Paradise Lost Albums – Ranked! (From Worst to Best)

Paradise Lost are a British doom metal band formed in Halifax, England in 1988. The band consists of founding members vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, as well as bassist Steve Edmondson, with current drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Bodom after Midnight, Abhorrence) who joined in 2016. The band has gone through many different stylistic changes throughout their 30+ year career, and with the release of Obsidian in May 2020, the time has never been better to rank and review every main release.

#16 – Host (1999)

Evolving on from the softer edge of their prior record, One Second, Nick Holmes and company abandoned the guitars in favour of dialling up synths and electronics. It’s a shift which, while jarring at first, ultimately comes across as a solid album, albeit one that shares much more in common with Depeche Mode, New Order and Duran Duran than anything in the rock or metal scene. For what it’s worth, I really do love this album for what it is, and spin it frequently to this day when I’m in the mood for something mellow and morose. With songs like It’s Too Late, Last Day of Summer, So Much is Lost and Permanent Solution on the track list, it’s worth checking out at least once to make your own mind up.

#15 – Believe in Nothing (2001)

A very similar album in tone and approach to Host, but one that brought back guitars, however minor of a role that they play in the mix. This album tends to get unfairly bashed by critics in a way that I have never really understood. It sounds to me like the perfect and logical evolution of what started in One Second and Host with a little more structure. Some songs here are well worth listening to, and Nick Holmes’ soaring singing voice in the choruses of tracks like I Am Nothing, World Pretender and Fader are worth the price of admission alone. Believe in Nothing tries some new things, not all of it works, but it’s a pleasant ride all the same.

#14 – Symbol of Life

Completing a trilogy of electronic/gothic rock albums, Symbol of Life takes what worked in their prior two entries and runs with it. There’s more of a guitar presence here, more so than Believe in Nothing, and overall, a greater sense of ferocity that was lacking on everything passed Draconian Times up to now. Coupled with the cleaner production and some genuine guitar riffs and bass lines at last, this album comes full circle in the experimentation period and does enough right to edge it up on the others that were released around the similar time. One listen to Primal or Channel For The Pain will tell you everything you need to know.

#13 – One Second (1997)

The band had a lot of guts to change up as drastically as they did when writing and releasing their follow-up to 1995’s Draconian Times, and that should be commended. Gone was Nick’s gruff metal bark and absent were Greg’s emotive lead lines and solos. Instead, One Second shifted leaned fully into gothic rock territory. Synths were present in Paradise Lost’s music before, but now they were the main focus. This change was controversial at the time but now, when looking back, I think that this album has rightfully earned its place in history as one of the best in goth rock. There are some really great tracks on offer too: the title track is an obvious highlight, though Say Just Words is a live staple for a reason, with Another Day, Mercy and Soul Courageous being no slouch either.

#12 – Paradise Lost (2005)

The first of many bold claims on this list, arguably if you don’t count how low I’ve decided to rank One Second. Regardless, on their tenth studio album, the band went back to the drawing board and attempted to redefine exactly who and what Paradise Lost was. The result? A record that keeps the emphasis on melody and catchy hooks from albums like One Second and Believe In Nothing, whilst Nick’s barking metal vocals are once again in full force, a full decade after they were last heard on Draconian Times. Synths are still here, but the guitars once again sounded dirty and heavy. There was no mistakes that this was a metal album through and through. Close Your Eyes and Sun Fading can attest to that. A great blend.

#11 – Tragic Idol (2012)

It’s a tough call ranking everything from this point on, as every album on this list I love in almost equal measure. Tragic Idol largely carried on from the groundwork laid by the two albums that came before it: In Requiem and Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us, but fails to do anything to surpass what could be found on those records. Tragic Idol is instead a refinement on some great atmosphere and stellar songwriting, that doesn’t bring all too much new to the table. Standout songs from this one include: In This We Dwell, The Glorious End and the mammoth that is Fear of Impending Hell.

#10 – In Requiem (2007)

Finally! This is what I was expecting to hear of a modern Paradise Lost album in the 2000s. Here were the hallmarks of everything that made Paradise Lost as special as they were in the decade prior, with the benefit of better production and a broader soundscope. This album was very atmospheric and moody, much like Shades of God and Icon, but still retained the synths, pianos and melodic chorus hooks of the 2000s output by the band, all wrapped up in a slick 45-minute package. Is it perfect? No. However, In Requiem was the return to form that fans, myself included, were expected when the band began to get experimental at the turn of the decade. Ash & Debris, The Enemy and Your Own Reality can attest to it. Gothic and doom in equal measure. A lot to love.

