Paradise Lost - Medusa review


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Band: Paradise Lost
Album: Medusa
Release date: September 2017

01. Fearless Sky
02. Gods Of Ancient
03. From The Gallows
04. The Longest Winter
05. Medusa
06. No Passage For The Dead
07. Blood & Chaos
08. Until The Grave
09. Shrines [bonus]
10. Symbolic Virtue [bonus]
11. Frozen Illusion [Japanese bonus]

I have been following Paradise Lost since the Frozen Illusion demo back when there was no internet and we had to rely on scarce metal radio shows and MTV's "Headbangers Ball" for our fix of new music. The band has tried its hand at death, doom, gothic and even electronic styles, but since In Requiem they have been gradually returning to their roots with every release. Medusa is another sample of greatness in a nearly thirty-year-old, more-than-remarkable career.

"The music you got into when you were 15-16 always stays with you at some degree, always keeps coming back", said Greg Mackintosh in an interview recently, and the opening track, "Fearless Sky", made me feel exactly this way. It is a bold song to choose for an album opener, being eight-and-a-half minutes long, filled with doom and gloom and hinting at the non-commercial direction they want to take. If you enjoyed "Beneath Broken Earth" from The Plague Within, you will be mesmerized by Medusa (pun intended), since it is essentially a return to their early doom - and even death - days, with fewer gothic elements than before, mainly heard in the two excellent bonus tracks. It is probably their heaviest effort since Lost Paradise and it reminds me of Shades Of God more than anything else they have released, but the band is now more mature and confident about what they want to do(om). There is only one relatively upbeat tempo track and this is the second single, "Blood And Chaos", which is set to become an integral part of Paradise Lost's live set lists and a firm fan favourite, based on its irresistible catchiness.

What is heard in Medusa is Nick Holmes growling more than he has ever done since the early 1990s, Aaron Aedy playing earth-shattering riffs entwined with Mackintosh's sorrowful melodies, and Edmondson's omnipresent bass providing a sturdy backbone. But everyone who hasn't been living under a rock in the past three decades is aware of the inseparable quartet's abilities. What comes as a surprise in this album is Waltteri Väyrynen's performance behind the drum kit. The 22-year-old Finn has already showcased his skill on Vallenfyre's record earlier this year, but on Medusa he is an absolute sensation (just listen to "From The Gallows" for a case in point of what a top-tier rhythm section can achieve). Jaime Gomez Arellano has helped accentuate Väyrynen's orgy with the sticks by gifting the drums a deep, full and organic sound and this album boasts an utterly stunning production.

The Plague Within was quite an accomplishment for the band and, compared to its predecessor, Medusa lacks in diversity, but not in quality. The difference between the two is that the former was love at first sight, while the latter is a slow-growing, yet everlasting, love.

Paradise Lost have come up with an ode to futility, ephemerality and nihilism, enveloped in a shroud of mist and blackness. The central message is to reconcile with the notion that there is nothing to long for after death and thus all we can do is live a full and rewarding life, not by seeking materialistic and meaningless pleasures, but by experiencing strong and fulfilling emotions; at the end of the day, we are all going to become part of earthly soil or turn to ashes. So throw your cloaks over your shoulders, doom metal aficionados, for the longest winter is under way.

"Feeling so alive in this hopeless dream..."

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Written on 01.09.2017 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.

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Comments: 31   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 509 users
21.11.2017 - 19:05
Thanks Nikarg! That's a HUGE help!

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