Son-of-Furtheron and I went to see Paradise Lost last night at The Quarterhouse in Folkestone.
Firstly Paradise Lost - a doom laden gothic metal band from Yorkshire, have been around a long time now but never got the accolades I think they deserve. If you don't know them let me say if you like Metallica (esp Black Album material), Opeth and even the heavier live elements of The Prodigy and Pendulum you should go and check them out.
Secondly - venue - first time I'd been there. Folkestone is like many old seaside towns, the holiday traffic long since dried up with the cheap package tours from the 70s onwards. It had a large funfair that closed in the end, it has a harbour where you used to be able to get to France but Dovers dominance in the market and the Channel Tunnel put paid to that some years back... so a town in transition. Like many the arts are seen as part of that transformation and you have a dichotomy now within the harbour area of galleries, ceramic workshops etc. around old style cafes and bars etc. The Quarterhouse is a new arts venue built as part of the re-generation. It is a nice modern venue, not as large as I was expecting but gets pretty much a full set of ticks.
Okay the gig - two support acts from Scandinavia in the form of Bredia (I think that was the spelling) from Norway - one or two small highlights but a bit samey. Insomnuim were on next (from Finland) - these boys looked the part - all long hair and synchronised windmills from the word go. S-o-F had given them a listen earlier in the day and his view of them being "a bit like a heavier Opeth with a vocal style that is roary but more tuneful that many"... fair assessment. I liked the variety in their tunes too and the guitarists had worked on complementary styles, the solos were nice and varied as well unlike many metal - lets go whiddle whiddle whiddle as quickly as possible at every chance.
To the main act - I discovered Paradise Lost at Sonisphere some years back on the second stage around lunchtime on the Saturday I think it was. I was really impressed then - last night even more so. They have a great variety to their writing in terms of the leads are melodic, the riffs used appropriately, variety in the vocal delivery and as I say unlying an infusion of genres from rangeing from all points heavy to include techno rhythms etc. They played a plethora of material throughout their now extensive back catalogue and a few new ones of the new album Tragic Idol which is due out later this month. One the strength of last nights evidence it'll pick up where Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us left off. I can't wait to get it frankly. The show was brilliant - a band on top form delivering a really tight driving set. Both guitarists use Mayones 7 string beasts and more than once my son and I exchanged looks of "What the hell was that chord/riff?". Greg Mackintosh has a very identifiable and unique sound, I think he uses a Wah always cocked to a certain position so you get that odd sort of nasally sound - a bit like Schenker has used, but a higher frequency. He often then uses I presume a second wah over that on his solos. Whatever the technicalities of it you know it is him from note 1 of a solo, and his solos are very melodic and thought through - regular people here will know Steve Rothery of Marillion is one of my biggest heroes/influences and I'd liken Greg's approach to solos to that of Steve's but in obviously a heavier setting. Trust me if you like unique melodic guitar playing search out their material. Have I sold Paradise Lost enough yet? I'm a big fan you may be able to tell...
I can't fail to be amazed that bands like Paradise Lost and Logan in the UK fail to get wider audiences, if Paradise Lost came from Germany/Scandinavia they'd be national heroes, if Logan were from the USA they'd be selling albums by the truck load. Oddly home grown rock talent in the UK struggles, people still buy Maiden, Ozzy, etc. bemoaning the passing on the golden rock years but frankly guys there are bands like Paradise Lost out there banging out great music to sadly a couple of hundred people in a club in Folkestone where as they should be packing out the O2 in my humble opinion.
I was asked for a set list... oh hum - problem is I'm rubbish at remembering them. But below is my best stab but it is inaccurate, incomplete and in a random order - apologies.
Fear of Impending Hell
In this we Dwell (stated as first ever live performance)
Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us
Beneath Black Skies
Symbol of Life