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Paradise Lost - Medusa (Album Review)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Perhaps the name ‘Now That’s What I Call Doom’ is being saved for a greatest hits package but, really, Paradise Lost embody that title on ‘Medusa’. Their 15th full-length is a masterclass in the art of depressing, downtrodden doom metal.

Since re-recording a few classic pieces for 2013’s ‘Tragic Illusion’ odds ‘n’ sods release, it seems that Paradise Lost are now making up for lost time after running a gamut of stylistic shifts over their career. After ‘The Plague Within’ sowed the seeds, ‘Medusa’ is concrete proof that they are just as disgusting, just as proudly death and doom inspired as they were back in the day.

It’s not like they’re doing anything particularly new here. They’re just sharpening their tools. The melancholy, gothic sheen of 2012’s excellent ‘Tragic Idol’ also remains, informing large passages of this record.

For the most part, songs crawl into the world, with Greg Mackintosh’s single, defined notes slithering through his guitar. They cling to the ears like some disease nobody’s discovered yet.

That beautifully bleak sadness melds with references to ‘Shades of God’-era doominess and Fearless Sky’s lumbering first half plays out like Embraced or Daylight Torn would have done in 2017. From The Gallows and Blood & Chaos run at a faster pace than the bulk of the record, with the latter’s heroic guitar melodies adding a dash of grandiosity. But what really ties everything together, as on the last album, is Nick Holmes’ frightening vocal prowess.

His wonderful growling harks back to the displays we were treated to on ‘Gothic’ and ‘Lost Paradise’ in the early ‘90s. This time, though, it’s coupled with Holmes’ ever-expanding knack for melody. He’s riding Mackintosh’s licks on a surfboard made of chant-along choruses and vocal hooks, in his death metal bark and his Type O Negative-style croon. Both Fearless Sky and Blood & Chaos, in particular, display this dichotomy in its most victorious form.

For old school fans, ‘Medusa’ is a home-run. For fans of the cleaner stuff, it’s a continuation, perhaps more so than ‘The Plague Within’. But to accuse Paradise Lost of relying on former glories would be churlish. They’ve simply acknowledged that they created something special, thus contextualising it in today’s metal landscape. New bands are taking their blueprints and doing different things with them, but nothing is quite like the original.

Paradise Lost Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri November 03 2017 - LONDON Electric Ballroom

Click here to compare & buy Paradise Lost Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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