The last few Paradise Lost albums have been genuinely great, seeing the band in a rich vein and capturing what we can only call a classic overall Paradise Lost sound. The last outing ‘The Plague Within’ was described by CackBlabbath as “Paradise Lost’s greatest hits that you’ve never heard…”
So maybe it is time to stray off of the familiar path for this new album.
N.B. We’d have probably been salivating just as much over a new “classic sounding” Paradise Lost album too… Any new Paradise Lost is all good as far as we’re concerned.
Anyway, they weren’t kidding. ‘Medusa’ is a dark and lumbering affair straight from the opening bars of ‘Fearless Sky’.
There’s a passing moment in the aforementioned title track of upbeat splendour but Nick spends the majority of this album in a harsh throaty growl. A bit like Kirk from Crowbar, but a bit less constipated sounding. Certainly a mile away from the melodic gothic doom pipes that we know him for.
Occasionally, the odd clean vocal comes in, such as in ‘The Longest Winter’ where the vocal chords are warmed up like a short snap of sunshine on a foul grey day.
The album trudges along with little sign of urgency. Slow turgid sludge riffs dominate, but there is always some trademark Gregor guitar work piercing through the gloom here and there. Those oh-so recognisable little (almost orchestral) guitar flourishes are integral to any Paradise Lost sound, and they are here in ‘Medusa’… Loud and clear.
The gently building, minimalistic guitar solo in the title track will have your hairs standing on end and adds a little warmth to a cold feeling album.
Cold, but no means in a bad way, ‘Medusa’ definitely carries the feeling of a hopelessly dull and miserable January afternoon. It’s not a feel good hit of the summer by any stretch… But we weren’t expecting it to be.
‘Blood and Chaos’ breaks the mould a little bit as it starts off with some wailing guitars and has quite a thumping gallop to it. Nick begins in his throaty scowl but interjects some more rounded verses too. Add a massive screeching guitar solo and you have a sudden punchiness to proceedings.
‘Medusa’ is a mini departure from what Paradise Lost have been doing over the past few years. It still sounds like the authentic Paradise Lost we know and love, but the atmosphere of this album is deliberately more bleak and purposely more heavy. It keeps the Paradise Lost catalogue fresh just like they have always strived to do with experimental sounds and directions. And, while this is never likely to be the ultimate go-to Paradise Lost album for most; it is a splendid hulk of bludgeoning doom with some cracking additions to the live show.
Can we have ‘No Passage For The Dead’ at Damnation please?
Paradise Lost: Still the kings of miserable and still the very best in this game!