PARADISE LOST have returned with their fifteenth studio album, Medusa. Being around since the late 80s, the British outfit have helped to carve the path that many doom acts now walk upon. Still active and thriving after many years of activity, Medusa is the first release from the band since 2015’s The Plague Within. How does the album stand up against the rest of the iconic band’s discography?
Medusa opens with Fearless Sky, which is one of PARADISE LOST‘s longest songs to date, but also one of their best. Opening rather ominously before a droning guitar and Nick Holmes rough vocals break through create a tense and dark atmosphere. The production of Medusa certainly aids this track, especially during the alternating cleans and growls of the chorus, as does the variety of styles present in the track. Constantly building in intensity, it’s an incredible opener for Medusa. Unfortunately, opening with such a majestic track needs the rest of the record to follow that same level of power and quality of its predecessor to continue having the same impact, which just doesn’t seem to happen with this record.
Gods of Ancient follows, which is a solid track yet missing something that the opening track had. Medusa picks itself up towards the middle of the record, with The Longest Winter being one of the strongest tracks to come out of it. Nick’s vocals brilliantly suit the slow, crushing riffs behind him courtesy of Gregor Mackintosh and Aaron Eady, with the track having a very strong PALLBEARER vibe to it. Until the Grave is also a solid track on the record, with backing vocals adding another layer to the track and making it a little more interesting. Blood and Chaos, the record’s single, is an incredible track and really shines on Medusa, and again, is arguably one of PARADISE LOST‘s most impressive songs. It’s just a shame that the rest of the album doesn’t quite manage to keep the same level of intrigue or originality.
While there are moments in PARADISE LOST‘s that shine, a fair amount of the record feels somewhat safe. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are bad tracks on the album, however they don’t feel too much different from their previous material and doesn’t offer much new to the table. Much of the record seems to sound relatively similar, or not necessarily as hard-hitting as you would expect, nor equal to that of Fearless Sky. It also seems that there is a lack of vocal diversity, with Nick Holmes’ either clean or more guttural vocals, yet not much diversity in between. Compared to previous PARADISE LOST records, it seems to fall a tad short.
Overall, Medusa is a solid addition to PARADISE LOST‘s ever-growing discography. There are moments in this record that are some of PARADISE LOST‘s greatest yet, such as Fearless Sky however the rest isn’t overly memorable. Medusa had the potential to be one of PARADISE LOST‘s strongest records yet, however it seems to fall somewhere in the middle amongst their greatest and not-so-greatest. This said, it’s a welcome addition to their discography and is worth the listen for Fearless Sky alone.
Medusa is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.
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