#9 – Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us (2009)

I take no pleasure in ranking this gem as low as it is on this list, if anything it’s a testament to just how strong these next few records are. Boasting a gorgeous level of production and the best title track in the band’s history, Faith Divides is a savagely instrumentally heavy record that punches up the aggression far beyond anything that had been heard from the band since Draconian Times. Living with Scars is one of Paradise Lost’s heaviest tracks in decades, with striking pinch harmonics squealing in the intro riff and chorus, and a thick chugging rhythm throughout. Rise of Denial is equally punchy too, there are many strong contenders to the gothic/doom crown on this record that make you want to give yourself whiplash from how hard your head sways, not to mention the pure sludge of Universal Dream. Hard to go wrong with this one.

#8 – Lost Paradise (1990)

When the topic of early Paradise Lost records is brought up, I seldom hear anyone mention their debut record, and that’s a shame. As with any proto genre album of this type, there are certainly certain teething problems, with holds Lost Paradise back from true greatness, but it’s a masterpiece of slow, old school death metal grinding all the same. This concept was nothing new, arguably what was going on from other acts at the time such as Obituary and Death were of a similar vein, but Paradise Lost managed to strike that core balance of death metal’s heft and doom metal’s oppressive atmosphere. Performances are solid across the board too, first instance of Nick’s growl that wouldn’t return for decades. Stand outs include: Our Saviour, Paradise Lost, Rotten Misery and Internal Torment II.

#7 – Medusa (2017)

I can’t lie, I fucking love this record. To be completely honest, I love all of these albums in almost equal measure. Medusa built upon the blueprint of The Plague Within, with clean vocals taking a backseat to Nick Holmes’ aged growl once again, and all the better for it. Medusa was the band coming full circle to the days of Lost Paradise and Gothic, which had also evolved the structure of death/doom tenfold in the near thirty-year gap. This was a record that showed the band on top form, and is incredibly strong with songs such as From The Gallows, Gods of Ancient, Until the Grave and No Passage for the Dead demonstrating that some of Greg’s work in Vallenfyre had rubbed off in equal measure to Nick’s role in Bloodbath. Immeasurably heavy. Unapologetically doom.

#6 – Draconian Times (1995)

Yeah, you read that right. I really have ranked Draconian Times, the landmark gothic metal masterpiece this low in their discography. Here me out. As with Medusa and Death Unites, I really do love this album, and its legacy is a large reason as to why I’ve put it this highly, but in comparison to Shades of God and Gothic, I feel that the axe is a little more dull, if you know what I’m saying. Draconian Times is a very catchy album, with melodies and rich chorus lines throughout. Nick’s shouty Hetfield impression is also peak here, and fits the tone perfectly. Make no mistake, this isn’t a soft record, but it more accessible than all that came before. This is a gothic metal record through and through, very little death remains, and that’s okay. Spin Once Solumn, Shadowkings and I See Your Face for a solid taste what this record has to offer. It rules.

#5 – The Plague Within (2015)

With the news that Nick was replacing Peter Tägtgren, as vocalist for Bloodbath circling in 2013, expectations were high for not only what Old Nick could do for the death metal Swedes, but also what impact that would play for the future of Paradise Lost. The result? One of their best records, ever. Arguably for the first time since their debut effort in 1990, the band had embraced their death metal roots for a record that defied all expectations. Sure, Death Divides Us and Tragic Idol were great albums, but THIS was something else. Without question one of, if not, THE darkest albums in their discography, The Plague Within represents all things death/doom to me, and for good reason. It’s a fucking masterpiece. Need convincing? Listen to Beneath Broken Earth, Punishment Through Time or Terminal and get back to me, I’ll be waiting.

#4 – Obsidian (2020)

I took my time carefully considering where to place the band’s newest work, and after two dozen or so listens since May of this year, I think I have my answer. Catering to fans of every era of the band, well maybe not Host, Obsidian gracefully transcends conventions of death/doom whilst also genre-melding gothic and alternative metal. The intro track Darker Thoughts starts with a stunning acoustic piece, before the muscle of the guitars and growls breaks out. For fans of Medusa and The Plague Within, you’ll be right at home with The Devil Embraced, Fall From Grace, Ghosts and Ravenghast does the heavy lifting where Ending Days, Hope Dies Young and Forsaken takes cues from their mid-2000s output. It’s something very special, and I’m happy that amidst all this in 2020, we get such a powerful record to indulge ourselves in.

#3 – Icon (1993)

Take everything that I said about Draconian Times, double it, and apply it to Icon. It’s hard to believe that Paradise Lost’s trilogy of gothic metal records all came out a year apart from each other, with Icon being the last before Draconian Times in 1995. What we have in Icon is a confident and melodic metal soundscape that features some of the best choruses and guitar solos in the band’s history. Difficult to go wrong with any of these songs, and these final three records to rank on this last are largely interchangeable at this point. What can I say that hasn’t already been said better by someone else in the near 30 years since this dropped? I recommend Embers Fire, Dying Freedom, Joys of Emptiness and Widow.

#2 – Shades of God (1992)

The levels of imagination and experimentation on this album are spellbinding. The World Made Flesh for example, having more to do with Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss than the works of Hypocrisy. Slow and hypnotic lead progressions marry gorgeously with the gloomy feel that leaks out of every fibre of this glorious affront to humanity. The screaming lead that begins Crying For Eternity echoes the pain of mortality just as masterfully as the sludgy doom riffs that follow. As I Die being a seminal work for the band for a very good reason. Emotionally charged and just as resonant sonically. Even something like Iron Maiden’s galloping guitars are replicated in morbid fashion on this release with Daylight Thorn. What more can really be stated? It’s a milestone for a reason.

#1 – Gothic (1991)

Be honest, did you expect anything else to top the list? For any record that innovates on death metal, think Skydancer or Lunar Strain for instance, it can be hard to get everything right on the first go. If Lost Paradise was the band’s pre-emptive strike, then Gothic was their killing blow. Every bit as heavy as their debut album, Nick’s growl still as powerful, but the instrumentals have moved away from the likes of old-school death metal and transitioned into something far more macabre and sinister. I feel like with these last few entries that I’m just stating the obvious over and over again, so I’ll let the music do the talking. If you somehow haven’t spun this yet. Here’s your place to start: Shattered, Falling Forever, Dead Emotion and Rapture.


Carcass – Despicable EP Review

Despicable is the first piece of new music from the band since their 2013 comeback album Surgical Steel. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely.

A short but sweet EP that reminds us all exactly why Carcass are one of the best death metal bands on the planet, Despicable features career best death and roll tracks such as Under The Scalpel Blade and Slaughtered in Soho.

This EP is most comparable to the band’s classic efforts Heartwork and Swansong. Everything present on this 18 minute EP is incredibly groovy and melodic, whilst retaining an old school edge on the production, as opposed to the cleaner style of their most recent full length.

Bill Steer’s riffs are expectedly rhythmic and heavy, and Jeff Walker’s bespoke metal bark has aged like fine wine, the two truly are top of their game. Daniel Wilding returns behind the kit and his steady rock beats fit the music well. Joining the trio is Crowning Glory and Pounder lead guitarist Tom Draper, though to specifically say where he fits in on this release, I cannot say. In a full album featuring Steer and Draper together, I feel that would give us a much better impression as to the identity of what Tom can do in the band.

Overall, it’s a great release. I know that the full length is coming sooner rather than later, and I’m waiting with baited breath. It’s rough and bloody, just the way I like it!

Ghost Albums – Ranked! (From Worst To Best)

Ghost are a Swedish rock/heavy metal band from Linköping, Sweden, formed in 2008 by Tobias Forge. In the last decade they have become one of the most prominent names in the industry, having released four studio albums, as well as performing arena tours with the likes of Metallica.

With the new leader appointed, Papa Emeritus IV, and a new record likely around the corner in 2021, there has never been a better time to review and rank one of music’s most creative forces, as we take a closer look into their discography, ranked! From worst to best.

#4 – Prequelle (2018)

Their most recent release, at time of writing, did a lot of things right. By attempting to go in a pitch-black lyrical direction and taking influence from pop and shock rock of the 1980s, Ghost struck a confident and catchy balance of hope and gloom contrasting throughout the record.

There are some truly incredible songs on this release, including the likes of: Rats, Faith, Dance Macabre and Witch Image, but overall the complete package left a little more to be desired. Just over 40 minutes in length but featuring three interluding instrumental tracks, I can’t help but listen to this and simply wonder, ‘where’s the rest of it?’

When this album is good, it’s incredible and boasts powerful performances from Forge and his newly assembled team of touring musicians, in a few ways it just lacks the magic of what came before.

#3 – Meliora

Without question, Meliora was a record published at the height of the band’s popularity and features some of their most well known works. Forge’s Papa Emeritus III persona remains the most well realised and well loved incarnation of the character, and everything about the younger, more sexualised, frontman fit the looser pop-oriented motif of this record perfectly.

This album is a little more guitar-driven that what was found on their previous record but, for the most part, favoured catchy melodies and pop hooks than delivering on the overt Satanic premise of what came before. Monolithic efforts in rock were created here including the almighty From The Pinnacle To The Pit, haunting Luciferian love song He Is and the Grammis award winning Cirice. If the album had a little more of songs like this and not some of the filler tracks like Spirit and Majesty, then no doubt it would rank higher. It’s a crime Zenith was left on the cutting room floor.

#2 – Opus Eponymous (2010)

Let’s preface my opinion here by saying that I believe Opus Eponymous to be one of the most important rock albums of the last decade. A winning combination of Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple combined with a Satanic indoctrination theme melded beautifully together.

What originally began life as a song for previous rock band Magna Carta Cartel, Stand By Him, is one of the greatest classic metal songs in history, in no small part are the likes of Ritual, Elizabeth and Prime Mover far behind either.

Taking a stripped back approach to rock and roll and insidiously inserting ghastly messages into it worked to an insane degree, and Opus Eponymous benefits greatly from such a strong set of songs, immaculate production and nail-biting atmosphere.

#1 – Infestissumam (2013)

With an album name that translates directly to ‘the most hostile’ or ‘the biggest threat’, there should be no confusion over the intention of this album. Defiant to its very core in opposing the Christian religion, featuring not only the band’s darkest lyrics and imagery, but also their best songs ever written.

Ditching the classic rock elements of Opus Eponymous and instead switching out to full on old school doom metal, Ghost hit their stride with anthems like Year Zero, Monstrance Clock, Idolatrine and Secular Haze. There’s an aura of evil that permeates every second of this album, and the fact that it is this memorable and melodious in the face of that, is quite frankly astounding.

The most sinister version of the band and their leader complimented by their most sinister ethos and heaviest songs, It should be no doubt that Infestissumam takes top spot on the list.

Father John Misty Albums – Ranked! (From Worst To Best)

Father John Misty (real name Josh Tillman) is an American singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. In a little over eight years, Tillman completely reinvented himself and clawed out from the seedy underground scene of neo-folk, with his equally as fantastic J.Tillman records, and became the genre-melding and sardonic force of nature that we now him as today.

With new songs released via label Sub Pop, and having recently launched a successful covers EP for charity entitled Anthem+3, the time has never been better to take a thorough look at who very well could be my favourite musician of all time.

#4 – Fear Fun (2012)

Well, this has been an incredibly difficult decision already. Fear Fun was Misty’s first foray into the eccentric side of L.A. culture and beautifully combined razor sharp wit with gorgeous melodies and groovy rhythms throughout.

The A-side of this album is of particular note. I would go so far as to say that the first six songs on offer here, ranked as some of Misty’s best to this day. Particular highlights include the infectiously catchy Nancy From Now On, the percussion masterclass that rocks all the way through Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings and the nihilistic majesty that is Funtimes in Babylon.

The level of craftsmanship oozes from every facet of this album, it is apparent after only one listen at just how talented Josh Tillman is not only behind a drum kit, or playing acoustic guitar and piano, but with that golden voice of his. It pains me to put his debut at the bottom of the list, but I believe that it only speaks to the quality of what was to come.

#3 – God’s Favourite Customer (2018)

Tillman’s latest record, at time of writing, and one that I consider very near and dear to my heart in many ways. The level of introspection and exploration of darker themes such as loneliness, longing and dependency are contrasted in such a real and eloquent fashion, that it really is a sight to behold.

Some may accuse Josh of playing it safe on this album and, whilst I disagree, I can understand why. GFC is not as groundbreaking as Pure Comedy, nor as bursting with love and passion as I Love You, Honeybear, but when a release is good, it is beyond words. Songs like: Mr Tillman, Date Night, Hangout at the Gallows and Disappointing Diamonds, show that this is Tillman at the top of his game.

