Rank and Defile: Greg Mackintosh Orders Paradise Lost’s Records

For nearly 30 years Paradise Lost have meticulously been rewriting extreme metal’s rule book. From death metal, to doom, to death/doom, to goth, to electro pop and back again, their discography is peppered with genre-defining moments like Gothic and Icon as well as modern classic’s like 2015’s The Plague Within Today, the Brit legends’ 15th LP, Medusa—the band’s heaviest since the early ’90s—adds to that legacy and to celebrate, founding guitarist Greg Mackintosh has ranked PL’s albums from worst to best. From someone who has had a quarter-century love affair with the band’s releases, I would have never predicted these particular rankings. Take it away, Greg.

UNRANKED. Medusa (2017)
Not rating this as it’s too soon to be objective about it but I think our mojo is well and truly back.

14. Believe in Nothing (2001)
This was always going to be last. There are some cool songs on here that were strangled by the lifeless sound. I can really hear all the compromise in this record. We were imploding as a band at the time too. This year we finally got the masters back and we are completely remixing it from scratch so hopefully it’s long lost potential will shine through.

13. Paradise Lost (2005)
Some really good stuff on here but way too inconsistent. Production is great and it feels like we are slowly returning to form.

12. Tragic Idol (2012)
I don’t have a very good reason for marking this down as the material on it and the production are both great. It just somehow doesn’t register too much for me. There is something a little middle-ground about it. I think if Nick had introduced some growling on this record it would have been right up there for me.

11. Symbol of Life (2002)
Just beginning to find our feet again with the help of (producer) Rhys Fulber after a couple of crazy years where we were kind of directionless. Solid but not totally consistent. I was also a shell of a man during this time, which didn’t help.

10. Host (1999)
Another very experimental record where we just went to town trying things out without ever thinking about any type of scene. A very moody and subdued record in a lot of ways but some very strong songs, I think.

9. Gothic (1991)
Again, quite an original album for the time. Now looked on affectionately by the death metal community, it was initially viewed with suspicion as it was a little left field for that scene back then. I marked this down as I have done with numbers 11, 12 and 13, as in hindsight, maybe the material wasn’t consistently solid enough.

8. One Second (1997)
One big experiment. Very exciting times, as we discarded everything we knew and started from scratch. This came as a direct result of four gruelling years of touring, which made us tire of our signature sound.

7. Draconian Times (1995)
Our most commercially successful album and the album by which everything else we do gets judged. Rightly so, as it’s the backbone of our career and sound. I put it midway because I see it as the bridge that ties together all our records.

6. In Requiem (2007)
A solid PL album. Some really cool parts and we recorded some of it and mixed it in Vancouver, which I have good memories of.

5. Lost Paradise (1990)
Badly recorded and very naïve, but with tracks like “Frozen Illusion,” death/doom never had it so good.

4. Icon (1993)
A very original record for the time. This is higher than Drac Times because it paved the way for that album, which makes it more exciting in my book.

3. The Plague Within (2015)
The return of proper doom in the form of “Beneath Broken Earth” is enough to put this high up.

2. Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us (2009)
It’s just a very beautiful album in my opinion; probably the classiest of all our releases.

1. Shades of God (1992)
An overlooked PL album, but it has consistently been my favourite for many years. Lots of rifferama. We also had the best time recording this one, lots of funny stories.

Greg’s final order:
1 – Shades of God
2 – Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us
3 – The Plague Within
4 – Icon
5 – Lost Paradise
6 – In Requiem
7 – Draconian Times
8 – One Second
9 – Gothic
10 – Host
11 – Symbol of Life
12 – Tragic Idol
13 – Paradise Lost
14 – Believe In Nothing

As stated earlier, Paradise Lost’s new LP, Medusa, is released today via Nuclear Blast America. You can read Decibel‘s lead review of the album here and then go purchase the physical versions here and the digital versions here. Then head to the band’s official webstore and please purchase me Christmas presents.