Sunday, 17 August 2014

Paradise Lost Top 50

Ask anyone who the most influential British metal band ever are and they'll probably list bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.  Add Paradise Lost to that list.  Name a European metal band that formed in the last 20 years that have a healthy dose of melody and melancholy and chances are that Paradise Lost were probably an influence.

If you're a metal fan and haven't yet had them cross your path then you NEED to hear them.  If you aren't a metal fan, but maybe one of those people who has a soft spot for, say, the Black album then go straight for 'Draconian Times' and give it a listen.  It doesn't particularly sound like it, and certainly wasn't anywhere near as successful, but for me with its metal wrapped up inside huge, proper songs approach, it is the European version of the Black album.

I first came across Paradise Lost when I saw the video for 'Embers Fire' on Raw Power/Noisy Mothers and I kept it on my video but didn't really investigate any further until I got a free cassette with Raw magazine promoting the upcoming album 'Draconian Times' in 1995.  As well as four clips from the new album it also had one song each from the previous two albums.  So that was it, I was away, buying the new album and going backwards to fill in the first four pretty soon after.

Starting off as a slower, English take on Death Metal on their first album 'Lost Paradise', they added more melody into the guitars and the occasional splash of keyboards on the follow-up 'Gothic', with the well-defined lead and rhythm guitar interplay of Gregor Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy gradually honed over subsequent albums 'Shades of God' and the breakthrough 'Icon' before arriving at my personal favourite (as can be seen in this chart) and a huge influence on my own songwriting, 'Draconian Times'.

Some people may say stop there, although glancing down again at my chart you can see I'm not one of them.  After experiencing relative success the next album, 'One Second', saw a less metallic, rockier sound with electronic elements.  With 'Say Just Words' expertly bridging the gap between the two albums it eased you into the change of direction, and while some fans said goodbye I for one find this one of Paradise Lost's best albums.  This new direction was taken even further on 'Host' in 1999.  With virtually all traces of metal now banished from their sound, Depeche Mode comparisons were common.

Skipping swiftly over the relatively average 'Believe in Nothing' album (none of whose tracks made this chart), they made a relative comeback with the excellent 'Symbol of Life' album in 2002.  From this point onwards, while the electronic elements were still present, the guitars gradually crept more and more into the foreground until the old Paradise Lost finally returned over the last few albums.  One of the best bands of all time, metal or otherwise, long may they continue.

1. Embers Fire
2. Say Just Words
3. One Second
4. Forever Failure
5. True Belief
6. The Last Time
7. Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
8. Once Solemn
9. Erased
10. Hallowed Land
11. Enchantment
12. Pity the Sadness
13. Shadowkings
14. Gothic
15. Pray Nightfall
16. Yearn for Change
17. Another Day
18. As I Die
19. The Enemy
20. Widow
21. Ordinary Days
22. Forever After
23. Last Regret
24. Mortals Watch the Day
25. Shades of God
26. Eternal
27. Isolate
28. Redshift
29. Grey
30. Hands of Reason
31. I See Your Face
32. Dying Freedom
33. Rapture
34. Fear
35. Soul Courageous
36. Praise Lamented Shade
37. This Cold Life
38. The Painless
39. Cruel One
40. Disappear
41. No Celebration
42. As Horizons End
43. Honesty in Death
44. The Rise of Denial
45. Christendom
46. Don't Belong
47. Ash and Debris
48. Tragic Idol
49. Fear of Impending Hell
50. Forging Sympathy

By Era
Lost Paradise 0
Gothic 4
Shades of God 3
Icon 6
Draconian Times 11
One Second 7
Host 1
Believe in Nothing 0
Symbol of Life 4
Paradise Lost 4
In Requiem 3
Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us 4
Tragic Idol 3


  1. I'm not gonna argue with personal taste, but I'm surprised you didn't include Over the Madness in this list! It's got the most epic guitar solo ever! ;)

    1. I had an extremely long shortlist for this one and I'm sad to say it didn't even get that far!! What would your number 1 be?

  2. Oh man, I've been asked that question before and I really can't come up with an answer! One moment I say it's got to be True Belief, then it's Forever Failure, then Over the Madness comes to mind; and since Gothic is their first album that I heard back when it came out, and my fave track on it is Eternal, I could mention that one too! It's way too hard! :D
    Same goes for the Manics, if someone were to ask me which is my fave song of theirs (or even album) my brain would probably short circuit! XD

    1. Ah, you're a Manics fan too? I should have guessed from our mutual friend :) I have a couple of Manics blogs too, you should be able to find them through my name in the About me section, one about exactly the kind of thing that would blow up your brain!!

