Sometimes, good things come unexpectedly. Honestly, when I got this CD in the mail, I was shocked. Little dumb me thought PARADISE LOST had broken up (I don't know why I thought that)!! So with pure curiosity I popped this little disc into my CD player, not knowing what to expect.
What I heard pleased me. It was mid-tempoed Atmospheric/Gothic Hard Rock, and I was honestly surprised that I liked it! This is far from what I thought I'd normally enjoy. Melancholic and depressing, yet catchy and up-beat is the only way I could describe the CD.
"Isolate" is one hell of a way to start off this album, mixing melody, mood, aggressiveness and catchiness, all within the first ten seconds into the song. It sets us up for the rest of the album. It grabs your attention immediately, and it does not let go. The following three songs are much slower, doomy-er and melancholic, but they're still catchy as hell, and the melodies will still be stuck in your head hours after you press the stop button. Other highlights include "Mystify", starting with a mid-tempo Power Metal riff, going into the bands typical Goth Metal verse structure and "Channel For The Pain", that starts off as an almost Punk/Thrash Metal song, probably the most heavy thing on the album. Most other songs are similar structure wise to the first 3 songs, but I'm not complaining. Each one stands out on its own (eventually), and they're all very well written and catchy songs.
There are also 2 covers on the album, one from DEAD CAN DANCE, and another who I don't recognize. Again, I'm not into Gothic/Industrial/Doom Metal/Rock, so I could not tell you if the band did the songs justice, but I will say that they're not bad at all, and they fit the album PERFECTLY. Out of the two songs, I enjoy "Small Town Boy" (Originally from the Eighties from BRONSKI BEAT. - Alex), because it's a bit more because the chorus is one of the catchiest things I've ever heard in my life. The melody will not leave your head at all! It seems they're only on the DigiPak version, though.
I'm not sure how this album will be received amongst veteran PARADISE LOST fans, as this was my first exposure to this band. Never the less, it was a pretty good record to my ears. There were some parts on this album that had a very Dance groove to them, and in a weird way, this melancholic band makes you feel good. (Online January 21, 2003)