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Interview

Paradise Lost Guitarist Aaron Aedy Sheds Light On "Obsidian"

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Band Photo: Paradise Lost (?)

It takes a lot to become a successful metal band. It takes even more to make a real impact on the genre. Paradise Lost have never been what one would call an ordinary band however. From their first show supporting Acid Reign to headlining festivals around the globe, Paradise Lost pioneered death/doom, being credited with the invention of Gothic metal and even blending electronic influences perfectly with their sound.

Now, at the beginning of a new decade and thirty years on from their debut, "Lost Paradise," the Yorkshire quintet are back with their grim and grizzly new album, "Obsidian." Two weeks from today, the visceral and timely record will be available through Nuclear Blast, the perfect soundtrack to a worried time. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with guitarist Aaron Aedy about the album, as well as the pandemic, the history of the band and much more. You can check it out below.

Diamond Oz: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Aaron. The new album, "Obsidian" is right around the corner. How would you compare it to "Medusa"?

Aaron Aedy: My pleasure! Well, I’d say it has a little more diversity compared to Medusa. It’s a bit less doom-centric and it has many more all-round PL sounds within the songs - including some of our more Gothic moments too.

Oz: What's the meaning behind the title "Obsidian"?

Aaron: The artwork and title are synergistically tied by the dark earth stone, Obsidian - the forklore and superstition around it and how it brings totemistic good luck charms over the ages to help us and give us courage to do the things we must or do not wish, but have to do.

Oz: One of the highlights for me when hearing the album was the guitar work. It seems that you and Greg continue to outdo yourselves with every release. Were there any different approaches to songwriting and playing this time?

Aaron: We’ve always said that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. This has mostly been PL’s mantra for decades. Having worked with Gomez a number of times before, everyone is comfortable in their roles production-wise. The only difference this time is the guitars being recorded at Greg’s studio and then being sent to Gomez.

Oz: The first taste of the album came with the video for "Fall From Grace," which is definitely a classic Paradise Lost style song. The video also fits in with the band's history of bleak visuals too. How much input did the band have with the video and how well do you feel it represents the album?

Aaron: Ash (Pears) has done a number of videos with us now. He did one of my favourite all time PL videos, Beneath Broken Earth, so he gets the vibe of the band and the atmosphere required. He made an excellent selection with the actor who was perfect for that role. That was done a few weeks before the lockdown started to affect the music industry, luckily. He also chatted to Nick about the lyrics and concepts for the album.

Oz: Including "Obsidian," the three most recent albums have returned to the death/doom sound of the earlier days. What brought the band back to this style after the more Gothic and electronic experimentation of the past and do you feel there's much room to grow within the confines of this style?

Aaron: Aye, one thing I can honestly say with Paradise Lost is I think due to the diverse material we did during the first half of our current lifetime, we have quite a broad brush we can hit the musical canvas with. As long as it’s dark, the mediums we have used have been broad enough for us to add a different flavour to any songs to keep it interesting for us all whilst maintaining the dark atmospheres and beak landscape we’re well known for. We can add a mix of slow and medium tempos to make the albums a journey as a whole unit or as individual songs.

Oz: This is your second album for Nuclear Blast. How well do you think the relationship between the band and the label is going?

Aaron: We’re very lucky to be with yet another amazing record label, but having known them for pretty much as long as the band has been going, we knew it was a safe bet relationship-wise. We have known a number of their employees for years and they have the same love for music as we have. It’s the core of why they’re so successful - artists and labels are fans of it all and working to a common goal. We couldn’t be happier, to be honest.

Oz: I'm a big fan of the Over The Madness documentary. Will there come a time when a sequel chronicling the band from "In Requiem" up to the present day?

Aaron: Towards the end of last year, we released the book “No Celebration”. That book catalogues our first 30 years as Paradise Lost. David (Gehlke), who authored the book has done a great job and I really loved all of the interviews. Over the course of a year, the other guys and I probably talked to him for 10-15 hours or so. There was a lot to go through, and trawling through forgotten and refreshed memories was a lot of fun to do. At this point, we’re not sure how much a video documentary would add to that, but who knows? Maybe in a few years or so it would be fun to do!

Oz: While it seems appropriate that a new Paradise Lost album coincides with a time of global panic and misery, it must be very difficult to promote a record while not being able to tour. How has the virus affected the bands' plans and are there any ideas in place to promote the album using different means?

Aaron: It’s affected everyone quite badly in the business. We’ve had to move our launch show from the week of the album’s release. Festivals are getting cancelled for everyone, which can be a big part of a bands income along with tours and the merch you sell. People are moving or cancelling constantly and it’s very much up in the air. People are hoping to slot in shows for later in the year, but without the knowledge of whether anything will happen this year or what to expect going into next year. Venues, staff, band crew, local crew, equipment rental firms, caterers, security, promoters (local and national), agents, everyone is either frantically trying to move, and then re-moving events or losing all their work / income entirely. I know we’re not exclusive as a business to the problems at the moment, but I think mass events and places of gathering with be hit for the longest time. A lot of these jobs aren’t able to work from home as they’re location based, physical or interactive with the public types of jobs. We’re still at the start of this, really, but hoping all bands and people who work in the industry can pull through this. Hard times.

Promotion wise, we’ve always done phone interviews etc, but beyond that, the industry is largely on hold, with some interactive or broadcast gigs going ahead for some bands which is a positive step, but fingers crossed people are sensible and abide by the guidelines so we can get past this period as quickly as possible safely and positively.

Oz: Thank you very much for your time and I wish you only the best with "Obsidian".

Aaron: Thanks for the interview, I hope everyone is safe and wish all in the industry and fans all the best and I know, we can come though this. Music is life.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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2 Comments on "Paradise Lost Guitarist Sheds Light On 'Obsidian'"

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1. Trav writes:

Bloody great interview! Excellent to hear from one of the nicest guys in metal and also to get an insight into a truly outstanding new album. You've touched on a range of different topics here and given us a glimpse into the dark, doomy and gloomy world of Paradise Lost.
Thank you!

# May 25, 2020 @ 8:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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2. Diamond Oz writes:

Thanks Trav, much appreciated!

# May 25, 2020 @ 8:57 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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