Medusa
Divine Malice EP

Where the hell did this album come from?  If Sweden’s Graveyard met California’s Queens of the Stone Age and made a baby with an attitude problem, its name would be Medusa.  Stoner, doom, sludge, and balls out rock ‘n’ roll collide to compose the aggressively fun 15 minute EP called Divine Malice.

There is so much happening in the short time Divine Malice is attacking you, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is going on.  One minute you’re consumed by noise rock and high pitched howled singing, the next you’re sitting there listening to The Melvins.  You hear the familiar open string repetition of any sludgy doom record, and then psychedelic leads swoop in and carry you away.  Every 2 to 3 minute track seems to transport you to a different era and genre, but underpinning it all is a very clear love for stoner rock.

The briefness of Divine Malice works in the favor of the identity crisis on display.  What would become tiresome on a 55 minute full length is endearing in a 15 minute burst.  Opener “Bleeding Ocean” starts with a building chug from every doom record ever, and you think your know what you’re getting.  Then the levee breaks and the howling floods the city. “So Below” is a page right out of the Am Rep noise rock instruction manual.  The final track on the album “Release Me” reminds me even of Ken Mode if they decided to focus a little less on the heavy.  It’s an odd amalgam, but it all pays off.

Of course because this is an Auris Apothecary release, the whole package is something to behold.  The slipcase is glossy black with the album name in high contrast silver.  The liner notes are on very fine heavy stock black paper, and the 12” is seriously one of the most gorgeous pieces of vinyl I’ve ever seen.  A smoky charcoal haze that is nearly completely transparent, and on the B side a screen print of Medusa that can be seen right through when you hold it up.  Stunning work, and definitely not cheap.

I’m not sure what else can be said about Medusa.  It’s a fun listen, but I doubt I’ll be back to it much.  Its lack of cohesion doesn’t necessarily hinder it as it is hard not to make it all the way through a 15 minute EP, but for all its catchiness, it’s almost superficial.  I enjoy the tasty riffs, but there isn’t enough meat on the bones to sustain me further.  I’ll bet however that if noise rock and stoner jams are your cup of tea, you’ll eat this up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
October 8th, 2013

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