I have been listening a lot of Paradise Lost lately. One of the “Peaceville Three”, they were pioneers of the deat/doom subgenre of metal. But that death/doom style didn’t last. Within only a few albums they have really become a much more approachable, but extremely good, gothic metal band. Poised to become huge, suddenly they chose to change again.
Enter Host their 7th album. There are barely any guitars. The cover could just as easily be the cover of a Backstreet Boys album, and the music is closer to Depeche Mode than anything resembling metal. What?
But it’s true. It isn’t necessarily bad music. But coming off the highs that were Draconian Times and Icon, this is music that is almost beyond comprehension. I find it somewhat difficult to go back to, just because it is such and outlier in their catalog. It can be fascinating in its own way, because of that outlier status. But, all these years later, I almost don’t know what to make of it.
The other members of the “Peaceville Three” also underwent significant transformations. Anathema became much more of a progressive, pop/rock (that I desparately love and lament while respecting their decision to call it quits). My Dying Bride had some weird years in their as well (34.788%… Complete anyone?). But while Anathema gradually morphed into something completely different, and My Dying Bride’s daliance was much shorter in nature, Paradise Lost takes the cake for just how different Host is from all their other work.
It is truly wacky to listen to Host and then follow it up with Obsidian, their most recent album. It truly sounds like completely different bands, while the only member of band that has changed is the drummer. I am being reminded lately just how good of a band Paradise Lost is, their middle era notwithstanding. And in that light, I find it fun and fascinating to listen to Host and the other few albums that were released in that era.