PARADISE LOST — Medusa

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PARADISE LOST - Medusa cover
4.40 | 19 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2017

Tracklist

1. Fearless Sky (8:30)
2. Gods of Ancient (5:50)
3. From the Gallows (3:42)
4. The Longest Winter (4:31)
5. Medusa (6:20)
6. No Passage for the Dead (4:16)
7. Blood & Chaos (3:51)
8. Until the Grave (5:41)

Total Time 42:41

Bonus tracks:

9. Shrines (3:59)
10. Symbolic Virtue (4:38)

Total Time 51:18

Japanese bonus track:

11. Frozen Illusion (5:45)

Total Time 57:03

Line-up/Musicians

- Stephen Edmondson / Bass
- Gregor Mackintosh / Guitars, Keyboards
- Aaron Aedy / Guitars
- Nick Holmes / Vocals
- Waltteri Väyrynen / Drums

Guest/session musicians:
- Heather Mackintosh / Backing Vocals (track 6)
- Steve Crobar / Backing Vocals (track 2)

About this release

Format: CD
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: September 1st, 2017

Format: CD Digibook
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: September 1st, 2017

Two bonus tracks.

Format: 12" vinyl
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: September 1st, 2017

Format: CD + 2 vinyls
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: September 1st, 2017

Mailorder edition. Two bonus tracks.

Format: CD
Label: Ward Records
Release date: September 1st, 2017

Japanese edition. Three bonus tracks.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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PARADISE LOST MEDUSA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

poslednijat_colobar
The ultimate and classic death-doom release by Paradise Lost

Medusa makes the hardest fans of death-doom metal and Paradise Lost in particular to exclaim. This exceptional album consists of long, dark, slow and elaborate works and makes the metalheads' blood to boil. There are not any sterile, boring or unnecessary parts on the album, as well as any production problems which used to be presented on the early heavier releases by the band. The inclusion of keyboards is very skillful and enchanting, while inserting additional volume and style to the album. Real masterpiece by Paradise Lost this time without exceptions and excuses and a strong candidate for best album of the band to date.
MorniumGoatahl
The UK's Paradise Lost are a band I've always liked despite not being that into the genre that they are most associated with: gothic metal. In a genre that seems flooded with so called beauty and the beast bands, they stand out thanks to Nick Holmes' commanding clean vocals, which depending on the album can have some classic James Hetfield vibes to them. But Paradise Lost started their career as an extreme metal band and were a pioneer of the death-doom metal style and it's this style of their early albums that I've personally always been most fond of, with Gothic being my favourite. The sudden reintroduction of death growling vocals on The Plague Within, didn't change that although that album has risen to become one of my favourites from the band. The band's latest album Medusa though, changes everything about my relationship with the band and has already become my favourite album of theirs.

That's because Medusa is Paradise Lost's first death-doom metal album since the early nineties and thanks to the wonders of modern recording and production equipment and techniques, is the most powerful they've ever sounded when playing this style. Sure, there's a brief resurgence of their gothic metal style (with added growling like on The Plague Within) for a couple of tracks, The Longest Winter and the title track while Blood & Chaos is a bit too upbeat to be considered a doom song, but otherwise they've slowed their tempo right down and Nick Holmes is growling even more than on the previous album and certainly in a more death metal manner than is used on the Shades of God album. I don't thinking they've ever been heavier.

Fearless Sky is the perfect opener for this album. Despite it's slow and crushing sound, there's also a triumphant feel to it, especially in the chorus growls from Holmes. Some clean vocals are used, but it's not until those middle tracks that they ever become dominant on the album and by the time of No Passage For the Dead they've back in the centre stage again. I like Nick as a clean singer and am glad he didn't throw those vocals out completely, but despite years of not using growls in the band he can still deliver them and arguably is even better than ever. His appointment to the death metal band Bloodbath may have something to do with that.

