In the scope of Paradise Lost's career, their eponymous release from 2005 represented the act of Hell freezing over, for it witnessed these founders of the British doom movement finally deigning to revive the sonic blueprint that made them famous in the first place, nearly a decade after seemingly abandoning it forever. Still, the general consensus was that its songs didn't quite match the band's good intentions, and so it fell to its 2007 successor, the aptly named In Requiem, to make amends and come just a few steps closer to resurrecting Paradise Lost's post-death/doom, goth-inflected middle period (marked by the classic Shades of God, Icon and Draconian Times albums). And so In Requiem unfolds much like a voyage back in time, with songs like "Never for the Damned," "Ash & Debris," and "Beneath Black Skies" driven by familiar mid-'90s PL hallmarks such as alternately gruff and mournful vocals from singer Nick Holmes; heavy riffs and foreboding harmonies from guitarists Gregor MacKintosh and Aaron Aedy; welcome analog (not techno!) rhythms from bassist Steve Edmonson and drummer Jeff Singer, and keyboards used sparingly, merely as flavorful accents instead of driving forces. In fact, the first and only sign of electronics (mostly a few beats and added synths) doesn't arrive until the sixth song "Unreachable," and even if there are several unusual elements such as "The Enemy's" background choirs, the album's retroactive mindset remains firmly in place through to the end. Heck, the title track even sees Holmes digging out his ancient death growl -- to the delight of the moshing faithful, no doubt. But even though the songwriting is pretty strong throughout In Requiem, there's still some work ahead if Paradise Lost is ever to recover their long abdicated gothic metal crown from a bastion of younger followers. The groundwork, at least, is already being laid.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia