Monday, July 31, 2017

Paradise Lost : "Medusa"

Most metal bands will tell you their new album is heavier. From the sound of the first song this might be true. The sung goth vocals come in to bring them out of the more death metal direction it seems this album starts off in. There is a little more of a lumbering doom feel to "Gods of Ancient" due to the more mournful feel that competes with the aggression of the growled vocals. These guys are obviously old pros, the guitar tones are dialed in to give the needed crunch and the drums pack the punch  required for this kind of music though the double bass is mixed back a bit and doesn't trample you. There is more of a gallop to "From the Gallows" . This gives them more of a death metal feel. They do return to doom on the title track which is largely sung. The singing shows great signs of improvement when he slides up out of his Peter Steele like baritone into an upper register. They pass through similar doomy waters on the title track, that also finds the vocals being really strong and some of the best that I have heard from Nick Holmes.

"No Passage For the Dead" splits the difference between being death metal and doom. The guitars are more doom with death metal vocals. It's a decent song but not the album's strongest. "Blood & Chaos" displays on of the album's best trade offs between harsh vocals and sung vocals. Things get progressively darker on "Until the Grave". Though this song finds the riffs getting a little murky and until the melodic chordal breakdown nothing really standing out. The guitar solo does add to the song here and give the feeling of helping the song climax rather than just wanking. The tempo drops to a more morbid mood opening "Frozen Illusion". It feels like slow death metal rather than doom, there is even a wink to Celtic Frost thrown in. This is one of the band's rawest and heaviest moments. The vocals get nastier than I recall Holmes typically getting, but he is in Bloodbath now. So that seems to have influenced this album.

The sung vocals return on "Shrines". This is another melodic death metal moment that sounds like it could have come from the late 90s. That's not a bad time as it was a great time for death metal. I am not sure the growled vocals on the chorus make for the most memorable moment. The album ends with what at first sounds like it will be a  more straight up metal anthem with "Symbolic Virtue" . When the vocals kick in for the verse, it breaks down into a piano part. The chorus is pretty strong and the sung vocals continue to excel, possessing more of a gothic tone. I'll round this one up to a 9.5 as it gets better each time I listen to it.

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