The standard version of Medusa is eight tracks long but it's worth picking up the special edition if you can which will also net you two extra tracks: Shrine and Symbolic Virtue. Which both, especially the latter, feel more like The Plague Within or even earlier material compared to the death-doom of the main album, they're definitely worth having. Symbolic Virtue is a good reminder of why Paradise Lost are one of if not the best gothic metal band despite this return to their roots.
Kev Rowland
Formed in 1988 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, Paradise Lost are not only known as one of the most distinctive acts in metal - their music arguably defined the gothic subgenre and raised doom metal to a new level - they are also considered pioneers of an entire musical generation. Never ones to hesitate to explore undiscovered paths, they have encompassed many genres during their career - from their death metal beginnings to the more mainstream electronic dark-pop album ‘Host’, electronic influences on ‘Symbol Of Life’ alongside majestic gothic moments. Vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, along with bassist Steve Edmondson have never ceased to follow their own vision. The quartet has been an inseparable unit since its inception, with only the drummer's position changing hands several times. The latest incumbent, Waltteri Väyrynen, is only 22 years old, while the band have now been in existence for nearly 30!

With their last album, they showed that they were starting to return to their roots, and that has journey has progressed with ‘Medusa’, which is certainly one of, if not the, heaviest album they have ever released. Here we have doom and gothic metal hitting head on and being brought to live with vocals that owe more to the death scene than any other. There is a quality here that is hard to define, as they bring all the misery of Northern England to bear in 43 minutes of depressing, intense, music. Here is a band that is refusing to rest on their considerable laurels, but instead continue to push boundaries, and to my ears this is easily the most complete work they have ever produced. The drum and bass are crushing, the riffs are solid slabs of lead, while the solos are uplifting and almost cathartic while Nick Holmes shows no sign at all of mellowing in his middle age. I discovered that the more I listened to the album, the more I kept turning up the volume, until the neighbours the other side of the neighbours could share it as well. This is certainly one of the finest metal albums to come out of the UK this year.
Warthur
Harsh vocals and a deliciously poisonous death-doom murkiness make a big return to Paradise Lost's sound on Medusa - as does an unexpected dose of traditional doom metal at points. As the album cover suggests, the band here take a bit of inspiration from traditional doom metal throwbacks like Uncle Acid here - not to the extent of fully adopting some kind of Sabbath or Candlemass-worshipping sound, but at least to the extent that their death-doom material here isn't wholly devoted to slow, churning dirges like on Gothic but include livelier songs - Blood and Chains could be described as "death 'n' roll-doom" in its embrace of a catchy hook, whilst album closer Until the Grave is a pocket epic that perfectly fuses the slowest moments of death metal with the fastest of doom.

Highly impressive, this is a great little album which blows away all the memories of Sisters of Mercy-inspired synthpop from the middle of their career; listening to this makes me feel like Paradise Lost never left metal behind in the first place, and has convinced me that I really should give some more of their earlier album a second chance to win me over.
UMUR
"Medusa" is the 15th full-length studio album by UK doom/gothic metal act Paradise Lost. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in September 2017. It´s the successor to "The Plague Within" from 2015, and once again there´s been a lineup change on the drummer position as Adrian Erlandsson has been replaced by Waltteri Väyrynen (Abhorrence, Vallenfyre). The band have had several drummers joining and leaving over the years, and although the remaining four band members have been there from the beginning, they´ve just never been able to find a longer lasting solution on the drum position. There have been drummers through the years who have held the position for several years, but it just seems like being the drummer in Paradise Lost comes with a curse.

"The Plague Within (2015)" reintroduced growling vocals to the band´s doom/gothic metal style, which lead vocalist Nick Holmes had otherwise dropped after the first couple of albums, and on "Medusa", Holmes continues to shift between clean and growling vocals (predominantly using growls on this album). Thankfully not in a formulaic growling sung vers/clean sung chorus format. Holmes manage to add an unpredictable element to the music by using clean and growling vocals for different parts of the various tracks. It´s nothing major, but it´s enough to keep the music from becoming too predictable and thereby lose longivity.

The material on the 8 track, 42:41 minutes long album are well written and memorable. It´s crushingly heavy, dark, atmospheric, and melancholic, and as a consequence of the growling vocals occasionally slightly aggressive too. Both the bass and the rhythm guitar feature a brutal distorted tone, which Paradise Lost haven´t had on their releases in years, and there is prominent use of lead guitar melodies throughout the album, which is another feature harking back to the early days of the band. But while there are quite a few derivative elements featured on "Medusa", it´s not an album which sounds like it was made in the early 90s. Paradise Lost successfully incorporate the gothic metal elements of their repetoire to the doomy and heavy sound on "Medusa", and it feels like an album where Paradise Lost are looking forward, creating a new sound using known elements. Highlights include the doomy "Fearless Sky", the catchy and melodic "The Longest Winter", and the hard rocking gothic metal track (with growling vocals) "Blood & Chaos".

