It's a contradiction in terms really; listening to a new release from my favourite Brits always fills me with joy. A fact that is kind of strange since the music is far from joyful but Paradise Lost has always had a spiritual uplifting effect on me. Over their two decade long career they have never failed to impress me and the fact that they always have tried to evolve their sound without losing their trademark is nothing but fascinating.
The criticism the 1999 offering Host received, heavily influenced by Depeche Mode amongst others, was not righteous at all if you ask me and personally I think it's a splendid record. If you exclude the first two albums, which I honestly haven't listened to a lot, they have produced nothing but great records and I rank Draconian Times (1995) and One Second (1997) as the peaks of their career so far even if it's a hard task to do.
"Never saw the light against the world, never see the truth in all I've heard. Never for the damned!" With these uplifting words Nick Holmes welcomes us to Paradise Lost anno 2007 and sets the tone from the very beginning as In Requiem is a very dark and heavy album. I would describe it as the melting pot of the previous self titled album and Draconian Times. It's a mix between the heavy and raw sound from the beginning of their career and the moody and beautiful melodies from the records they've done lately.
I have to admit that I wasn't floored instantly; In Requiem really needed some time to grow on me. On the third or fourth listening session however all the pieces fell into its right place and I rank it as their best output since One Second and therefore surpasses such great records as Symbol Of Life and Paradise Lost. The quality of the song writing is very even along the way but I have to mention a couple of tracks that stick out just a little bit from the rest. The Enemy that has been chosen as the first single inhabits a haunting female vocal melody that is very efficient and a perfect choice to represent the album.
Requiem has a very heavy and angry verse but lightens up with a great chorus that includes fantastic vocal- and guitar melodies. The rhythmical guitars in the beginning of Unreachable catch your attention directly and the melancholic melody is a perfection of art. Fallen Children is quite fast if you compare it to the rest with a stomping chorus that includes very tasteful string arrangements.
Last but absolutely not least we have my absolute favourite track on In Requiem; Beneath Black Skies. It begins with a simple yet efficient piano melody before the guitars take over. This composition is in possession of all the things I love with Paradise Lost. A dark atmosphere arranged in the best of ways together with beautiful guitar- and vocal melodies mixed into a perfect symbiosis.
In Requiem is Paradise Lost's eleventh album and they still manage to evolve their sound and stay fresh. The fact that their discography breathes quality all over is nothing but impressing and few are those who can compete with that. For those of you have the slightest interest in this band it's a must buy because In Requiem is one of their best albums ever.