PARADISE LOST — Icon (Album Review)

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Thirty years later, Paradise Lost’s “Icon” has more than proved that it is indeed a timeless masterpiece. Thus, Paradise Lost chose to celebrate and reclaim this classic record. Because Paradise Lost never owned the rights to Icon’s music and artwork, they had to re-record the album and have a new cover created in order to reissue it. “Icon 30” is a gorgeous triumph that every metalhead should check out. This spellbinding offering is defined by its rare magic, infectious energy, unreal momentum, and veteran confidence.

On “Icon 30,” one of the first things that listeners will notice is the Herculean strength of Nick Holmes’ vocals. He delivers an absolutely magnificent performance. His raw passion and enviable control are cause for wonder. The whole team exudes extraordinary charisma. Their chemistry is remarkable. Paradise Lost seems to embody unity and clarity of vision. After all, each member is original, except drummer Guido Zima Montanarini. On the one hand, “Icon 30” stands as proof that Paradise Lost has the secret to everlasting youth, which is apparent in their beastly power. On the other, Paradise Lost’s work continues to speak to evolved and worldweary souls.

The album’s sound is still massive, and yet, as in the past, it, fortunately, has an intimate appeal. The new production allows the awe-inspiring guitar work to truly pop and shine. This is one of “Icon 30”’s greatest assets. Overall, experiencing Icon 30 can be compared to suddenly seeing a movie in IMAX. The music has a crystalline quality in places. Yet, a beneficial amount of dirtiness persists. This helps give the record a live feel. The album was recorded at the studio of Paradise Lost’s producer Jaime Gomez Arellano as well as at Greg Mackintosh’s Black Planet Studios. We must, however, note that there is a murky charm and character to “Icon”’s dustier production that makes it no less worthy than the more polished updated version. We should also mention that “Icon” was actually recorded and mastered in great places that were used by a long list of top talents. Yes, it is important to remember that the highly accomplished producer Simon Efemey and the others involved did a superb job the first time around.

“Icon 30” Artwork

Thankfully, “Icon 30” remains true to the spirit of the original. At the same time, it sounds subtly different enough to give listeners the glorious impression of hearing the tracks for the first time.
There shouldn’t be anything on this record that would give die-hard fans cause for anger. On the contrary, because the essential ingredients remain intact, we hear on the album in question why Icon has proved so influential over the decades. Indeed, it seems impossible to overstate the impact of Paradise Lost. We constantly observe elements of what they pioneered in countless bands. Due to their fearless artistic exploration, Paradise Lost has made various types of breakthroughs, but Icon specifically marked their departure from death-doom.

Nick Holmes’ lyrics and Greg Mackintosh’s compositions remain what they were — brilliant. These masters of chiaroscuro know how to perfectly blend beauty and brutality, grace and muscle, sophistication and aggression, ear candy and meaning. Every track is an expertly crafted gem. The embellishments, such as the symphonic opening on “Embers Fire,” truly arrest us. The female vocals on “Christendom” and the piano on “Deus Misereatur” are every bit as pleasing as they were on the original recording. Despite its nostalgic nature, “Icon 30” feels wholly fresh and even, yes, fashionable in all of its dark gothic allure. The album, of course, treats us to killer riffs, dazzling guitar solos, potent rhythms, wicked grooves, intoxicating melodies, etc. Although “Icon 30” is unbearably heavy both in terms of sound and content, the songs are often extremely catchy. The record most definitely has its upbeat moments. It partially seems like the work of brooding curmudgeons, but it begs you to imagine the music filling stadiums.

Although re-recordings often fall flat, it seems fair to call “Icon 30” an epic achievement. The creators behind it have had a fantastic year in general. Fans loved Greg Mackintosh and Nick Holmes debut album under the Host banner, “IX,” which dropped on February 24.

Mackintosh and Guido Zima’s latest EP by with Strigoi, “Bathed in a Black Sun”, represents yet another victory. We now eagerly await Paradise Lost’s follow-up to “Obsidian” (2020).

Released By: Independent
Release Date: December 1st, 2023
Genre: Gothic Metal / Doom Metal

Icon 30 Track-List:

  1. Embers Fire
  2. Remembrance
  3. Forging Sympathy
  4. Joys of the Emptiness
  5. Dying Freedom
  6. Widow
  7. Colossal Rains
  8. Weeping Words
  9. Poison
  10. True Belief
  11. Shallow Seasons
  12. Christendom
  13. Deus Misereatur

Musicians:

Nick Holmes / Vocals
Greg Mackintosh / Guitars (lead), keyboards
Aaron Aedy / Guitar (rhythm)
Steve Edmondson / Bass
Guido Zima Montanarini / Drums

Guests:

Heather Thompson Mackintosh / Additional vocals (track 12)
Milton Evans / Piano (track 13)

Order Icon 30 HERE.

9.6 Excellent

Although re-recordings often fall flat, it seems fair to call "Icon 30" an epic achievement. It remains true to the spirit of the original, while at the same time sounding subtly different enough to give listeners the glorious impression of hearing the tracks for the first time

  • Songwriting 10
  • Musicianship 10
  • Originality 9.0
  • Production 9.5
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