Paradise Lost + Moonspell
@ The Electric Ballroom, London
18th February 2022
Review & Photos by Graham Hilling
It’s a (very) windy evening, thanks to storm Eunice, that sees Paradise Lost roll into good old London town for the last date on the Obsidian Moon tour which has taken them around the UK for the last 2 weeks. Support for the latter part of the tour has been provided by heavyweight gothsters Moonspell.
It’s early doors for Moonspell this evening which sees them take to the stage at around 6:45pm. The early start hasn’t put the punters off though and there is a sizeable queue waiting to enter the venue as the doors open at 6pm. By the time Moonspell knock out the first chords of “Greater Good” the venue is looking pretty full.
The vocals of Fernando Ribeiro are as strong as ever, with a range of styles to make most vocalists envious. The whole band look comfortable on the stage and it is not long before they have at least the first five rows of the crowd completely engaged with them.
“Extinct” sees us move back in time slightly from the 2015 album of the same title, quickly followed “Opium” from the 1996 album “Irreligious”. In fact, much of the set tonight is either from the current album (“Hermitage”) or from the the first couple of albums that Moonspell released (they have a huge back catalog to choose from with 13 studio albums under their belts!). I’m not sure if I should read anything into this but the crowd definitely appreciates the older material getting an airing!
Ricardo Amorim on guitar looks as cool as a cucumber throughout the whole set, with Aires Pereira on bass continually headbanging with the odd windmill thrown in for good measure! Pedro Paixão is at the back of the stage, his keyboard shrouded in a sort of organ pipe façade and newish drummer Hugo Ribeiro looks quite at home behind the kit.
But it’s Fernando Ribeiro who dominates the stage, his large presence almost filling the space. His vocals still sound really good despite a very long career which can sometimes be the kiss of death for vocals of this kind.
The band sound solid and tight, with the newer material in particular sounding good. While the (sometimes) boomy soundscape in the Ballroom doesn’t always suit bands, this evening it cannot hide the fact that these are catchy well written numbers that deserve to be belted out a top volume!
The last three songs of the set, all from the first couple of albums, sees the crowd whipped up and the now full venue is well and truly warmed up.
So there is a brief pause for the setup of the stage for Paradise Lost and a chance to catch breath and get a drink! By the time that they take to the stage the venue is full to bursting and they are welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd who, let’s be honest, have been gig starved for far too long. “Widow” from the “Icon” album opens the performance and sets the scene and direction for the next hour and a half.
Paradise Lost are one of those bands that seem to have been around forever, with the same members (barring drummer changes, why is it always drummers!?) since the beginning. The latest album, “Obsidian” is a bit of an epic and I’m looking forward to hearing these songs live tonight and seeing the crowd reaction.
Greg Mackintosh’s guitar lines, sometimes haunting, sometimes driving but always catchy, punctuate most of the songs; his lead guitar is not traditional widdly widdly self indulgence, it is the hook in so many of the Paradise Lost songs and characterises their sound.
Aaron Aedy always looks like he is eternally grateful to be on a stage performing, guitar hung low and legs akimbo, swaying with the rhythms of each song. Nick Holmes at the front of the stage, a no-nonsense vocalist, he just does what he does.
Steve Edmondson lurks towards the back of the stage tonight, shrouded in dry ice for much of the performance and Waltteri Väyrynen thumps out the drums, driving the gig forward while incongruously making it all look effortless.
“Forsaken” from the latest album “Obsidian” is next and this brings us bang up to date. A fair chunk of the set comes from this album (as you would expect), showcasing the strong song writing that makes Paradise Lost one of the most enduring metal bands out there. The rest of the set is a pretty good representation of Paradise Lost through their career, spanning the early years (“Eternal”, “Widow”), the 2000’s (“The Enemy”, “Faith Divides Us”) and the more recent material (“Beneath Broken Earth”, “No Hope in Sight”).
Favourites “Eternal” and “The Last Time” get a fantastic reaction from the crowd, suffice to say, the set is a bit of a banger with enough variation and crowd pleasers to keep the punters shouting for more.
Nick Holmes dry sense of humour and little interjections between songs always make me laugh, he jokes about a Perspex enclosure around the drumkit, suggesting this could be what we all need to fight covid. The irony is not lost.
As a band, Paradise Lost sound better than ever. As I’ve already said, the Electric Ballroom does tend to be quite a boomy, bassy venue with its very high ceiling, but this is well controlled for Paradise Lost and the band are squeaky tight, barely putting a foot wrong, and by the time that the final notes of “Say Just Words” from the album “One Second” die, and they leave the stage, the assembled masses are baying for more.
It’s a brief break before they return for a 4 song encore which starts with “Darker Thoughts” and ends with “Ghosts”, both great songs from “Obsidian” and both sound awesome live. This is the end of fab evening where both bands have given their all and connected with the throng of metalheads in front of them. A long overdue return of live music, in a world where tour cancelations due to covid are still happening daily. Thank you!