The first thing I thought of when playing Paradise Lost was a vast dystopian or futuristic land. The powerful, lonesome image on the album cover combined with the music from first track, “Paradise Lost”, developed that image into something lonely but intriguing. According to Delta Heavy, they wanted an album title that “conjured images of grandeur and scale”, which would have been the case regardless (though the title did enhance it).
In an older interview with Vada, the band were asked to describe their sound for those who hadn’t heard of them. As someone who fell into that category until very recently, what they said was spot on: “Hard-edged, futuristic bass music with a cinematic twist”. Their soundtrack-appropriate music is huge, and most effective with a good pair of earphones.
Parts of the album feel like a continuous journey or story, an intentional aspect of the album. “We’ve structured the album so that for the most part it flows as a whole piece of music, with a beginning, middle and end”, Delta Heavy continue to tell Vada Magazine.
“It’s not the way a lot of people listen to music any more but for us this album has been about creating a piece of work that takes you on a journey rather than a collection of songs so we’re keen for our fans to experience it from beginning to end”. This doesn’t mean that every track flows seamlessly into the next, but many do.
Once the album has thoroughly captured listeners’ attention, the eighth track “Tremors” includes a creepy voice which states: “There no turning back now…” This could mean two things: listeners are trapped with these sounds against their will, or the music has turned them into unexpected fans. I identify with the latter.
If there was one theme that stood out most to me, it would be outer space; unknown galaxies that seem to go on forever. The second track, “Event Horizon”, is the first to overtly mention “space exploration”, and ninth track “Conquer The Galaxy” is pretty self-explanatory. Mostly though, it’s the music that reminds me either of space itself, spaceships, or advanced technology.
Whether this is because space was mentioned from the get-go or because the sounds are associated with space, who can say. Either way, the band have acknowledged that a “space theme suited our music and this album is definitely a continuation of that”.
“Conquer The Galaxy” is a track I can imagine being well-received at a dark live venue due to the excitement and anticipation it encourages. When adrenaline is running high and the crowd hears an intro with a good build-up followed by: “Earthlings, step forward. You have been brought here for a purpose, the most important task of your lives. Do not make me destroy you…”, that’s bound to make anyone’s heart pound. However, besides the cool voice, the track sounds pretty plain.
There are few songs that sound like club/chart hits (“White Flag”, “Punish My Love”, “Conquer The Galaxy”, “Ghost”), but I suppose most of this album wouldn’t be out of place in that setting. I’m not downgrading the sound or implying that all of these tracks sound generic; what’s great about Paradise Lost is its versatility – are we listening to a sci-fi soundtrack, a space simulator, or a drum ‘n’ bass club hit? Why not all three? As “White Flag” has been mentioned, let me just say that it’s a beautiful, atmospheric track with great vocal manipulation.
From beginning to end, the album feels like a journey; a journey full of surprises that you can’t wait to tell someone about. “Paradise Lost” feels like waking up to a new world, whilst end track “Ghost” feels like going home in the back of a car, head resting on the window as you relive every moment. For a debut LP, it’s a pretty solid effort. Paradise Lost was released on March 18 via RAM Records and can be purchased here.
Words by Shanade McConney