Confessor and Paradise Lost…
Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 @ 3:06pm » permalink
I can tend to be a slacker, so it took me far, far too long to finally pick up "Unraveled", the long-awaited new full-length from North Carolina's absolutely legendary Confessor, released by Season of Mist. It's hard to believe that this is only the band's second record within a span of over 15 years – spurred on by unfortunate circumstances when 4/5 of their original lineup reunited in 2002 for some shows to benefit the family of their former guitarist, Ivan Colon, after his unfortunate passing due to cardiac complications.
As hinted at on the "Blueprint Soul" and "Sour Times" EP's, this material is certainly more tangible and streamlined than the band's 1991 Earache debut, "Condemned": An absolute cult classic in every sense with its completely insane time signatures and almost impossible to trace math metal rhythmic intricacies. The result lends a slightly sludgier edge to a lot of the material that provides more credibility to some of the "doom" related tags that have been thrown the band's way here and there over the years; while vocalist Scott Jeffreys has certainly pulled in the reigns and gained more control over his high-pitched yet gloomy wails. While I can't help but find myself longing for a little more of the off the wall math metal mastery the band explored in their earlier days, there are still complex rhythmic flurries aplenty here, and even a cursory focus on Steve "One of the Greatest Drummers to Have Ever Walked the Planet" Shelton's drumming should of course crack a smile for the band's longtime fans (As should the bonus re-recording of "The Secret" from 1990's "Metal Massacre 10" compilation! Fuck yes!). But while "Condemned" was certainly chock full of memorable moments, I'd definitely argue that Confessor's overall songsmanship has benefited from this more fluid delivery, and they haven't surrendered any of their inimitable characteristics either. It's pretty much impossible for a band in this position to top a record like "Condemned", but to come back so many years later with a follow-up as solidly executed (not to mention produced – the recording is fuckin' great) as "Unraveled" is a damn admirable feat, indeed.
I'm sure there are other older Confessor fans such as myself who have also slept on buying this puppy for awhile now, so if you enjoy this stuff then make the grab and give these guys the incentive to stick around and keep cranking out more tunes:
@ The End Records
I can't even remember what label sent me the latest self-titled effort from Paradise Lost, but I think it was Abacus Recordings? Whatever the case, this is the only Paradise Lost record from the last 10 years that I own, I pretty much gave up on the band when they started meandering around after "Draconian Times". I've actually been looking into buying all of those in between records for a few years now 'cause I'm a pretty loyal guy and there are some strong songs on those discs, but Paradise Lost has been inexplicably plagued with atrocious US distribution for several years now. Speaking of which, it took forever for this thing to see an American release, and I can't really imagine the "logic" behind Century Media's decision to dump a legendary UK metal band over to a predominantly hardcore/metalcore imprint like Abacus (who scarcely mentions this release on their site at all), but whatever.
What matters is that this is a great fuckin' record, I'm really loving it. A total return to form for a band that's been around for coming up on 20 years now. Overall it's possible that the songwriting isn't quite as consistently powerful here as it was on "Icon" or "Draconian Times", but at least for now the band has definitely made the conscious decision to take a much more stripped down and back to basics approach to the writing and performances – rediscovering their patented brand of rocked out midpaced rhythms and melodic lead lines that of course laid the groundwork for what masterful acts such as Katatonia are doing these days. It's nothing fancy, really – just straightforward, memorable song structures and a number of incredibly memorable tunes. Great, great recording and artwork, too! Since I honestly don't appreciate the band's pre-"Shades of God" work but so much I'd actually place this self-titled effort among their three best records. Not too shabby for their 10th full-length, eh!?
Paradise Lost "Sun Fading"
Paradise Lost "Forever After"
Paradise Lost "Redshift"
As mentioned I can't really locate any real mention of this CD on Abacus Recordings' website outside of Google's cache, and Amazon.com only seems to stock the import edition of the CD. It's not in stock at The End Records either, which I hope is due to the strength of the record actually making some sales? It's out there, though, and for reasonable prices, so… longtime fans that abandoned Paradise Lost in the mid-90's should turn a forgiving ear in this direction, because they've redeemed themselves in full:
@ Relapse Records