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Try not to do it again - 51%

gasmask_colostomy, March 4th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Nuclear Blast (Digipak)

“Once we’ve done something, we try not to do it again,” said Nick Holmes back in 1999, upon the original release of Host. “Too right: you don’t want to make this album again,” said a legion of perplexed fans. You see, Host took the minor electronic elements present on the preceding One Second and played them up, stripped away most of the guitars, and left a sparse album most easily defined as electronic rock. For a group who had become kings of gothic metal with the release of Draconian Times only four years earlier, the move divided the fanbase, while reviews were lukewarm at best.

Main influences for this style ranged from ‘80s electro-pop group Duran Duran to the keyboard-driven New Order, with Depeche Mode proving the most reliable citation thanks to the gloom overspreading both music and lyrics. The metal influences had been abandoned, since no heaviness emanates from the likes of ‘Harbour’ or ‘Wreck’ beside the fullness of the instrumental palette, which often includes synthesized orchestral sounds. Host thus suits mellow reflection yet rarely reaches out to grab the listener and demand attention. Songs like ‘It’s Too Late’ and ‘Year of Summer’ drift by without troubling the memory, so it’s left to the catchier, more upbeat, or - oddly enough - more electronic numbers to pull the weight. ‘Nothing Sacred’ is gripping in a way that no other Paradise Lost song had ever been, while ‘Ordinary Days’ and ‘Behind the Grey’ play out like the singles they should have been.

Frankly, the new remastered version seems like a waste of time and money. Unless having Host on vinyl has been your life’s sole ambition (making you a rather odd person), purchasing this album again makes no sense. Remastering an electronic album rarely changes the quality a great deal, especially since recording standards were high for a band on EMI in 1999. There are also no bonus tracks or additional content. You don’t need this.


Originally written for Metalegion #4 - www.metalegion.com

Paradise lost the way - 45%

artrucho, February 14th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, EMI

Have you been to an 80's synth pop lounge bar? Does such a thing exist? Probably, but since I'll never know, this is the kind of music I imagine they would play there. If that sounds like your thing give it a go, but for fans of Paradise Lost's previous efforts and people who expected some form of heavy metal... don't.

I've followed Paradise Lost since I picked up their compilation album "Reflection", fresh out of high school. It had a little bit of everything they had done, and I became an instant fan. A year later, they released "Host", and it's a good thing I didn't find out. When I searched the internet for information about them, nobody mentioned "Host", instead focusing on Draconian Times, Shades of God and One Second. I ignored this album for a very long time (almost 20 years), and now, after two full listens, I consider it the worst PL album I've listened to.

A clear departure from the characteristic distorted guitars and the goth/doom atmosphere, Paradise Lost started to expand their sound even further than they did on One Second. Like other reviewers have said, you should ignore it at all costs if you are a "Shades of God" or "Lost Paradise" kind of fan. (I'm more of a Draconian Times/Symbol of Life kind of guy). From the first notes in "So Much Is Lost", you'll realize the keyboards have taken over and are holding the guitars hostage for the next 53 minutes.

You have to admit, the songs sound great, it has a very clear production, which hurts even more because you notice you can't hear Gregor's guitar, not because of a bad mix, he's just not interested in playing it. Nick's vocals are in fine form (I am a fan of his clean singing, they worked great in One Second, even in Symbol of Life), but they get lost in the sea of monotony. The drums work with the new style, so I guess they do the job, but go to previous PL albums and listen to "Soul Courageous" or "Hallowed Land", then come back to this album and feel bad for Lee Morris. What a waste!

A few songs stand out with interesting results ("Nothing Sacred", "Made The Same"), but other songs just bring the whole thing down ("Harbour", "It's Too Late", "Wreck"). The rest of the songs, sadly, are forgettable.

"Depeche Lost" is only a great idea if you like DM more than you like PL. If you don't, stay the HELL away from this album and forget it exists. I immediately felt better after doing so!

Standout tracks: Nothing Sacred, Permanent Solution, Made The Same

Depeche Lost - 100%

Rosner, June 15th, 2015
Written based on this version: Unknown year, CD, EMI

It is well known that Paradise Lost are one of metal's most diverse and eclectic acts. From their early days as an underground death/doom band, to the creation of the gothic metal subgenre, their experimentation with a more electronic sound and their recent return to metal, every album they have released is different and original, and I respect that a lot.

