Paradise Lost - LIVE: Roundhouse, London 2013

Tragic Illusion 25th Anniversary Tour
November 3 (21:40-22:55)
Capacity 1700

English doom veterans Paradise Lost waited most of the year to celebrate their 25th anniversary, and then did so in a fairly restrained manner, releasing a compilation of rare tracks, and only playing 12 headlining dates with their special anniversary set.

Italian alternative metal outfit Lacuna Coil, long-time friends of Paradise Lost, were revealed as special guests as soon as the short tour was announced, and then they bolstered the line-up by adding Swedes Katatonia as high-profile openers. As they were in the process of preparing a 10th anniversary re-issue of their Viva Emptiness album, they decided to play the whole thing exclusively on this tour.

They actually played it in reverse order to ensure they ended with the ever-popular Ghost of The Sun, but on this evening at least, their live performance simply did not live up to their creative abilities. Katatonia have made more breathtaking albums than any one band has the right to make, but putting those complete works on the live stage doesn't always work as the band stands stock still for 50 minutes and plays through music that should be savoured from an arm chair. It's not really their fault, as it worked very well with the non-stop sing-along of their seminal Last Fair Deal Gone Down album, which they played all of on tour in 2011. It's just that Viva Emptiness doesn't have that same appeal. Devoted fans in the crowd still loved their set, but everyone else seemed bored.

It's fair to say that there weren't many devoted Lacuna Coil fans in the audience. They were the odd band out on the night, and are not regarded especially highly by "true" metal fans. That's probably why they turned up the energy in their performance so much. Compared to when they were in London headlining the ULU on their pre-release tour for Dark Adrenaline, where they tried but were undone by bad sound and the small stage, in the larger space of the Roundhouse they excelled. Blowing away any preconceptions about their shows, their energy levels were ridiculous and with a crisp, heavy sound they surprised a lot of people who were geared up to hate them. This show was definitely a success for them.

The headliners of course had no such concerns. The vast majority of the room were there for them, and it probably wouldn't have mattered what they played. A particularly jovial Nick Holmes greeted the audience before the first song started, and what followed was a remarkable set covering the band's entire catalogue.

But, it wasn't a greatest hits set by any means, as they plundered each album for something interesting and not necessarily regularly played, particularly in the case of opener Mortals Watch The Day from Shades of God, which hadn't been played for 20 years. Even the underrated Symbol of Life was represented with Isolate, which has made sporadic appearances, but hasn't been played regularly for ten years. The only album not to feature in the set was the much maligned electronic-influenced Believe In Nothing.

As a live entity Paradise Lost are fortunate to have Nick Holmes. Much like Katatonia the band are far from animated, but they have a front-man unencumbered by having to play an instrument, and it's this freedom of movement, as well has his naturally engaging performance, which saves the band as a visual spectacle. The music does the rest and with the advantage of such an interesting set (highlighted by Tragic Idol, Never For The Damned, and Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us, the ultra-heavy trio of songs from the last three albums) true Paradise Lost fans couldn't fail to be captivated.

They closed the main set with ever-popular single Just Say Words, before opening a lengthy encore with another rarity, Rotting Misery from debut album Lost Paradise, which they hadn't played since 1990, followed by a trio of hits in One Second, True Belief, and recent favourite Over The Madness. And in a short 75-minutes it was done, leaving everyone wishing they'd played at least another half an hour.

A shorter set is the price paid for a package like this, and the band can't be blamed for wanting their anniversary celebrations to be maximum value for money for their fans. But with Katatonia's set being so lacking in interest, and Lacuna Coil being such a mis-match, most in attendance would probably have preferred one or other of the support bands to be dropped in favour of a longer Paradise Lost set. They were that good.

“ a remarkable set ”

Katatonia setlist: Inside The City of Glass / Wait Outside / Omerta / Evidence / Complicity / Walking By A Wire / One Year From Now / Wealth / Burn The Remembrance / Will I Arrive / A Premonition / Criminals / Sleeper / Ghost of The Sun

Lacuna Coil setlist: I Don't Believe In Tomorrow / Kill The Light / Fragments of Faith / Heaven's A Lie / The Game / Our Truth / Upsidedown / Without Fear / Swamped / Intoxicated / Trip The Darkness / Spellbound

Paradise Lost setlist: Mortals Watch The Day / So Much Is Lost / Remembrance / Gothic / Enchantment / Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us / Tragic Idol / Never For The Damned / Isolate / Say Just Words // Rotting Misery / One Second / True Belief / Over The Madness

Photo(s): Andy Lye

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Doom Metal, Gigs, , ,

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