Paradise Lost – Medusa

The years pass, the seasons and the climate of the earth change, while the person reflected in the mirror is no longer a restless young man but a man who once would have been defined middle-aged. Paradise Lost, however, remain: they were there at the beginning of the ’90s and they are still there today, also aged and a bit weighed down, but always able to say their piece without appearing obsolete or repetitive. Of course, they too had to overcome long moments of tarnish, the first immediately after the turning point of One Second, suffering a Depeche Mode fascination almost to the point of denaturing themselves completely, and then when, realizing that they could not go further in that direction, they backed off by releasing a handful of albums not bad but not unforgettable. Fortunately, after the warnings constituted by the discreet In Requiem and Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us, in the current decade the masters of Halifax have brought the rudder back on the right track, and to this has not been entirely unrelated the commitment of Gregor Mackintosh with his Vallenfyre that, making him explore again the most extreme side of death doom, has inevitably poured part of this renewed spirit in the new releases of Paradise Lost, flowing into two other good records such as Tragic Idol and The Plague Within. Medusa (fifteenth full length of the band) pushes further towards a sound more hardened and darkened, with the doom that regains its importance in the economy of songwriting, and in this regard the initial Fearless Sky demonstrates this trend in a manifest way sweeping away any wink gothic rock that, of the rest, we will find in the course of the album in the only Blood And Chaos, as catchy as you want even in its capacity as a single, but far for grit and heaviness from the most caressing and inoffensive songs Host / Believe In Nothing era. A series of rocky tracks follows, leaden but always characterized by Mackintosh’s guitar touch, pushing us to affirm that, up to the title track, the album is one of the most inspired among the ones released in the new millennium: Gods Of Ancient, with its suffocating slowdowns, is the worthy sequel to Fearless Sky, while From The Gallows is a ride that brings back stylistically to the glories of Icon. The Longest Winter is the first of the two singles released and, not surprisingly, Nick Holmes uses clean vocals for the first time during the album, but this does not make less effective a song that proves to be the ideal trait d’union between the stylistic extremes of the production by Paradise Lost, while in Medusa painful rhythms prevail again, with the singer alternating the two vocal ranges and Mackintosh who continues to dominate the scene with his innate melodic taste. It was said that this last song marked a sort of qualitative watershed of the work and, in fact, the virulent No Passage For The Dead, the pleasant Blood And Chaos and the robust Until The Grave, although valid, are less brilliant than the rest of the tracklist. Like all new works published by the historical bands, the album has already widely divided both fans and insiders: from my point of view, it’s true that Medusa doesn’t bring Paradise Lost back to the glories of the past, and it’s not excluded that the first two tracks may even be difficult for those who had become accustomed over the years to listening to a more sweetened sound, but the very fact that such a “heavy” and influential band is still able to give good music is a tangible sign of an inspiration still not completely evaporated, contrary to what happens to most of the bands with the same status.

2017 – Nuclear Blast