Album Review: Paradise Lost – Tragic Illusion 25 (The Rarities)
Posted by Reggie
I am coming down off my Paradise Lost high resulting from their latest release Tragic Illusion 25 (The Rarities) which celebrates a long f’kin time in the music business – 25 years in case that number threw you off. I dive into so-called “rare” albums cautiously and it’s not very often I find them worth my time. But, I do like Paradise Lost; setting all bias aside let’s talk about the new (compilation) album. First, if you dug hard enough you would have probably heard these songs at some point. If you are the kind of person that buys extended editions or looks for that one song on a record company compilation, you may have heard these songs. Instead of calling this an album of rarities, let’s call it what we used to call it…a collection of B-sides. The Rarities encompasses a multi-decade career however, doesn’t pay a whole lot of attention to Paradise Lost’s very early days…therefore, the songs aren’t really that rare…meaning old except for two of them.
If there is any indication as to the future of Paradise Lost you may want to take a solid listen to Loneliness Remains. It’s the only genuine new track on The Rarities which will also appear on Paradise Lost’s limited 10-inch vinyl. I think I need to get a record player…I have an Opeth vinyl I can’t listen to. Anyway, the song is a heavy, drone of a doom metal song which further illustrates their gradual return to their roots. I know this will probably please many long-time fans probably over…35 or so. The new track actually reminds me just a bit of Type O Negative.
There are a couple of cover songs to check out. Never Take Me Alive was originally recorded by Spear of Destiny and Missing was originally recorded by Everything But The Girl, the latter of which I am familiar with. Paradise Lost morphed it to an interesting take on a (mostly) dance song. Two songs from the Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us limited edition (Last Regret and Faith Divides Us) were doused with the orchestral arrangements. If you though these songs were powerful, these orchestral mixes add a whole new layer which I personally find the highlights of the album. In fact, I could listen to an entire album of Paradise Lost music infused with an orchestra. Their gloomy music suits it well.
Several more songs come from albums of recent years. They didn’t make the original cut and were later added to limited or extended versions. From Tragic Idol are Ending Through Changes and The Last Fallen Saviour (Decibel Exclusive). From In Requiem are Silent in Heart, Godless (7” vinyl box), and Sons of Perdition (Japan Edition). From the Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us sessions – Cardinal Zero and Back on Disaster both Japan Edition tracks. For the old-school fans, the icing on the cake being the re-recording of Gothic 2013 and Our Saviour 2013…depending on how you feel about re-recordings. They do still sound pretty raw.
Overall, this set of “rare” songs is a good collection since it represents the depth of the band’s career especially with the couple of songs re-recorded from very long ago (1990-1991) and also one new track Loneliness Remains. They are perfect songs to compare and contrast where the band started and where they are headed 25 years later. Everything in between is bonus because it shows a slightly different side of the band. Many of the limited edition tracks are just that for a reason…usually, those songs don’t quite fit the feel of an album and get left off only to appear later on. In the end, these 14 tracks represent mostly newer “rare” tracks, but collectively, embody the more gothic elements of Paradise Lost. For that, The Rarities is worth it.