We’re going to look back on this post and feel it’s incredibly dated but who cares! In a week that’s brought tour announcements from The Sisters Of Mercy, Skinny Puppy, and Duran Duran with news of actual happenings from The Cure also imminently on the way, it’s fitting that Nick Holmes’ and Greg Mackintosh’s HOST comes to light and sees release later this month as its’ darkened New Wave Electro Rawk is a fairly nice cornucopia of all that noise and then some.
But I digress.
Holmes’ beastly baritone and commanding presence is, of course, at the forefront of the legendary Gothic Metal outfit Paradise Lost (As well as scarily present in Bloodbath and various guest spots over the years) alongside PL guitarist Mackintosh who both, with HOST, have stepped outside of their comfort zone for an album that’s exhilaratingly electric from start to finish taking those aforementioned artists (Sprinkled with some Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and IAMX for good measure) to craft a new sonic world in IX. And for us Man Ray fans, IX is seemingly made for any mood on the floor of the iconic newly resurrected Cambridge-based night club. Or any Goth club/night for that matter.
“Wretched Soul” is unassuming with programmed beats, serene strummed acoustic guitars, and Holmes’ quiet delivery offering a menacing malaise amidst some programmed orchestral elegance from Mackintosh. “Tomorrow’s Sky”, on the other hand, dives into Depeche Mode territory with Holmes’ delivery soaring into the ether surrounded by a particularly encapsulating pulsating glow sonically. “Divine Emotion” is a staggering and static Electro tower that has Holmes adopting some Neil Tennant-like qualities especially with the vocal harmonies within the chorus while “Hiding From Tomorrow” is a lively romp filled with a passionate percussive bravado and “A Troubled Mind” thumps and throttles and heads out of the stratosphere with its’ Mackintosh-sculpted otherworldly atmosphere.
“My Only Escape” is ethereal yet eerie, “Years Of Suspicion” has a Songs From The Big Chair quality to it, and “Inquisition” pulsates with a subdued serenity as Mackintosh’s stirring guitar lines shriek in the background. Following that, “Instinct” spirals nicely out of “Inquisition” for another Gahan meets Tennant vocal statement that transcends both of those outfits to forge a unique new monster. Concluding with a crushing cover of Flock Of Seagulls’ “I Ran”, HOST transform the elegant sheen of the original into a mighty towering presence that might be the best take on the song yet and a fitting coda for this enthralling debut.
IX arrives on February 24th through Nuclear Blast with pre-orders up now and waiting to be perused and potentially purchased when you click here. For more from HOST, follow them across the information superhighway when you head here, here, or here.