Wednesday 13 September 2017

Album Review: PARADISE LOST - Medusa

Paradise Lost - Medusa

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 And Chaos
08. Until The Grave
09. Frozen Illusion (Bonus Track)
10. Shrines (Bonus Track)
11. Symbolic Virtue (Bonus Track)

If you read my review of Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh's side project band Vallenfyre (read here), you'll know that Paradise Lost have gone in exactly the direction I was really hoping they'd avoid. Medusa is a full on Doom Metal album. Isn't that the genre Paradise Lost are known for? Well, to me, they became so much more than that, with their clever use of melody and relentlessly superb song writing.

As with all bands that have a large back catalogue that doesn't all sound the same, there will be different sets of fans pining for different eras. As a teenager, I remember enduring the knuckle dragging Death Metal fans telling me that Paradise Lost sold out after their second album Gothic, and Icon was nothing more than a commercial rip off of Metallica's black album. Of course, those web-fingered fucks were full of shit. Paradise Lost went on to record Draconian Times, which in my humble opinion, is one of the best albums ever made. After that, they went in a more Goth and Electronica direction with One Second and Host, which, despite not being the albums some fans wanted from Paradise Lost, were undeniably brilliant in their own ways. Some of their finest songs are on those albums. I also enjoyed drinking the tears of those aforementioned knuckle draggers.

Sadly, it's now their turn to scoff at me, as Paradise Lost seem to be taking inspiration from their first two records more than the others. Don't get me wrong, Medusa isn't a bad album, it's just not what I personally wanted from them, in the same way that Host wasn't what some fans wanted from them a few years ago.

Opener Fearless Sky sets the tone for this record with its sludgy distorted guitars, and slow, plodding riffs. Nick Holmes is back to his gruff Death Metal vocal style too. The song finally picks up after about four minutes, with some chugging guitar riffs and clean vocal parts. Then after six minutes, it picks up a little more, now sounding like an upbeat Black Sabbath song, before winding back down into its initial dirge.

Gods Of Ancient continues this Doom vibe before From The Gallows brings in some nice melodic lead guitar work reminiscent of the Icon album, finally bringing back the sound of Paradise Lost that got me into their music in the first place.

The Longest Winter brings back the sorely missed clean vocals. The Death Metal vocals are there too, but are used more sparingly, really adding to the song. This is certainly one of my favourites from this new record, as it sounds more like the Paradise Lost I grew up with.

Blood And Chaos is easily the best song off the album, for my tastes. It has plenty of energy, coupled with that magic Paradise Lost lead guitar tone, and plenty of melody which never detracts from the general bleakness of their music. The vocals are a good mix of clean and harsh, bringing plenty of character to the song too.

The other songs on the album fall into the 'alright' category for me. I don't dislike them, but they aren't going to change my life any time soon either. As usual, there are bonus tracks across different versions of Medusa. One of these, Symbolic Virtue, is awesome. It sounds more like (my version of) classic Paradise Lost. How it didn't make the album, I'll never know.

So yeah. One of my favourite bands in the universe have put out an album that has some great tracks, and some I'm not too fussed about. Hopefully, I'll warm to it more over time.


No comments

Post a Comment

Blog Layout Designed by pipdig