School night gigs in Belfast can be awkward buggers to predict, especially in terms of their attendance levels. However, Paradise Lost, paying their first visit to the city in six years, manage to pull a reasonably healthy number of punters – if not quite enough to ease the promoter’s financial burden.
With Tribulation making their way back from the Far East, the Irish opening leg of the tour is limited to two bands, with Lucifer – the new project from former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings – tasked with warming the early comers and dragging the barflies in from the adjoining pub. They deliver dense, traditional Sabbath-ian riffs topped off with the ethereal, almost wistfully folkish vocals of Johanna Sadonis, while the huge bottom end to the sound adds to the density of the aural impact. The overall effect is like of watching an acid-infused Satanic summoning. Set highlights are ‘Sabbath’, with its dark, forbidding harmonics and Sadonis’ earthy vocal perfectly counterpoint the dark throatiness of Dino Gollnick’s bass, and the thick, brooding, swampy groove of closer ‘Morning Star’, a nourish paean to the entity to whom the band’s name itself pays homage. (MA)
It’s still only 8.15pm, and the crowd is still increasing, when Paradise Lost hit the stage. Paradise Lost were last in the city in 2009 for the ‘Full Metal Racket’ gig in the Mandela Hall. However, the last PL gig on everyone’s lips was the disastrous performance in 1999, when Gregor Mackintosh had broken his arm and a roadie filled in and they played a lot of new unfamiliar material.
These thoughts are soon put to bed with the opener “No Hope In Sight’ – even though there are some sound issues especially with the drum sound which sounded boxy. This issue is ironed out by the third song, ‘Gothic’. It is interesting, and most welcome, that the band are revisiting their heavier roots at this time.
‘The Plague Within’ features heavily throughout the show – and rightly so as, it is a stunning record. With a now expansive back catalogue, no one was ever going to be completely satisfied, but the cross section of material aired from albums such as ‘Icon’, ‘Draconian Times’ and ‘Faith Divides Us’ leaves very little to complain about. Nick Holmes appears to be in good form, bantering with the audience, while the rest of the band get the heads down and get the job done well.
For a Monday night in Belfast, the crowd was lacklustre in its interaction but at the same time very attentive. The set was finished off with ‘Just Say Words’, which is a good one to end a superb gig. This is the start of a month of iconic bands playing Belfast and an excellent one to kick things of with. (DMcC)
Paradise Lost’s ‘The Plague Within’ tour continues tonight at the Academy 2 in Manchester tonight (Wednesday September 30), and then as follows:
Thursday October 1 – Glasgow, Garage
Saturday October 3 – Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
Sunday October 4 – London, Koko
They also play the following dates later in the year:
Thursday November 12 – Liverpool, O2 Academy 2
Friday November 13 – Nottingham, Rock City
- Review by Mark Ashby and David McCallum
- Photographs by The Dark Queen
- All content © PlanetMosh 2015