Another retrospective of a remastered old album of a well-known band. This is almost becoming a habit. None other than Paradise Lost, English lads who are considered the godfathers of gothic metal. Although they never stayed within the genre, on contrary; with these guys you never knew what you are going to get.
Starting as a doom/death band with their debut Lost Paradise in 1990 and only a year later are breaking grounds with their Gothic album. Which in their own words was simply combination of Sisters of Mercy and death metal. Fancy that.
Follow up albums Shades of God and Icon showcased bands artistic evolution in song structure and mellowing their sound which drove them to mainstream success. So much that it’s visible that the promoters were really trying to make them the British version of Metallica in Icon and later Draconian Times.
That period the band really was in the highlight of popularity with year’s long tours. Disdained and a bit bored with their sound and image they made the drastic change with One Second. But none were prepared for an album like Host. With no doubt their most polarizing album to date.
So goodbye long hair, distorted guitars and hello electronics/synch-pop Depeche Mode style. At least for that time. The band after has slowly but surely gone back to their sound and since The Plague Within album where Nicks growls had a comeback, the band went full circle in the carrier. So watching now Host is a totally different way; a successful and interesting experiment.
So recording Host in that moment in time after establishing yourself as gothic metal elite was like firing an entire Uzi magazine in the foot. Back in the day I was like the other 99% of the old Paradise Lost bewildered by the gravity of the departure of their sound, even in comparison to previous One Second.
Keyboards took the guitars hostage, Nick’s vocals are softer and delicate but having a closer look it is still the same band underneath. Only the format is different and their quality is still there. Tracks like the opener So Much is Lost, Behind the Gray, Deep and In all Honesty are fine examples of the very melancholic feel that characterizes Host, retaining the band’s trademark atmosphere. In an interview which I did with Aaron he did motioned it was their most miserable period which actually makes this album their gloomiest. Despite that, it is a very catchy and easy listen.
The reason why most of the PL fans call this affair ˙˙Depeche Lost˙˙ that the gang in Depeche Mode also listens to rock and metal, which gives the certain feel that other pop bands can’t replicate.
Considering this a remastered version it’s not a big difference I must say, enhanced would be a more suitable word. As Aaron said in the interview their biggest criticism of the production that the album was compressed into a flat line while on this everything volume up and clear. It simply has more life and dynamic into it.
Subjectively speaking I’m appreciating this album more and more as time passes by, Paradise Lost is really one of handful of bands that took the risk of taking another sonic expression, managed in it and came back to their old sound like nothing happened.
But if you never dug the album I doubt that this version maybe would not change your mind, but for the rest they can enjoy the bleak elegance of the Host.