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Medusa – Rise From the Ashes

Rise From the Ashes
by Harry Green at 18 September 2017, 2:56 PM

Chicago, USA-based MEDUSA were formed in 1973, but their first full-length “First Step Beyond” was only released in 2013. Their latest effort “Rising From The Ashes” was released August this year. Medusa describe themselves as proto-metal, which suits fairly well. In terms of production and riffs the album comes off as very DEEP PURPLE, especially with the prominence of the organ. The doom stylings are, as the band point out, fairly reminiscent of BLACK SABBATH and take center stage as the album progresses. The guitar and organ leads are the standouts here, chill stylish flourishes that perfectly capture the atmosphere the band is attempting to depict with their warm production and wheedling vocals.

The songwriting improves over the course of the album. Opener “Armageddon” does a lot to instantly kill the pace by being criminally repetitive and musically uninteresting for 3-minute song, despite being nearly eight minutes long. The much more texturally varied “Rage On” follows as a welcome relief. “Fall of the House of Usher” is, technically speaking, about as monotonous as “Armageddon” but also is founded upon a much catchier and livelier medieval melody and changes texture fairly often. This proves to be the pattern for the rest of the album; songs that don’t change a whole lot but which become better based on the gradually superior building blocks the band employ. “9 Circles of Hell” is probably the best song, therefore, with a strong melody and a fair amount of variation. The band do call themselves prog, which given this formula I think isn’t quite accurate. The “psychedelic” label works a lot better, especially considering that the band take their time letting the riffs build and try to create an experience by having each song tell a short simple story. As a throwback effort in that genre, “Rise From the Ashes” works fairly well.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8
Memorability: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Armageddon
2. Rage On
3. Fall of the House of Usher
4. Turn To Stone
5. Into the Night
6. 9 Circles of Hell
Randy Bobzien – Vocals, guitar
Gary Brown – lead guitar
Phoenixx Johnson – Bass
Dean McCall - drums
Donna Fields-Brown – Keyboard and Vocals 
Record Label: Svart Records


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Edited 31 March 2023

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