Paradise Lost

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Icon represents a turning point for Paradise Lost: vocalist Nick Holmes loses the limiting growl in favor of a James Hetfield-style bark and Gregorian chants, while mastermind Gregor Mackintosh (lead guitar) further perfects his brand of baroque metal. Although older fans were beginning to protest that the band was becoming a sellout, this album retains the harsh edge of earlier albums while refining a more artistic vision for the band. Experimentation fits in flawlessly with the new sound: synthesized strings on "Embers Fire," angry coliseum crowds on "Colossal Rains," timpani and piano in "Deus Misereatur," and angelic female vocals in "Christendom." It would be difficult to overstate the mastery and genius behind Mackintosh's guitar work and arrangements. The album's scope is majestic and the end result is nothing short of glorious. Listeners who prefer the heavier elements of these songs should move backward in the band's canon, preferably to Gothic; those who are thoroughly satisfied with the sound may enjoy Draconian Times even more.

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