BRITISH DOOM metal veterans Paradise Lost, with vocalist Nick Holmes second from right. .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
You probably wouldn’t expect headbanging musicians who ply their trade in the doom metal genre to display long-term stability, but the members of Paradise Lost have defied the stereotype.
Marking their 30th anniversary this year, the pioneering British band retained the same lineup, except for some drumming changes, across 15 albums and non-stop touring that has seen them perform in Israel an astounding eight times.
“We used to come quite a bit in the mid and late 90s,” said singer and lyricist Nick Holmes in a recent phone interview ahead of the band’s show on Thursday, December 20, at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv. “The audiences are always great.”
A young member of the audience in one of those shows went on to form his own band and eventually tour with Paradise Lost. Kobi Farhi, the leader of the popular Israeli metal group Orphaned Land, called them “one of the best and most important bands of the doom metal genre.” They were defined by Wikimedia as an “extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much “thicker” or “heavier” sound than other heavy metal genres.”
“We’re good friends, we toured with them in 2005. A legendary band,” added Farhi.
Holmes is a firm believer in the capacity for music, metal music in particular, to forge bonds among disparate fans, as Orphaned Land, with its sizeable following in Arab countries, has shown.
“Music absolutely can bring people together. It’s about escape and about humans enjoying something together, no matter where you’re from or your political or religious orientation,” said Holmes. “Music can be a great bridge.”
Writing about specific subjects like current events are an anathema to Holmes, who generally writes about human emotions and the depths of despair.
“If I ever wrote a song about current political events, it would be so metaphorical, you wouldn’t recognize what it’s about. It would be incredibly cryptic,” he said with a laugh.
“I wouldn’t even want to go there, because once you write about specifics, you get pinned down. Plus, I wouldn’t want to write about something half-assed, not really knowing what I’m talking about. I write more about human philosophy, what makes us tick.”
Making music has continued to keep Paradise Lost ticking, even as the members creep toward later middle age. However, Holmes doesn’t see a reason why they can’t keep creating the heavy sounds usually associated with youth and bravado.
“It’s a strange thing, when I was younger I never thought in a million years I’d be doing this into my 40s and 50s. I used to see guys that old and wonder ‘why are they still doing it?’ And the answer has become apparent – we can’t do anything else,” said Holmes, laughing again.
“If you’re quite good at it and people still want to hear your music, they why would you want to do anything else? It’s as simple as that. The only thing that would stop us would be ill health, which is creeping up all the time. But apart from that, we’ll keep going until we drop.”