a short mohawk, and he had a vest on with the collar unfolded in an upright position, truly rock n’ roll styled.
Behind the drums an invisible change had happened. Young Waltteri Väyrynen (here, this is an appropriate title, since the guy wasn’t even born until six years after the band started) had gone from live drummer to permanent member (well, as permanent as any drummer can be in Paradise Lost). My one comment on him from our last encounter, that he delivered an anonymous performance, had been completely turned around for this show – now he was happily headbanging, and seemed to be completely into it all the way through.

Regarding the rest of the performance, I was standing slightly left of centre, and so was closest to Holmes and Mackintosh. They were both doing a good job of it – Mackintosh taking it rather easy, but still displaying a bit more live quality than he has in recent years, and Holmes let his dry wit fly free from time to time, commenting on Danish beer and cracking a few jokes. His voice was in good shape, and delivered well in both the growl and clean department.
Looking over to the other side, I could see that Aaron Aedy was as awesome as he always is – this man seemingly lives to play live, and he displays an infectious good mood. Stephen Edmondson on the other hand seems to be his complete opposite. I have nothing against the man’s playing, that’s all fine and good, but his performance skills surely leave’s something to be desired. A bit of presence, a bit of action, maybe just a smile once in a while, that’s not asking for too much, is it?

The real surprise lay in the setlist however. You could wave any kind of predictability far away here. The return to darker, doomier roots had surely influenced this aspect of the show more than any other, and live staples such as Say Just Words, As I Die, and Enchantment were gone, replacing them with less played songs such as Dead Emotion, Shadowkings, and Tragic Idol. Just to mention songs played at this show. You see, not only would you recognise this setlist when comparing it to setlists from older tours, but the band was radically changing the setlist up night for night as well! An impressive feat, with the small drawback that when finding songs from earlier shows you want to see, there’s no guarantee that they will actually be played at the show you go to. Oh well, if our problems aren’t larger than that, am I right?
Personally, I was really glad to hear Shadowkings, as this has been a favourite of mine for many years, but Forever Failure and Tragic Idol also gave chills.
Of the new songs, The Longest Winter worked best in my mind, but the album is still too new for me to have it properly under my skin. With The Longest Winter being released with a lyrics video, I’ve had the opportunity to spin this a few more times than the rest, and that helps of course.

“Copenhagen, let me see your hands!”
- Holmes (vocals)

As I mentioned, the hall was sold out, and Paradise Lost had a lot of friends here, that was easy to take note of!
Hands were asked for, and hands were raised – all the way from the front of the stage, to the bar in the back. Holmes had an ok connection going in audience participation, but in all honesty, this has never been a strong side of Paradise Lost. No problem, the Copenhagen could party just fine, without anybody telling us what to do. There was quite a bit of headbanging going on around me, and it was hot and sweaty. Doom’s not really genre to mosh or circlepit to, and when a guy crawled up on stage to wiggle about a bit, before stage-diving back, it actually seemed a bit awkward. No doubt he had great fun, but even the band looked a bit perplexed, and Holmes’s only comment was that the rest of us should kindly grab the unexpected guest as he jumped, so that they could get on with the show.
Admittedly, this was not Paradise Lost at the top of their game, like they had been two years ago, when they dropped by on the The Plague Within tour. It was a solid performance, and I enjoyed myself, but it’s not one of those gigs that’ll be remembered for years to come. Having said that, I’d still like to give some props to the band, especially for stepping out of their comfort zone with the setlist. There were things I missed, sure, but I’m glad to see they’ve started changing things up, and look forward to seeing what they bring along for their next visit.


Blood And Chaos
From The Gallows
One Second
Tragic Idol
The Longest Winter
Dead Emotion
Forever Failure
An Eternity Of Lies
Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us
Beneath Broken Earth
No Hope In Sight
True Belief
Until The Grave

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