Released On: 16th March 2018
Thirty years ago saw the advent of Britains’ most iconic Gothic Metal band. Their name alludes to the acclaimed work of John Milton, a prolific English poet, called Paradise Lost and both the poem and music group reflect the destitution felt that was inherent in their overtly political times. However in comparison the Goth group exhibit a better consonance than their late countryman.
In honor of those three tens comes the rerelease of their most spirited record: 1999s Host. Host was Paradise Losts’ seventh album. A follow up to the change of pace they had on the previous EP/Single One Second. Moving further away from the Death/Doom sound that they were predominantly known for to adopt a true Futurepop sound.
Host brought more emphasis to the orchestration behind the characteristic wall of noise that the overdriven guitars offered on past releases. Nick Holmes, founding member and singer, transformed his gutteral bark into a more enunciated flavour. The drums a typical feature of rock bands were subsituted for with samples and loops. Paradise Lost had endured a digital metamorphosis and Host coincided with a label change.
Change is a funny thing and predictably many fans were offended by the bands’ genre reassignment and a growing audience can be a funny thing. Many seen this release as the group stepping out of line. Paradise Lost were no longer synonymous with the dank and dirty Death metal sound. Times were changing and they became emancipated from the scene that not only spawned them but supported them.
Without the constraints of demographical pandering the bands’ creativity was without limits. Refactoring their song writing skills into a new representation was a brave thing to do, especially at the time with bands like Slipknot becoming the archtype for every other band and their dadager (Dad-Manager portomanteau.) It’s for this reason Host seems far more personal and exploratory than their earlier works.
A sentiment to the bands’ courage Host is one of the most prolific Paradise Lost releases to this date. In essence it proved that Paradise Lost were a band of restless musicians and not sell-outs who would endlessly reconfigure their previous successes into an almost subscription-like service. Host gave great music back to endearing fans by using advanced (for the time) technology to make a goth rock album and wasn’t too disimilar from what The Mission were doing a decade earlier.
With maudlin comes great melody and Host for many still resides in a dark place. Even as Host alienated a few die-hard souls adverse to change this contentious act was a valiant effort and something to be respected and although it isn’t Paradise Losts’ deifnitive album Host is definitly one of their most robust. An idiosyncratic product of the 90s it brought the band to a new audience. An audience that wasn’t quickly being bored with the soon to be oversaturated metal market. The remastered edition only serves to highlight what can, in retrospect, be held as one of the bands’ greatest achievements.