Guilty Pleasures & Hidden Gems: Host (UK)
Host (Dark Wave // UK)
Host is a brand new dark wave project launched by Paradise Lost vocalist Nick Holmes and guitarist Greg Mackintosh.
The origins of Host 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, 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.
“We always stood by »Host« as an album,” says Mackintosh. “This project is not totally connected to that album, but some of the ideas are extrapolated. We’re taking the basic premise and trying it out now. And, really, it was something fun and interesting for us to do. We’ve been doing Paradise Lost for a long time and got an itch to try something different from where PL is now. I could take PL down this route again. Who knows? It may happen if we live long enough, but I thought, ‘Why not now?’ I had the time to do it.”
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.
The Host project is emblematic of the enduring songwriting partnership between Holmes and Mackintosh. 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.
Host have signed to Nuclear Blast Records last year and announced their debut album »IX« to be released on February 24th, 2023. To coincide with the announcement, they have released a video for their first single »Tomorrow’s Sky«, a cascading, synth laden track driven by an insatiable pop vocal hook. The video was directed and produced by Ash Pears of AshTV.
Host’s debut single »Tomorrow’s Sky« was remixed by US synthwave producer Gost. The remix is an amped up version of the duo’s track that surges with a brooding, yet irresistibly danceable energy.
Gost comments, “After listening to the original track I knew the vocals and overall vibe would fit well with the Gost sound. The vocals sat effortlessly into my mix and the guitar solo’s are super smooth. Stoked to work with Host on this and I cannot wait to share the remix with my fans.”
»Hiding From Tomorrow« is the second single from their upcoming debut album »IX«. This new offering is a brooding cut of stark goth rock, akin to the works of Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Sisters Of Mercy.
Vocalist Nick Holmes comments, “»Hiding From Tomorrow« was one of the first songs we wrote for the Host project and although the title would suggest otherwise, it was written a few years prior to the pandemic. With that in mind, I was thinking about the things that keep you awake at night, and although life is something that should never be taken for granted, uncertainty is a big part of it, and none of us know what’s around the corner.”
The latest single of the project is a pulsing electronic track titled »My Only Escape«. The third single from their debut album »IX«, which will be released on 24th February through Nuclear Blast Records, »My Only Escape« is yet another display of lush nuance that showcases the band’s vast range of influences.
Nick Holmes adds, “Musically, this track has an intentional repetitive element that builds throughout the song, this is also mirrored in the lyric idea, as in the repetition of an everyday life held in such poor regard. The feeling of actually being physically scared, acts as an acceptable relief from day to day drudgery.”
Pre-order »IX« on various formats at this location!
• »Tomorrow’s Sky« Single (Nuclear Blast, 2022)
• »Tomorrow’s Sky (Gost Remix)« Single (Nuclear Blast, 2022)
• »Hiding From Tomorrow« Single (Nuclear Blast, 2022)
• »My Only Escape« Single (Nuclear Blast, 2023)
• »IX« (Nuclear Blast, 2023)
Nick Holmes – Vocals
Greg Mackintosh – Guitars, Synths & Programming
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For fans of Paradise Lost, Depeche Mode, The Sisters Of Mercy, Diary Of Dreams, Covenant, London After Midnight, De/Vision, Clan Of Xymox, The Frozen Autumn
Bojan Bidovc // music enthusiast, promoter, misanthrop and sometimes a journalist as well