Host by Paradise Lost: So much was changed
Paradise Lost is a peculiar band. They started as a classic gothic metal band, along with My Dying Bride and Anathema they’ve set the grounds for the genre. Gothic, Shades of God, Icon and Draconian times were groundbreaking albums, making gothic metal a true contender in the everlasting evolution of metal music. But then came One Second, a record that showed a new side of the band. Straining from the regular path they followed since the band's foundation, music played on that album was more on the rock side of the line. Electronic samples, less prominent guitars, and much more experimentation that on the previous albums made One Second a turning point for the band. Fans were divided, many loved it, some hated it, but the band’s fanbase remained more or less stable in numbers. There were two options for the band: to continue experimenting or to go back to the sound that made them famous. They choose the first option.
Host is Paradise Lost’s most controversial album to date. A sharp turn towards the electronic sound, pushing guitars even more in the background made this album the most hated record in the recent metal history. Fans were divided and this time, most of the die-hard fans of the band rejected it or didn’t even consider the album a part of Paradise Lost discography (it even isn’t on their album list on this site). And although it can be said that the new direction was something totally different that their previous record, you can’t characterize this album as bad.
If we look it outside the context of their previous work, Host is a very good electro rock effort. Music can be described as Depeche Mode with guitars. Really, when you hear it the first thing that grabs the attention of the listener is Nick Holmes’s vocal that is very similar to the work of Dave Gahan. The music kept that dark vibe of Paradise Lost, but that’s about the only resemblance with their earlier works.
Soft guitar touch, drumming that is intertwined with beats, and perfect songwriting make you immediately interested if you’re into this kind of music. And even if you are a die-hard metalhead this music is still very much enjoyable. It has that gothic feel in every song that tells you that the guys playing the music know how to play something that’s dark, gritty and melancholic.
From the opener So Much is Lost to the end of the album you get hypnotized by the music, probably because there aren't much tempo changes. The entire album has that uninterrupted flow, making the music a beautifully crafted piece of art. The music is so serene and magnificent and Nick Holmes’s vocals are probably his best interpretation to date. It’s like watching a good movie and realizing that hour and a half is passed and you haven’t even once looked at the clock.
Production is very good, every piece of the puzzle is perfectly fitted and the sound has the broad range of elements that make the music complex but very listenable at the same time.
Paradise Lost had made a huge risk with this record and even if they lost a good piece of the fan base a bunch of new people got interested in their music after this record. As we all know they returned to the true Gothic metal sound with Paradise Lost but not before showing the world that music cannot be fitted in a mold and that being a true musician doesn’t mean playing what the crowd wants, it means playing what you want. And if the fans don’t like it so be it, if the tunes are good there will always be people who love quality music and they will respect you for being true to yourself while loving the music you make, no matter which genre you play.
Standout songs: So Much Is Lost, In All Honesty, Ordinary Days, Permanent Solution.