After the huge success of Draconian Times (a perfect mix between Metallica's Black Album and The Sisters of Mercy's First and Last and Always) and the even more successful One Second (showing a mellower sound with lost of post punk influences), Paradise Lost got signed to EMI and made their sound even calmer, using a lot of electronic music elements to create a very catchy and atmospheric sound. Depeche Mode is the obvious comparison that one can instantly make when listening to the album for the first time, and I totally agree: even more, as a big fan of both bands, I dare say that this is the album that Depeche Mode should have released after Ultra instead of Exciter.

So, is this album basically a Depeche Mode clone? Fortunately no: the distorted guitars, the growled vocals and the energetic drumming may be gone, but the songs still have the bleak vibe that Paradise Lost has been developing since their 1991 masterpiece Gothic. Though Greg Mackintosh's leads are easily recognizable, he and Aaron Aedy use for the first time in their careers a very diverse arsenal of effects to create a more electronic and atmospheric sound for the guitars. Steve Edmondson and Lee Morris get the usual synthpop treatment of heavily processed bass guitars and drums, but they still retain some of their instrument's organic flavor. As for Nick Holmes, he's the real star of the album: following the path of synthpop finest singers like Dave Gahan or Marcus Meyn, he continues to sing in the emotional baritone style of One Second, showing an impressive maturity not only on his vocal performance but also on his lyrics, the band's most depressive to date.

Speaking of depression, a common trait in the band's sound, I also dare to say that this is the band's most miserable and gloomiest record to date: songs like the opener So Much is Lost, Behind the Gray and Year of Summer are fine examples of the very melancholic feel that characterizes Host, retaining the band's trademark atmosphere despite playing a different musical style. The album is also very catchy and easy to listen, and having also a very complex and rich texture-like layering of guitars and keyboards it turns out to be a very addictive and interesting record that gets better with every listen.

Criminally underrated, overlooked and even dismissed for straying away from the band's metal sound, Host shows Paradise Lost at their finest moment as musicians, experimenting with a new creative horizon and effortlessly succeeding in the creation of an almost perfect synthpop album that would make even Depeche Mode jealous. Not my personal favorite record by them, but undeniably their best and most mature: I totally recommend Host to every fan of dark and atmospheric sounds; maybe fans of electronic music or goth may understand the record better, but I think that fans of heavier music can also relate to the overall gloomy sound that the band uses on this release.

Hmm... - 83%

reignmaster, July 3rd, 2009

Upon hearing Paradise Lost's "Host", I honestly did not know what to think. I had already been introduced to their new synth sound through "One Second", but "Host" was nothing BUT synth. Nick Holmes' vocal delivery was even softer and more delicate, the guitars of Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy were almost non-existent, and the drumming appeared to have been replaced by synthesized percussion sounds that would not have sounded out of place at a dance club. All the dark, gothic elements (with the exception of some lyrics) were eliminated, leaving behind gloomy synth-rock with (gasp!) some pop sounds.

Any fan of the old Paradise Lost reading this would understandably want to commit suicide right about now. It is important to remember that while Paradise Lost has the same members as they always did, it is an entirely different band. Therein lies the key to either rejecting or embracing the new sound. If you refuse to accept the new direction, then I suggest avoiding this album at all costs. If you are more open-minded and willing to enjoy different types of music, then this album is a great way to start off.

The opener, "So Much Is Lost", is a highlight for obvious reasons. The well-done mix of distorted guitar and keyboard (performed by Greg Mackintosh) leads into Nick Holmes' singing about thoughtful and mature subjects, all in a very clean vocal style reminiscent of Depeche Mode. A catchy chorus and memorable bridge make this a very good intro to the album.

"So Much Is Lost" deserves special analysis because it has the exact same formula as the following songs. However, this does not mean that they are boring. Each song has an undeniable flair that is completely its own. "Ordinary Days", "In All Honesty", and 'Nothing Sacred" are other highlights that have the same blueprint, but with their own specific melodies and embellishments.

