(10/10) Wow. I can’t say much more than that when it comes to the newest Paradise Lost disc. Following the band over the last decades partly felt like a rollercoaster. Rooted in the early British death metal, the band included more and more gothic elements to their music and released with “Host” the most controversially discussed longplayer in the entire career which also marked a turning point.
“Paradise Lost”, released in 2005, showed already some elements of the earlier days of the band, a progression that's ongoing till the here and now. Discs like “Tragic Idol” and the latest release, “The Plague Within”, became excellent metal records, showcasing a band that gets back to the basic roots of their music and sound. Listening to the newest longplayer, “Medusa”, feels like each of these records has been a step towards this metal masterpiece. “Medusa” feels like the album that many fans expected in the beginning of the 90’s as a successor of the “Shades of God” album. Listening to "Medusa" is a throwback into a time when songs like “As I Die” gained momentum.
The start into “Medusa” is slow and intense. “Fearless Sky” is a slo-mo track that comes very close to funeral doom. It features the typical Paradise Lost guitar sound with mighty riffs and a huge intensity. Next to this it’s the fact of Nick Holmes growling again, that emphasizes the heaviness of the opener – and the entire album. The clean vocals, that are still partly embedded, feel more like an add-on rather than the base on this record. The next song, “Gods of the Ancient” doesn’t change the described basic pattern but comes with exciting twists and breaks which makes it to another highlight on the album. With “From the Gallows” the band shifts gears. Things get a bit faster with this three minutes smasher that could have been easily a part of the mentioned “Shades of Gods” album.
Rain and the screech of the raven kickstarts “The Longest Winter”. The music reflects the title in a perfect fashion. Dark and gloomy the tune spreads a foggy and cold atmosphere that also shows the fascination of darkness.
With more than six minutes it’s the title track that’s next in the order. In contradiction the most of the other songs the vocals are kept clean. Still it includes a wistful vibe that’s created by slowly roaring riffs and a heavy pounding beat. This song is jaw-dropping good and deserves being the name-giver for the album. Immense riffs is what you also get with “No Passage for the Dead” before the uptempo “Blood and Chaos” brings back the “Icon”-spirit. The same does the closer “Until the Grave”. Greg Mackintosh clearly shows why he's the master of Paradise Lost, also providing awesome leads that are, together with Holmes' raspy vocals, key characteristics for this closer that rounds off an exciting metal record.
To sum up: Expectations have been high when it comes to “Medusa” and after having heard the eight songs I must say that these expectations have been exceeded. This longplayer showcases Paradise Lost at another peak. It seems that the entire journey up till now had just one aim: writing, producing and releasing this masterpiece. Can’t wait to hear the songs live.
- Fearless Sky
- Gods of Ancient
- From the Gallows
- The Longest Winter
- No Passage for the Dead
- Blood and Chaos
- Until the Grave
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date EU: September 1st, 2017