Paradise Lost – “The Plague Within”

When your favorite band comes out with a new album, you go get it on vinyl, right? That’s what I did, and I’m glad I did, but it’s the first time that I got a record with an etching on it. It’s a double LP, but they didn’t need the second side of the second disk to get all the songs on there, so it has an etching instead. It looks like it’s a detail of the cover art (shown above), but just the bottom part of the undead island with all the arches and bridges and stuff, not the awesome two-headed brain-faced skull part on top. It’s still kind of cool, I guess, like, I guess they figured people would be bumbed if the last side was just blank, so they thought they’d put something on there. But if I want to look at something with worms coming out of it, I’d much rather look at the kick-ass cover art itself than some blurry etching.

And then, it occured to me. An ancient memory, buried deep in the shadowy necropolis of my mind. It was gloomy at first, as though wreathed in cobwebs and burial shrouds, but then it became clearer. It was Pootie Tang.

There’s an out-take that plays with the credits at the end which I couldn’t find on the internet, but it’s got Chris Rock playing the same DJ character you see in the clip above. And in the out-take, he’s screaming, “POOTTIIIIE!!! [something-something]” and he’s rubbing the vinyl edition of Pootie’s record all over his head.

I remember feeling really connected to that, but I also remember thinking it probably wasn’t a great way to take care of your vinyl. It is only now. Now, at last, after all this time, do I understand. Pootie was smart. Pootie etched that. Because he knew what people were going to do when they got that record. And so did Paradise Lost.

If Rosetta makes me feel old, Paradise Lost is making me feel the opposite. By which I mean, a reviewer for Loudwire or Revolver or something like that. If I was a frat boy, Paradise Lost would be my Linkin’ Park. It’s not like I really need to tell anyone who’s listening how great I think Paradise Lost is. Especially not since, as every review I’ve seen so far points out, The Plague Within is anything but a departure from form.

Yeah, I know it sounds a lot like the last album. What am I supposed to do, give Paradise Lost a crappy review for giving me exactly what I want, over and over again?

Here’s a synesthetic music video they made for one of the songs from The Plague Within:

It’s cool because you don’t really see much except exactly what’s making the sound. Guitar strings vibrating. Drum heads vibrating. Nick Holmes’ teeth vibrating. And it’s got a killer riff I can actually play. No, Greg Mackintosh doesn’t suck at guitar – he also writes lot of riffs I can’t play – but there’s something about that, riffs that anyone can play and they still blow the walls down. There’s something old and forgotten about that, and it matters, and it makes you feel young when you remember it again.

I’ll never be able to sing like Nick Holmes sings, no matter how hard I try, not even when he’s doing the Gregorian-Peter Steele thing. For those who are interested by growly metal vocals but get annoyed when they can’t understand the words, this is your guy. He’s even easier to understand than Randy Blythe or Angela Gossow, no matter how enraged he gets. Actually, even if the only words you know in English are “fade” , “sorrow” and “never,” any Paradise Lost song will make perfect sense to you.

Not that you should take my word for it. In order to test this, I pulled all of the lyrics from The Plague Within and put them into one of those word cloud generators. Turns out, my hypothesis wasn’t too far off. If necessary, click to enlarge:

plague within word cloud

Not good for your soul, but damn does it put a shine on your hair.

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