Live Review: Paradise Lost, Insomnium, Vreid, The Brook, Southampton, 17th April 2012

//Live Review: Paradise Lost, Insomnium, Vreid, The Brook, Southampton, 17th April 2012

Paradise Lost live review Southampton


Paradise Lost + Insomnium + Vreid


The Brook, Southampton, Tuesday 17th April 


Words by Nicholas Holmes


Photos by Tess Donohoe


Days after the anniversary of Titanic’s demise, it is perhaps vaguely appropriate that one of the greatest gloomy bands in British music history land in Southampton, the city from which the doomed vessel sailed just over 100 years ago. However, Paradise Lost have proved to be far from a sinking ship as they approach their quarter century next year. The nearest they have come to steering off course has been the departure of three drummers. That particular role has been ably filled since 2009 by possibly the busiest sticksman in metal, Adrian Erlandsson, who also plays for Nemhain, Brujeria and Swedish legends At The Gates. Phew! On what is their biggest UK tour ever, Paradise Lost aim to cement their own legendary status as they release their thirteenth album, “Tragic Idol”.

Norwegian black metallers Vreid kick things at the 500-capacity Brook, which is getting busy by the time they hit the stage. The band show a strong interest in World War II, and introduce the song “Disciplined” as being about “What happened to Norwegian women who fraternised with the Nazis” during the occupation. Musically, it is a mixture of chugging riffs and snarled vocals with  melodic interludes and some clean singing. Then there is “Raped By Light”, seemingly an ode to pleasures of the flesh. It begins with a Motorhead-style gallop and then heads into old school thrash with snarled and rasped vocals. “Pitch Black” returns to the theme of WWII, again evoking early 80s thrash and old school black metal. The audience responds well, and while not particularly innovative the band are certainly worth checking out.

Next up is another band from the far North. Finland’s Insomnium have been refining their melodic death metal since 1997 and released four albums, beginning with 2002’s “In The Halls of Awaiting”.

The quartet begin with “Inertia”, which shows a fine level of musicianship with its melodic gentle intro and gradual build then a fade out topped off with quiet vocals by bass-playing frontman Niilo Sevanen. It is almost a heavy metal equivalent of The Cure’s seminal “Plainsong”. The following track, “Through The Shadows”, is a pummelling but no less epic experience and Sevanen roars impressively.. Guitarists Ville Friman and Markus Vanhala share truly awesome guitar work, and drummer Markus Hirvonen holds it all together in fine style. “Only One Who Waits” is a more basic heads down chug-fest, but still with deft melodic flourishes. Then “Down With The Sun” slows the pace, and contains yet more impressive playing with soaring melodies. “Killjoy” gallops by before a moody number, “Unsung”, that breaks into a heavy canter. “Mortal Share” displays yet more masterful fretwork before the finale of slowburning “One For Sorrow”, with it’s delicate intro and slower emotive approach. A mightily impressive set from a great band. 

Insomnium live review Southampton Brook

Insomnium live review Southampton Brook

Insomnium live review Southampton Brook

Then the stage is set for Yorkshire’s own masters of melancholy. The ominous sound of “Desolate”, the final track of Paradise Lost’s 1991 album “Gothic” plays by way of intro as the stage is bathed in blue light. The Hammer horror-style atmospherics of the old track give way to “Honesty In Death”, from the new album. It is classic Paradise Lost, from the mournful melodies of guitarist Gregor MacKintosh to the death-obsessed lyrics of frontman Nick Holmes (no relation! – the other NH). It fits perfectly with “Widow” from the classic “Icon” opus, which follows. Holmes’ distinctive roar is still intact and as always it is possible to hear every syllable of his words. This is followed by the disco rock style stomp of “Erased”, from 2002’s “Symbol of Life”.

Their Northern humour is still firmly present too. Nick pauses to tell an audience member, “You look like Sinbad off Brookside!” and then quips at him occasionally throughout the gig. He then says he has “no idea why” the Charles Manson samples are on 1995’s towering epic “Forever Failure”. “They cost us a grand!”, he scoffs.

“Soul Courageous” represents the experimental era of the “One Second” album, where the band flirted with electronica and Holmes sang cleanly, as he does live. “We haven’t played that song since…last night!”, he quips. Another new track, “To The Darkness” has the more traditional Paradise Lost sound musically, vocally and lyrically. Bald-headed rhythm guitarist Aaron Aedy is particularly animated, and rocks back and forth frequently bent double apparently lost in the music.

The pace slackens for slow builder “Praise Lamented Shade”, where again Holmes sings cleanly and in impressive style. The roar returns for a triple helping of classic early 90s tracks. He introduces “Pity The Sadness” as “a song written by two dumb kids in the late 80s.” The mighty “True Belief” follows, before Nick says the next one, “As I Die”, was “written in at least the late 60s or 70s…fuck knows”! It still sounds great 20 years from its release on 1992’s “Shades of God”.

The title track from the “Symbol of Life” album shows a different approach, with an almost indie rock-style beat and atmospheric effects. Back to the present and the title track of the latest album again shows strong contrast in sounds. Angry stomper “The Enemy” closes the main set.

A trio of album title tracks is capped when the band return with brooding “One Second”. Another new track, “Fear of Impending Hell”, is almost like a ballad and features a high pitched eerie intro, with Holmes singing cleanly again. He pauses to say, “Thanks for giving up your Tuesday evening to see four Yorkshire puddings and a Swede!”, before they close with the emotionally stirring title number from “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us”. A great mix of old and new, plus the Northern wit, adds up to a well-rounded and thoroughly enjoyable performance from a band who are still going strong after almost 25 years. Excellent.

Paradise Lost live review Southampton Brook

Paradise Lost live review Southampton Brook

Paradise Lost Southampton Brook Live Review

More information:




Paradise Lost


Read the review of Paradise Lost’s new album, “Tragic Idol” here.

Paradise Lost will be appearing at Bloodstock Festival, Catton Hall. Full details here:

Bloodstock Paradise Lost

By |2012-05-03T00:00:00+01:00May 3rd, 2012|Gig Reviews|0 Comments

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