by Tim Birkbeck
One of the games I always like to play when attended metal shows is spot the obscure t-shirt, there always seems to be that one die hard who tries to stand out from the crowd.
But at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth it seemed there was only loyalty to our hosts for the evening as I was greeted to a see of Paradise Lost shirts.
The metallers from Halifax have been conducting crowds since 1988 and following the release of their latest record, Medusa, the five-piece are showing no signs of age or slowing down.
But before we reached the main attraction the packed Portsmouth crowd were treated to the sounds of the progressive doom quintet of King Goat.
And when there vocalist graced the stage in full ritual robes it was an indication of how the night was going to pan out. With bone crushing riffs and their front man standing like he was conducting a religious sermon, the band from Brighton certainly had a particular presence about them.
However, just as the momentum seemed to be behind the band their set was over, with their vocalist even making a joke that their songs are too long.
After a brief interlude where oddly Bullet For My Valentine seemed to be the music of choice, Swedish gothic metal band Outshine took to the stage.
Even though clearly well rehearsed, and there songs laced with some great riffs, for me personally there was a bit of a disconnect with the band, all the songs seemed to blur into one and if you put a gun to my head I couldn’t tell you what their stand out track of the evening was.
One thing I will give Outshine credit for is the effortless range of vocalist Tony Jelencovich, he seemed to switch from guttural screaming to hitting notes which would be more suited in the new romantic era.
With 15 full-length records under their belt Paradise Lost had an extensive back catalogue of material to choose from, but with this tour promoting the bands latest record of course there would be a heavy sprinkling of new material throughout.
It seems like the bands are the kings of the slow burn, playing some of their more doom based tracks to open proceedings, but by the time they had hit ‘Enchantment’ just the simple piano introduction was enough to get the Portsmouth crowd to throw up the horns.
From here on in front man Nick Holmes had the crowd in the palm of his hand was the band smashed through title track of the new record ‘Medusa’ ‘An Eternity of Lies’ and ‘Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us’.
But it was a journey back to the 1995 record Draconian Times when the band played ‘As I Die’ which got fists pumping.
Having been a band for 30 years you’d expect nothing less than a flawless performance from Paradise Lost and this is exactly what they delivered, and after a brief encore they were gone into the dark of night like the true professionals they are.