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It is logical, for a website named Doom-metal.com, to say that a lot of us are fans of Paradise Lost and that the debt our favourite genre owns to the English band is huge. Yet, the band has departed from Doom a lot of times since 'Draconian Times' was released. However, since the release of the self-titled album in 2005, various hints were letting us suppose that PL was slowly coming back to the doom and gloom of their early days. Such is finally the case with 'The Plague Within' and we took the time to have a chat with Nick Holmes (vocals) about how this came to be.

Interview with Paradise Lost.

The current band, L-R: Adrian Erlandsson (Drums), Stephen Edmondson (Bass), Nick Holmes (Vocals), Gregor Mackintosh (Lead Guitar/Keys), Aaron Aedy (Rhythm Guitar).

'The Plague Within' marks a (not-so-, considering the musical evolution since the s/t album in 2005) surprising return to your roots: was it a conscious decision in the making?

I guess we decided to approach the vocals differently this time, and as a result I guess it changed the vibe with a lot of the music, Its not really about the roots , more the spirit of the old days. I don't think we could have written this album in 1989.

Your collaboration with Bloodbath, as well as Greg's involvement in Vallenfyre: can it be said it was the sparking factor for such a return to that old sound?

I'm sure there is some sub conscious element there, but nothing direct, not from me at least , Bloodbath is a lot different from PL. Greg writes all the music so I guess doing the V stuff has rubbed off at times.

Was it hard to come back to such old school riffs? Were there any differences in the way of creating 'The Plague Within' from 'Tragic Idol'?

Old school metal is about welding riffs together, it's something we haven't done for a long time, we have in the past being bogged down with trying to write singles and making songs structured, so on this album we completely tossed aside anything that's considered the rules, and just wrote what we thought sounded good.

Even production-wise, your sound is this time a full 'back to the 90's' approach: was this necessity brought by the writing of the songs? Who produced it and what did he bring to the PL signature sound?

It's a modern sounding production, we just didnt use sampled drums, which I consider as an old fashioned sound in a way. We used Jaime Gomez Arellano at Oregone Studios. He's definitely not into the "new metal" sound and that's good enough for us.

The video 'Beneath Broken Earth' was very well-received by fans: how did the idea of simply filming yourself in a room come about, compared to the previous "films" you had done? Who had this idea and what do you wish to express through these images?

In short there is nothing else you can do to that song except play it. Its so slow, Headbanging and jumping around would look ridiculous! I think the video works largely 'cos of the way it has been edited though.

I remember you saying there was a bunch of material that was discarded because it was too different from what we can hear on 'The Plague Within': different in which way(s)? Is it something that could be released later, as part of a compilation or a companion album (I was thinking in the way of The Mission UK album 'Grains Of Sand', which is composed of songs from the sessions of 'Carved In Sand' that didn't find their place on the original album)?

Its unlikley, stuff that is discarded was usually discarded for a reason, i.e , its not very good! Its always nice to start writing with a clean slate, too.

Does that means you couldn't do another 'Host'?

I would say never say never about anything , but at this point in time, it's not on the horizon!

What were your non-musical inspirations for 'The Plague Within' this time? What does 'The Plague Within' mean, from a thematic point of view?

The plague within is about the battle with a tormented mind I guess, there is inspiration around every corner, life has a tendency to creep up on you and remind you that you arent that special and bad things can happen to you as well as anyone else.

Who did the artwork this time? Did you gave him/her instructions or was it a fully original creation? What does it express within the album?

Zbigniew M. Bielak did the artwork, it depicts Sisyphus pushing his burden back into a long frozen illusion.

Since the s/t album, you've used only negative expressions as album titles ('Paradise Lost', 'In Requiem', 'Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us', 'Tragic Idol', 'The Plague Within'... Don't tell me it's all sun and flowers and shiny unicorns ;) ): why these choices? Is Paradise Lost condemned to be a dark-minded band? And yourself, wouldn't you like to sing something more cheerful for a change, once in a while?

I don't like cheerful imagery, lyrics, music, there is something insincere about overly happy things, happiness is fleeting and often not truthful. Misery tends to be a bit more genuine. However I like a laugh as much as the next person.

The band will celebrate this year the 25th anniversary of Lost paradise : looking back to this, would you have thought to have such a long career ? What would be the advice from nowadays Nick Holmes to the 1990 Nick Holmes ?

I would tell him to stop being a cocky dickhead, amongst other things, but if you can't be cocky when you are young , when can you be?

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Interviewed on 2015-07-15 by Laurent Lignon.
Thermal Mass
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