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Paradise Lost And Moonspell Decimate The Manchester Academy

Photo of Paradise Lost

Band Photo: Paradise Lost (?)

As some (mostly British) people will be aware, this week, the grey and frowning island of the United Kingdom has been bleaker than usual over the last few days after being battered by Storm Eunice. With howling winds, pouring rain and temperatures that would make polar bears think twice, this was the perfect setting for the greatest pairing of Gothic icons since Robert Smith played for Siouxie And The Banshees, as Paradise Lost and Moonspell rolled into Manchester for a dream lineup.

Unlike some fortunate venues, there was no Alunah opening tonight, so instead there was plenty of time for people to join a queue (as we Brits love to do!) and pick up merchandise before Portugal's darkest musical export Moonspell took to the stage. As one might expect, there was a strong showing from their most recent effort, "Hermitage," which included the opening number "The Greater Good," as well as mid set numbers "The Hermit Saints" and "Apophthegmata." These new cuts were received well but it should come as no surprise that staples like "Opium" and "Extinct" were greeted with a significantly warmer response.

2022 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Moonspell's formation and as such, the band celebrated their early days with a double barreled blast of their debut, "Wolfheart." Fans were electric as they were treated to "Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)" followed immediately by "Alma Mater." This being a special guest slot, there were of course some fan favourites missing due to time constraints (I for one would have loved to have heard "In Tremor Dei" and "Ghostsong" for example) but the old adage, "leave them wanting more" was as true as ever on this night as the audience were literally howling as Moonspell launched into traditional set closer "Full Moon Madness." A superb set from perhaps the greatest metal band to ever emerge from the Iberian peninsula.

Tonight's headliners, Paradise Lost, are a law unto themselves and they always have been. Often credited as fathers of Gothic metal, their vast catalogue is a lot more varied than that tag would suggest and the setlist proved exactly that as they dove deep into their past to demonstrate just how eclectic they are. Opening with "Widow" from the legendary "Icon" album (surprisingly the only song from the record on show tonight,) the quintet immediately had fans eating from the palm of their hand. The musicianship of Paradise Lost is extremely hard to beat, with each song sounding inch perfect throughout the whole show.

Just like Moonspell, Paradise Lost also have a new(ish) album to promote, which they did pretty heavily by selecting five songs from "Obsidian" to play. In addition to "Obsidian" other recent albums were represented well with such cuts as "Blood And Chaos" from "Medusa," "Beneath Broken Earth" and "No Hope In Sight" from "The Plague Within" and the title track off "Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us" all brought out. This is not to say that the classics were totally ignored of course, with "As I Die," one of the band's most celebrated songs receiving a raucous response, as did "The Last Time" off of "Draconian Times." Seemingly the biggest responses were given to two songs from the same album, in the forms of "Say Just Words" and "One Second," the latter being the title track of said record.

Interestingly, the encore from Yorkshire's metal kings focused on more recent material, with the aforementioned "Beneath Broken Earth" being accompanied by "Darker Thoughts" and finale "Ghosts," both from "Obsidian." Sandwiched in between "Darker Thoughts" and "Beneath Broken Earth" was a very welcome surprise, as "So Much Is Lost," a track from the band's most controversial (and underrated album "Host,") was also played. Of course, it would have been nice to have heard a few more staples such as "Embers Fire" or "Erased" but with over thirty years of material, you can't expect to hear all of your favourites. The only complaint I have about the set, (other than the Karen behind me shouting at disabled people, was that the vocals seemed very quiet, though I did notice that they seemed clearer when I moved the bar area for the encore. All in all, who knew such darkness could create such a fun night!?

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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