【Japan Edition】CD w/ Obi
・W/ exclusive Japanese OBI Strip
・Include exclusive booklet with Japanese liner notes and Translation
Release Date: February 24th 2023
01. WRETCHED SOUL
03. DIVINE EMOTION
04. HIDING FROM TOMORROW
05. A TROUBLED MIND
06. MY ONLY ESCAPE
07. YEARS OF SUSPICION
Nick Holmes (Vocals)
Greg Mackintosh (Guitar/Synthesizer/Programming)
The origins of Host, the new project featuring Paradise Lost vocalist Nick Holmes and guitarist Greg Mackintosh, do not trace back to their 1999 album bearing the same name but instead to the West Yorkshire music clubs of the mid-to-late 1980s. While Holmes and Mackintosh were already certified heavy metal fanatics (“metal thrashing mad” as Holmes equates), they were equally drawn to the New Wave and Goth music scenes. The pounding rhythms, sublime melodies and undercurrent of darkness drew them in, creating immediate earworms and a desire to delve further. Holmes and Mackintosh’s soon-to-be burgeoning career as pioneering Gothic doom metallers in Paradise Lost may have cast this fix to the side, but the sounds and aura never left them. In fact, it only grew stronger with each passing decade.
Mackintosh finally put plans into motion during the pandemic for a venture that would merge his penchant for sound design with the moods and atmosphere of 1980s dance-pop and Goth. The project was originally a solo pursuit until he asked Holmes, his longtime Paradise Lost songwriting partner, to join. “Host” was selected as the name as a tip of the hat to the aforementioned album that found Paradise Lost in an unprecedented period of experimentation that eschewed their metal roots and also challenged their fanbase in ways like never before.
Their debut foray, IX, is an eclectic, stirring collection of songs that forges a unified front of darkness that is interwoven with orchestration and textures. Complemented by carefully placed guitar lines, the album is yet another realization of Mackintosh’s songwriting intuitiveness and restless creative spirit. To create the songs on IX, Mackintosh relied on the approach of starting with a piano line. His self-described “simple” chord sequences or piano lines were then volleyed to Holmes for vocal ideas. Once the pair found a direction, Mackintosh embellished each song with lavish but haunting soundscapes — often blurring the distinction between guitar and keyboards.
Holmes and Mackintosh are joined by Paradise Lost producer/engineer Jaime Gomez Arellano, who provided drums to three of the album’s songs and reprised his production role. The absence of traditional drums and PL’s trademark wall of guitars afforded the pair newfound flexibility when composing. The songs revolve around a programmed beat, a keyboard line or even a volume swell — all with the purpose of bringing about a central idea within a familiar, streamlined format, whether it’s the poppy “Tomorrow’s Sky,” arching, melody-laden “Hiding from Tomorrow” or the synth-drenched “Years of Suspicion.”
The Host project is emblematic of the enduring songwriting partnership between Holmes and Mackintosh. (“There are no rules when we write,” quips Holmes. “We’re very different in many ways, but we have a real thing where we click with certain music.”) Their shape-shifting career in Paradise Lost has unearthed countless groundbreaking moments that lesser bands have failed to duplicate. It was only natural, then, that the pair explored new territory by paying homage to a time that shaped them as musicians — and people.
-David E. Gehlke
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