Dennis : The contrast between Paradise Lost’s current album ‘Medusa’ and their seventh album ‘Host’ from 1999 couldn’t be bigger. At the end of the last millennium, the Brits around singer Nick Holmes and guitarist and composer Greg Mackintosh had traded their death metal roots for a melancholic synth-pop approach, almost twenty years later they re-invented themselves again to the brutal death doom metal band from the early days. Their current label, Nuclear Blast, thought it was time to dust off the recordings from ‘Host’ and release them as a digipack in a remastered version, and also on vinyl for the very first time.
Whereas the opinions in the metal and gothic community about ‘Host’ are really diverse, the band still thinks of ‘Host’ as one of their best albums in their carreer, it is just not a metal album, says Holmes. After releasing the successful albums ‘Draconian Times’ and ‘One Second’ in the mid-nineties the band signed a contract with the German major label EMI-Electrola, cut their hair and stepped away from their metal sound. The metallic guitars went further to the background and were traded for electronic beats and rhythms and keyboard melodies and the band introduced strings (cello and violin) and more female background singing in their sound. Holmes sang with a clear voice exclusively and with their Dark Rock and Synth Pop sound they were sounding more and more like Depeche Mode. It appeared the band was going for mainstream success and the band was labeled ‘sellout’ by the diehard metal fraction. On the other hand, the band won a lot of new fans from the gothic scene and the album reached number 4 in the album charts in Germany. Outside of Germany though, the success was only marginal considering the low chart position in their home-country for example.
Still, the music on ‘Host’ is definitively not bad at all, it is just not metal. Tracks like So Much Is Lost’, ‘Nothing Sacred’, ‘Permanent Solution’, and ‘Made The Same’ have stood the test of time and are excellent melancholic synth pop songs with high quality musicianship that we are used to from this band. Melancholic and depressive as always. Nice for the few days a year where you don’t feel like listening to brutal death metal. Personally, I was actually quite content with the re-invented version of Paradise Lost on their latest record ‘Medusa’, which is clearly the Paradise Lost version I prefer to hear. But Paradise Lost wouldn’t be Paradise Lost if not for the style changes they have undergone over the years. For what it is, at least the band makes their ‘Host’ album available for vinyl collectors to complete their collection with black, clear and mint vinyl.