I had the pleasure of reviewing Sisyphus by THE MEDEA PROJECT last year. The release was pleasing and yet, at the end of my review I noted that the ”…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”. So where are they now? And what should you expect of this follow up entitled Southern Echoes?
I think the simplest conclusion you could come to about this release is that it’s what happens when you take the black metal out of atmospheric black metal. It is oozing with ambience, dripping with flavour and stuffed with feeling.
We begin with Prelude which subverted my expectations by sounding rather more thoughtful than I was expecting. Usually I’m used to being launched into the experience full throttle and immediately knowing what to expect from the remaining songs but this… this is not that. This is sad, and it’s not sad in the same way as a lot of doom metal. This is emotionally, existentially sad. I think most bands would have this as a moment’s respite halfway through the release but it is becoming apparent that THE MEDEA PROJECT aren’t most bands. Ostensibly the lyrics here are about tearing down altars, but the subtext feels different as if it’s a story about being too prideful and the shame of that.
Babylon manages to keep the basic tonality of the previous track but also converts it into something slightly more standard. We now have the distorted guitars, the heavy bass and a little more venom to the voice but still I’m left wondering what the effect of this song in isolation would be. I’d listen on a separate occasion but something would feel missing now.
Fear feels like it’s channelling UFOMAMMUT all the way through. The slap and the pulse of the bass guitar, not to mention the long drawn out vocal exclamations are very similar here. It feels almost as if this song was inspired in a big way by UFOMAMMUT’s very particular sound.
Kneel to the Cross is where this release takes a bit of a downturn for me. At best it seems ill-fitting and at worst it seems tonally off. It’s an acoustic cover of a AGALLOCH song but feels more like THRAWSUNBLAT. The sad thing is that if THE MEDEA PROJECT covered it in the same style as the rest of the EP, I probably would have really loved it.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Southern Echoes is out now.
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