    2. Oh cool, I'll have a look! Yes, I'm also a huge Manics fan :) Met Sandrine because of them!
      Unfortunately it's a bit of a pain to be a Manics fan here in Italy (that's where I'm from and have lived all my life!), the press has always pretty much ignored them and I just remember this local music channel playing the YLU video, which prompted me to go buy GT!
      They only ever played a handful of gigs here - and I've managed to miss them all, including the first one back in '94, supporting Suede. I wanted to go, then I guess I realized I would be on my own, I didn't have that much money anyway so I figured I'd go next time... yeah. It's one of my biggest regrets. On the contrary, PL were immediately accepted by the metal scene and played regularly in Milan, so I've started attending their shows as early as '92 and it's always been real easy to keep up with their activities via the Italian metal press, in those dark pre-Internet years!! With the Manics, I'd have to be lucky and spot them on the cover of NME or Melody Maker at the local international newsagent, so I have to admit I've always kept them in the back of my mind, buying the albums when I saw them in the store, but totally missing out on the singles. Then came black metal, which kinda took over my otherwise eclectic music taste for a good decade or so (also due to being directly involved in the scene via a local label and metal magazines). It all became so much easier to manage with Internet, although a lot of other valuable aspects of being a music fan were somehow lost.... Oops, sorry! I kinda got carried away! ;-p

    3. Paradise Lost, Manics and black metal, an unusual combination that I share too! I know what you mean about the internet though, I'm not a fan of the Manics' download-only singles because I'm a collector and I like to have the physical copy. Just thinking it's possible you may like my music as there's a strong Paradise Lost influence in places as well as black metal creeping in around the edges. There's a link to my soundcloud page on my Twitter as a pinned tweet. Do you have a favourite black metal band?

  3. Alas, we exist! I know a lot of people who listen to just about anything, but to be honest mine is actual passion and dedication when it comes to PL, MSP and BM in general, or rather the Norwegian scene. I was lucky enough to meet and even become friends with a few people over there, I used to go to Oslo and Bergen quite often, so I kinda felt like I belonged, if you know what I mean! It's never been about "fangirling", but more connecting with like-minded people (no, I didn't burn anything!!). As for a fave BM band... that's another tough one! Back in the days I would've struggled between Emperor and Satyricon, probably. I was very intrigued by Ulver and to this day they are one of my all time fave bands, although they've completely strayed from the genre. But it's also true that Satyricon - as far as I'm concerned - have lost their path and I'm sorry to say that I can no longer respect Emperor after the farce of reuniting to bring "In the Nightside Eclipse" to those horrible summer festivals. So, these days I would probably stick with Taake and Kampfar as they seem to maintain some integrity. But I must also acknowledge some amazing bands from "unexpected" countries, like WITTR and Mgla. Amazing both on record and on stage. What about you, any faves?
    I've had a look at your Manics blogs... do you own all the material you've posted? I've been collecting all the books, DVDs, CDs (special editions whenever available), and some singles, which as I said I totally missed on back in the days, but sometimes they pop up in second hand record stores... very rarely, but still! Ever since I got a steady job, and thus I've been able to afford it, I've been checking the international press regularly (it's ridiculously expensive, pretty much twice the actual cover price!) and managed to collect a few magazines as well, like that awesome NME special issuse that you also posted. How many times have you seen them live? I was at the rescheduled Brixton gigs, both of them, and the O2 "National Treasures" show, then saw them in Zurich and more recently Paris.
    As for PL, I was at the Roundhouse for the anniversary gig, went to Paris for the Draconian Times anniversary tour, but those were exceptions 'cause they didn't include Italy. As I said, they usually play in Milan. I'm a bit upset Vallenfyre haven't included Southern Europe in this first round of gigs, but they promised they will add more dates early next year... Fingers crossed!!

    1. The Norway stuff sounds really interesting, the first black metal album I ever bought was Dusk and her Embrace by Cradle of Filth in 96 and I started delving into more pretty much immediately, although it sounds like you have a lot more knowledge about the newer bands etc. My favourites are probably Dark Funeral and Emperor, I would say COF but I don't really consider them black metal now, only really the first couple of albums.
      Yes, I own all of the Manics material, I'm blogging my way through my collection, it's fun to relive it all in print!! I've seen them live 6 times, 94 and 96 in Middlesbrough, 97 at Reading Festival, 98 in Newcastle, 01 at Leeds Festival and then 07 in Newcastle again. They completely miss out the area I live when touring which partly explains why I haven't seem them for a while, but to be honest I'm not as keen on the newer albums and the current setlists either.
      I saw Paradise Lost a couple of years back in York, I got Aaron's plectrum and Steve's setlist, I think I put pictures on the Live Diary tab of this blog. Sadly that's the only time I've seen them but will hopefully get another chance!