What are the best Paradise Lost songs? As I write this, Paradise Lost just released their 15th album “Medusa”, which I’ve reviewed here on the site. I don’t consider their career as consistenly awesome as Katatonia’s or Anathema’s that I’ve previously did lists like this for, but they’ve certainly put some good songs and albums over the year.
They’ve been a constant in my playlist, and it’s been interesting to explore their journey from a doom metal band, to an experimental stage, and back to a metamorphosis of the two.
Here are my top 10 best Paradise Lost songs, plus five more that almost made it. Just like my Anathema list, it’s quite heavy on the newer material as I simply enjoy that more than the early, more extreme material. My band Soliloquium covered the song “Forever Failure” from 1995’s “Draconian Times” for the EP “A Night of Burdens“.
Paradise Lost full-length discography
- Lost Paradise, 1990
- Gothic, 1991
- Shades of God, 1992
- Icon, 1993
- Draconian Times, 1995
- One Second, 1997
- Host, 1999
- Believe in Nothing, 2001
- Symbol of Life, 2002
- Paradise Lost, 2005
- In Requiem, 2007
- Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us, 2009
- Tragic Idol, 2012
- The Plague Within, 2015
- Medusa, 2017
- Obsidian, 2020
10. “Don’t Belong” (Paradise Lost, 2005)
The self-titled album this song is featured on is far from great, but the opening track “Don’t Belong” is still one of the catchiest tracks Paradise Lost ever wrote. The calm verses and explosive chorus has a similar vibe to “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” that tops this list. This is isn’t quite as explosive as that one, but certainly one of the best mid era tracks.
9. “Praise Lamented Shade” (In Requiem, 2007)
Another kickass contemporary metal track filled with simple, brilliant melodicism. In many ways this feels like a modernized take on the “Draconian Times” sound.
8. “Living With Scars” (Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us, 2009)
A really underrated song that should be a live staple for Paradise Lost. “Living With Scars” is a modern tune that flirts a bit with bands like Gojira and Meshuggah guitar-wise. That’s only half the appeal, because there is some great vocal melodies in this as well.
7. “Pity the Sadness” (Shades of God, 1992)
I like the “Shades of God” record, but many times it just feels like a lesser blueprint of what’s to come on “Icon” and “Draconian Times”. Like many songs on the album, it relies on catchy grooves with a strong base in classic heavy metal. However, “Pity the Sadness” has more melody and depth than the rest of the tracklist.
6. “Embers Fire” (Icon, 1993)
“Embers Fire” almost feels like a gruffer, proto-version of “Enchantment”, #4 on this list. It lacks some of the contemporary metal appeal of “Enchantment”, but it has a raw bitterness and passion instead. Nick’s voice is wonderfully raw and bitter.
5. “Forever Failure” (Draconian Times, 1995)
Another smashing “Draconian Times” song, featuring another glaring vocal performance and some of the most depressive metal lyrics ever written. Just like many of the other Paradise Lost songs on this list, it relies on simple chords to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts.
4. “Enchantment” (Draconian Times, 1995)
An absolute exhibition in contemporary metal music with simple, memorable 4/4 beats and one of Nick Holmes finest vocal performances. A good introduction to “Draconian Times” and Paradise Lost overall.
3. “Beneath Broken Earth” (The Plague Within, 2015)
Writing a song that both redefines the band’s sound and beats its early material in its own game seems impossible, but they really did it with this one. The melodies are as simple as they are absolutely defeated, and Nick Holmes delivers growled lyrics to match.
2. “Elusive Cure” (Draconian Times, 1995)
“Elusive Cure” is far from the catchiest song this band has ever done, but it oozes atmosphere. Sounding more like “Icon” than “Draconian Times”, it’s an exercise in the simple, dreary melodicism that Paradise Lost does so well.
1. “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” (Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us, 2009)
This is the song where the Paradise Lost sound really comes together for me. It has the heavy guitars from the “Icon” and “Draconian Times” era combined with the Dave Gahan vocal antics from the softer, mid era material. The verses are extremely nice, and the chorus stayed in my head for weeks after first hearing it.
Five Paradise Lost songs that almost made it (in no particular order):
- Ash & Debris
- First Light
- One Second
- True Belief