The limited edition of the album includes two bonus tracks in "Shrines" and "Symbolic Virtue". Considering the generally harder edged, raw, and doomy direction of the material on "Medusa", both tracks are pretty obvious take outs. "Shrines" is a great quality track shifting between clean and growling vocals, but a bit more vers/chorus formulaic than the other tracks on the album, and "Symbolic Virtue" is a melodic, clean sung, and piano/keyboard drenched track, which doesn´t really fit with the rest of the material.

"Medusa" features a dark and raw sound production, which suits the material perfectly. I´ve often felt that some of their releases featured too polished and sterile sounding productions, but "Medusa" brings back an organic element which becomes Paradise Lost well. So upon conclusion it´s a high quality release by Paradise Lost and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
adg211288
Although the UK's Paradise Lost may have started as a death-doom metal band and arguably were the originators of that particular fusion, after a few albums they ventured deeper into the territory of gothic metal and it's for this genre that they are no doubt most famous for now, with Draconian Times (1995) and Icon (1993) usually counted as their best releases and pillars of the entire gothic metal genre. They turned away from metal briefly on the album Host (1999) but were quick to return to it on Believe in Nothing (2001). Mostly sticking to the gothic metal genre ever since, they've gradually been reintroducing doom metal elements to their music and on The Plague Within (2015) took things a step further back towards their roots with the reintroduction of death growling vocals. This has paved the way for Medusa (2017), the band's fifteenth studio album and their first album to fully embraced death-doom metal since Shades of God (1992).

I say fully, but what I really mean is that Paradise Lost have made death-doom metal the main focus of their music on Medusa. They also retain some more regular doom metal parts with clean vocals and an influence of the gothic metal style they've played throughout most of their career, but it's now taken a back seat in terms of their playing style, particularly in the guitars. Lead single The Longest Winter would suggest that not much has changed in camp Paradise Lost, being one of the more gothic songs with primarily clean vocals from Nick Holmes, but this is an illusion that is quickly dispelled when you start the album from the very beginning when the band serve up the album's longest track Fearless Sky. This one is quite the opposite affair, with growling vocals taking centre stage, which is the same case with the following Gods of Ancient and is subsequently shown to be the theme of the album.

While Holmes still uses plenty of clean singing - in fact after a back to back listen my impression is that there may even be a little more on Medusa than The Plague Within had - there are certainly more growls and an overall focus on extreme metal. The key difference to its predecessor that sets the two albums apart is the instrumental shift back to a doom metal dominant sound and an increase in general heaviness, though the music isn't as menacing or outright malevolent as some death-doom metal can be. If I was to choose any word to describe it I'd have to say modern. It's definitely more accessible than a lot of groups of this style are. That's what ultimately helps to make it a memorable release though, with tracks such as Fearless Sky, From the Gallows, Blood and Chaos and Until the Grave staying with me long after the album's conclusion.

If you're mainly a fan of the band's early days, this album can only be good news and perhaps even something you'd never have imagined possible, even after the growl heavy The Plague Within which was still musically more of a gothic metal album. If you prefer their fully clean sung gothic metal work though then Medusa may spell disappointment for you. That's the inherent trouble with a band that has changed their sound more than once. Hopefully most fans can appreciate both of Paradise Lost's core styles of metal and will embrace Medusa as an excellent throwback album that still has enough of their gothic metal style to retain at least some interest from gothic metal fans, though I would say gothic fans have more for them on the special editions of the album that include two bonus tracks that lean more this way; Shrines and Symbolic Virtue, which add almost a further ten minutes to Medusa's total playing time and go a long way towards evening out the doom and gothic metal elements on offer.

For my money though the base eight track album alone is an exceptional release from Paradise Lost. 2017 is certainly shaping up to be a great year for the doom metal genre, with many great and inventive albums released already, but Paradise Lost striking back to reclaim the death-doom throne they vacated twenty-five years ago may just be the doom metal event of the year.

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