#2 – Pure Comedy (2017)

Misty’s longest and perhaps most well known album, Pure Comedy is as well known for its homages to the likes of Elton John and Leonard Cohen, as it is for the misanthropic deconstruction of practically all aspects of life on Earth. This release somehow manages to become more relevant with every passing year, as this extended cut of reality puts its length to masterful use.

Some may say it’s a little too long for its own good, or that it can be preachy, but I am always happy hearing perspectives on the world, especially when they are as well as expressed as: Total Entertainment Forever, A Bigger Paper Bag, Ballad of the Dying Man as well as what I believe to be one of the greatest songs ever written, So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain.

#1 – I Love You, Honeybear (2015)

Could it really have been anything else? Tillman’s sophomore album remains his most discussed, fives years on for a reason. Every single track on this record is more blissfully anthemic than the last. A genuine, touching tribute to his wife Emma Tillman, stunningly realised in only 45 minutes.

Where to even start with the standouts here? Strange Encounter, The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment, Bored in the USA, Holy Shit! I don’t quite have the words to accurately summarise just how incredible I think Honeybear really is, there are no low points, It’s all highs all of the time. There just isn’t anything else like it in the world.

UADA – Djinn Review

It has been a very long time since a piece of music has left me completely speechless. On their third record, UADA return to make what is not only likely to be album of the year, but potentially one of the most important records that the genre has ever been graced.

Across six songs, at just over an hour in length, the band have evolved their formula and expanded their musical horizons to include influences from all over the metal spectrum, and Djinn is all the better for it. It’s easy to see the comparisons to bands such as Mgla and Dissection in UADA’s history, and whilst that is an unfair and not entirely accurate depiction of their influences, it is overt to see that the band have far transcended their inspirations and ascended passed their aspirations totally.

UADA – Djinn (Title Track)

Djinn is a much brighter release as opposed to the duology that preceded it. Not only in the production, in which this is hands down the most well recorded and most grandiose sounding music to date, but in the song writing across the board too. Melody is the key phrase that spills out of every pinhole on this release. So many of the guitar riffs on offer here, courtesy of virtuosos Jack Superchi and Jake Sloan, are as haunting as they are gorgeously moving, in a way rarely heard in the genre.

The percussion on display largely takes a back seat with genre-staple blast beats put on the back burner in favour of a more straightforward, and climatic, mix of rock patterns, double kicks and crash/ride sequences. In the same vein, the vocals are less prominent on the record than they were on the previous instalment, though they are no less haunting, just not the main focus to building an oppressive and aggressive nature any longer.

Passionate screaming leads take centre stage across monolithic triumphs of audio, known on the record as the 13-minute epics No Place Here and, the life-affirming closing track, Between Two Worlds. The compositions throughout this hour-long experience simply defy reality and challenge the listener in more ways than one. One minute there are beautiful chorus passages, as found in abundance on The Great Mirage (particularly towards the end), and the next, haunting and pounding fierce six-string black metal brutality as demonstrated in every second of Forestless, passed a stellar dark-ambient intro.

UADA – No Place Here (One of the singles dropped before release)

When comparing Djinn to prior efforts, Devoid of Light and Cult of a Dying Sun, the changes in musical direction are night and day, but in a positive way. If UADA’s first release represents darkness as hopelessness and fear creeps in, and their sophomore effort resembles desperation and desperately clawing into that goodnight, then Djinn embodies a shred of hopefulness and optimism that pierces through the shades of blackened veil.

In other words, instrumentally this album is ever so slightly softer and less intense when compared to what came before, but I believe that this more melodic change was ultimately for the better, as the band were able to completely outshine their contemporaries and carve out a new niche to create something far more impactful, striking and important than I ever believed could come out of black metal in the modern day.

The similarities found between light and dark. A comparison of covers from UADA’s prior two albums.

In some ways the development of UADA parallels that of other American black metal bands such as Ghost Bath. The Dakota-based blackgazers started as straight forward DSBM on Funeral and then went beyond genre conventions with their darker follow up, Moonlover, much like how Cult of a Dying Sun evolved from the grimness of Devoid of Light. Ghost Bath’s third release Starmourner progressed their sound into the ethereal and the melodic in the best move they could have made at the time. So too do UADA realise their full potential on album no. 3 and it is a complete and total masterpiece in every single way. 2020 has been redeemed with the release of Djinn and I feel so fortunate to exist in a time where I can bear witness to incredible music by such talented minds.