This album will definitely be confusing upon first listen, but given time it will reveal itself to be a standout in the catalog all its own. Listeners willing to see how progression affects a bands career for better or for worse are encouraged to listen to "Host."

Different, but good - 78%

Dulthasil, March 23rd, 2008

Paradise lost is a fickle band, their constant change of style and record label means that the listener never quite knows what to expect. It's possible to hear a slight move in the direction of this album with One Second but it was nevertheless unexpected, a shock but by no means an unpleasant one.

As far a the instrumentation goes, it is as to be expected of a Goth album in that it relies heavily on keyboard, almost to the extent that guitars are drowned out at times, It is still however enjoyable to listen to, no tracks really stand out but it is consistently good. As Grimdoom made a point of earlier, it does start to drag nearer the end and this is the main problem with this album.

It is certainly not an album you can sit and listen to start to finish, many of the tracks are very similar and you find yourself struggling to remember what the tracks really sound like, as alot of the songs are in the same key, and with relatively simple music this becomes obvious making the whole album seem somewhat repetitive. The listener finds themselves dipping into the album on occasion instead of seriously listening to.

But this isn't actually a major problem, as I have said before it is of a consistent decent quality and is not particularly hard to listen to, for me it is a welcome break from Paradise Lost's previous works which although good were becoming slightly monotonous. They do have their own take on this style and Nick Holmes vocals are distinctive, making it still feel like Paradise Lost even though the style is different.

Overall a good album, not an outstanding one, but an album worth listening to when you’re not in the mood for metal but something more sedate.

Something from beyond left field! - 100%

grimdoom, September 16th, 2007

Paradise Lost Host review


‘Host’ is regarded by many to be the biggest upset by Doomsters Paradise Lost; like ‘Load’ to Metallica fans ‘Host’ is to Paradise Lost fans. It has none of the trademark Doomdeath that made them who they were; instead this is a straight forward Synth-Goth album, and a damn good one at that.

In ‘Host’ we see (or hear rather) Paradise Lost playing (arguably for the first time too) Gothic music. The production is excellent and over all the songs are good; with a few drawbacks being of course the complete lack of Metal and that the album tends to drag on after a while.

The guitars are tuned to standard and mostly coupled with synth sounds or over shadowed by keyboards completely (there are also a few acoustic moments as well). The bass also has these similar effects added to it. The drums are both real and artificial causing the band to lose all semblance of their originally organic sound.

The vocals are clean and not too far removed from the vocals heard on ‘One Second’. The lyrics, while thoughtful, are the only part of the original Paradise Lost on this recording. They have the bands trademark melancholy and suffer from the standard rock/pop format of verse chorus verse.

This album was a disappointment to all Doomdeath/Doom/Metal-Heads as it showed Paradise Lost seemingly leaving its past behind them and forgetting all who had supported them in the beginning. On the other side of the equation, this is an excellent album and shows a band that is committed to reinventing themselves as they’ve yet to put the same record out twice.

Umm... this is Paradise Lost? - 60%

WitheringToSerenity, April 3rd, 2004

Well the first thing I would like to say is that if you are a fan of Paradise Lost's older material and have a strong preference to metal, I cant stress enough how much you should stay away from this release. I can barely hear any if any guitars. Any old Paradise Lost influences are pretty well thrown away. All that is left really is Nick Holmes vocals from One Second and its slight electronic influence. An influence that is brought to new extremes without the presence of guitars this album. This album is still disappointing yet in all fairness it does have some solid catchy melodies and some decent atmosphere in some of the songs(along with solid vocals).

They have taken their accessible sound to an even further level than One Second. The farthest thing from a metal album, but for more electronic standards I can't think of anything I'd rather listen to spare a few bands. Can't think of much else to say for this album, Host was a very risky album to make for Paradise Lost. Metalheads will despise it, most electronic music fans won't hear much of Paradise Lost and PL fans not just metal oriented will unlikely find this particularly special. Even for their new, goth rock influenced releases this is one of their worse outings. Fortunately they moved on improved with Believe In Nothing, but I applaud Paradise Lost for making an album they wanted to make even if I'm not as satisfied with the outcome.