Honesty Through Pain // The Dark Sound of HOST

Paradise Lost have long been revered for their ability to evolve and experiment with their sound, as outright innovators of heavy music. One album which has stood out in their discography is Host, one of those works which clearly departs from their doom and death metal roots. Released in 1999, the album continued to mark a significant shift towards a more electronic and alternative sound, following the electronic overtones introduced in their preceding album, One Second, two years earlier.

The transformation from the guitar-based metal heaviness of their pioneering earlier works to the electronic experimentation of One Second and subsequently Host was met with mixed reactions from both fans and critics. Traditionalists within the metal world found it hard to reconcile with the band's newfound sound, while a few others appreciated the boldness of Paradise Lost's venture into uncharted territory.

The electronic influence persisted in the subsequent albums, Believe in Nothing and Symbol of Life, drawing further judgement, even from the band members themselves. Time proved that Paradise Lost remained undeterred, demonstrating a commitment to their exploration as honed musicians.

In late 2022 , Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes and Greg Mackintosh embarked on a new project which echoes the spirit of Host. Despite the criticism and self-reflection surrounding that phase of the band, the duo chose to draw inspiration from that era for their new material. Aptly named HOST, Mackintosh and Holmes demonstrated not only resilience but also a belief in their initial vision for a more electronic, synthpop bent sound which matches the gothic nature of Paradise Lost's celebrated releases.

The modern take on Host is a blend of eighties gothic rock, synthpop, darkwave and electronica, and the band's ability to blend genres is once again pretty evident, together with their emphasis on creating beautiful hooks and an immersive atmosphere. The project released IX, a notable full length record, revisiting the essence of Host within a contemporary context, lifting inspiration from the West Yorkshire goth music scene in the late eighties.

Greg Mackintosh explained it well: “We always stood by Host as an album. This project is not totally connected to that album, but some of the ideas are extrapolated. We’re taking the basic premise and trying it out now. And, really, it was something fun and interesting for us to do.

Paradise Lost's journey with Host is still ongoing, and exemplifies the enduring spirit of a band that believes in its vision, even when faced with nit-picking and obstacles of all kinds. The progress from daring experimentation to inspiration reflects the band's tenacity and determination, ultimately solidifying their place as groundbreakers in the ever-evolving gothic scene.

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