Review HOST ‘IX’

An album that certainly not only I have been eagerly awaiting is ‘IX’ by Host. The elder of you will remember. Paradise Lost released an album called ‘Host’ in 1999. The disc was controversially discussed at the time, and certainly still is today.

The English death metal heroes moved already with ‘Draconian Times’ and ‘One Second’ more to gothic-influenced metal in which melancholy and melodies gained more and more momentum. ‘Host’ was the culmination of this development.

Even if the album is better than its reputation and has with ‘So Much is Lost’ also a real hit song, one notices a brokenness in the record. Paradise Lost were searching for their identity in a massively changing metal landscape towards the end of the 90s.
With ‘Believe in Nothing’ and ‘Symbol of Life’ Paradise Lost returned to their old strengths while the love for dark wave was still very present with Nick Holmes and guitarist Greg Mackintosh.

24 years after the release of ‘Host’ the two metal veterans bring now with ‘IX’ an album in the record stores, which is extraordinarily exciting. That the two release the album under a new moniker is a good thing, because ‘IX’ has very little to do with the mothership and I wouldn’t go that far to call the album ‘metal’ either.

Photo: Balazs Szabo

Host is a dark wave project with a lot of rock elements, like in ‘Hiding From Tomorrow’. In addition, gothic influences are very present and the electro-component is also relatively strong. Take the uniqueness of Depeche Mode, add the gothic vibe of Fields Of The Nephilim and garnish it with some well chosen guitar lines; then you have an idea of what Host is all about. It is also more than just symbolic that the last track of the album is a cover version of ‘I Ran’, the signature song from A Flock Of Seagulls.

‘IX’ is not an album of happiness. Rather, songs like ‘My Only Escape’ carry a heaviness that rests on ones soul and bursts into these songs captivation. In addition, each song has an impressive atmospheric density, which is immediately present in the opener ‘Wretched Soul’.

Darkness and melancholy arise in ‘Divine Emotions’ and one notices that the basic mood on this album is quite comparable with Paradise Lost, but musically it is expressed in a completely different fashion.

Compared to the Paradise Lost album of the same name, ‘IX’ is homogeneous and free of the pressure to compromise. Homes and Mackintosh utilize the freedom of this project to give free rein to their love of dark wave music. Even if headbanging is not an option when listening to this album, it is still an extremely accomplished record that exposes new details with every listen.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


  1. Wretched Soul
  2. Tomorrow’s Sky
  3. Divine Emotion
  4. Hiding From Tomorrow
  5. A Troubled Mind
  6. My Only Escape
  7. Years of Suspicion
  8. Inquisition
  9. Instinct
  10. I Ran

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Dark Wave

Release Date EU: February 24th, 2023




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