Originally from South Africa and now Nottingham based doom metallers THE MEDEA PROJECT have released their first album Sisyphus. Named after the Greek mythological figure who was doomed to perform an endless task but this release curiously does not feel like an uphill struggle to listen to. The band is comprised of who are comprised of Brett Minnie (Guitars/Vocals) and Pauline Silver (Drums)
They consider themselves to be for fans of TYPE O NEGATIVE and WOODS OF YPRES. I can certainly hear the influence in this release but honestly, I’d throw a little CATHEDRAL in there as well. It’s not as groovy in its instrumentation but the vocals are pretty similar in my opinion so if you like Lee Dorrian’s less aggressive moments you will probably get a kick out of this.
The album features some tracks that were previously released on their self-titled EP. Babylon and G.E.O.F.F. have significant changes to the original release but Gloam appears to be largely untouched. Noticeable differences include far more bass in the album versions and G.E.O.F.F. is significantly slower in the album. I really like the changes they have made and they have helped to make the album a more refined product. I think if they were left untouched it would be not as pleasing as it is now.
For me the stand out track is To Know Us Is To Fear Us, a track that’s almost reminiscent (bizarrely) of electronic duo CRYSTAL CASTLES song Alice Practice in its vocal style towards the end. It’s not overt screaming or growling but definitely sounds pained and coupled with a bassline that can only be described as filthy, continuing along a forceful, trundling march.
Fear opens softly before returning to crust laden bombastic instrumentation but compliments this with softer vocals, which are really solid. If they ever get around to it, they should definitely consider doing a selection of acoustic tracks. I’d buy it. Honestly, to me it shows the musicianship that went into making this. At some point a conscious decision was made to not go all out and be as brutal as possible, but instead to have those moments of rest to allow the music to breathe and come into its own.
The final track on the album is entitled The Desert Song, an almost mirage-like track in its reprieve from the harshness of the preceding songs. At least, it starts that way. It counterbalances the introductory track Prelude rather well, employing softer melodic elements but coupling them with a tasteful dosage of grit from the guitars.
This album isn’t stereotypical doom metal and I think that works in its favour. It doesn’t seem afraid to step out of the bounds of the usual tropes of the genre, and I can totally get behind that. I would very much like to see this band head towards a more atmospheric sound in the future potentially something more akin to AHAB but still retaining the groovy riffs.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Sisyphus is out now.
Find THE MEDEA PROJECT on Facebook.