Tuesday, 12 September 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Paradise Lost - "Medusa"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/09/2017
Label: Nuclear Blast


 
Depthless despair, thick production with pounding drums accentuating the force of the material and those classic melodic leads are all encompassing, making this their heaviest album  in years and amongst their best. “Medusa” can and will turn you to stone- as you will be shocked and stilled by just how good it is.


“Medusa” CD//DD//LP track listing:
 
01. Fearless Sky (8:30)
02. Gods Of Ancient (5:50)
03. From The Gallows (3:42)
04. The Longest Winter (4:31)
05. Medusa (6:20)
06. No Passage For The Dead (4:16)
07. Blood & Chaos (3:51)
08. Until The Grave (5:41

Bonus tracks:

09. Frozen Illusion (5:45)
10. Shrines (3:59)
11. Symbolic Virtue (4:38)

The Review:

It is with satisfaction that I can report that Paradise Lost have returned to their doom/death roots on this, their fifteenth (!) album. As noted in previous reviews of their past work, the band have actually been a lot heavier than you would expect on the last few releases. “Tragic Idol” was equivalent to “Draconian Times” in weight, while “The Plague within” was one of 2015's best albums and was seriously heavy to boot. Once again: Paradise Lost are one of metal's best kept secrets and certainly one of the finest metal bands to ever have been produced by the UK.

“Medusa”, then, sees a new drummer Waltteri Vayrynen join the solid foursome. Eight tracks, all massively heavy in terms of sound and atmosphere. From the organ intro of “Fearless Sky”, through the concise “From The Gallows” by way of the rolling grooves of “Gods of Ancient”, this is the heaviest record that Paradise Lost have done since... well, “Shades of God” at least. Depthless despair, thick production with pounding drums accentuating the force of the material and those classic melodic leads all over the shop.

“The Longest Winter” is a stand out for me- catchy, weighty and pitch black: Paradise Lost at their best. The band members may be showing their age in promo photos, but who cares? They are making some of their best ever music and, of course, we all get old- if we're lucky. The title track mixes piano, doom riffs and some fine lead playing (and that is just the opening!) and Nick Holmes makes use of his clean voice to good effect. The death growl of twenty five years ago is back, but not on all verses of all songs. This is a great stylistic choice- it allows the band to play to their strengths without being constrained by one particular mode throughout.

The death doom vibes of “No Passage For The Dead” come thick and slow, whilst “Blood and Chaos” could be on any of Paradise Lost's strongest albums- any era- and represents them at their most direct. Closing with the strong “Until The Grave” finishes the record in downbeat style and is as heavy as anything else on offer here.

The verdict? Their heaviest in years and amongst their best. It is not as immediate as “The Plague Within”, but I suspect that hidden depths lurk in this lake of tar. Their headline slot at Damnation Festival, Leeds, UK in November- as close to a home town show as you could get for these Yorkshire doomers- will be triumphant and a handy reminder of what the band can do. “Medusa” can and will turn you to stone- as you will be shocked and stilled by just how good it is.

“Medusa” is available now


Band info: facebook

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