PARADISE LOST — Medusa (review)

PARADISE LOST — Medusa album cover Album · 2017 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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Plague Within" from 2015, and once again there´s been a lineup change on the drummer position as Adrian Erlandsson has been replaced by Waltteri Väyrynen (Abhorrence, Vallenfyre).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.
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Tupan wrote:
9 months ago
This new era of Paradise Lost is great.

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