Offering a fine way to get the pulse racing and ultimately escape for a while from a broadly tumultuous year – the Medusa EP showcases superb musicianship, fast riffs, and incredible drum-work from Dallas doom metal act Basilisk.
Featuring a lead vocal born to perform in this way, Medusa blends infectious chord progressions with the sheer passion that is the authentic roar of metal. It kicks into gear with an increasingly immersive, haunting and unafraid Beyonder. First person story-telling keeps a sense of heavy confidence at the forefront, and the structure holds close to a certain consistency – right through to the uniquely toned solo, just before the finish.
Dominant Species follows, dark in mood but more mellow in pace as it initially drips through into the room. Another fresh riff stands tall amidst another fresh drum-line – creative metal working to its natural strengths. Here we get a back-and-forth dynamic, different vocal flows and shorter lines intermittently, a greater sense of anger and angst.
It’s a track that quite literally screams out on behalf of frustration and impending doom, yet interestingly takes a more confident, alternative pathway towards immortality. A far more interesting set-up, aptly indicative of the subject matter and the changing stages. A definite highlight, with a powerful finish that tips its hat to the head-banging dawn of the doom metal genre.
A fresh twist of creativity again starts up a full and fierce soundscape that is Snakebite Understanding. A cinematic arrangment sees contrast well utilised, heavy moments emerge intermittently with those more spacious. Fast-fingered riffs then rain down amidst an increasingly intense vocal line. Lyrically poignant, a provocative and thoughtful track that intrigues all the more so as it progresses and gathers further momentum.
In Shadows follows and is perhaps the heaviest, fullest and most overwhelmingly immersive of the EP. It brings things to a mighty finish, overloading the room with layers and fast-paced vocal outpourings. There’s also a fine use of contrast again though, moments of pause from the weight, stylish flickers of guitar play, and a switch to a mellow stomp that feels perfectly well-suited to an accompanying scene or animated short. A great way to go out.
Medusa serves its purpose well, re-igniting the original strength and expression of doom metal, yet also introducing a band with fresh ideas, poetic framing, and powerful unity as musicians. Furthermore, the production is on point – the music is heavy yet clear, the voice intense but the lyrics audible, the overall mood and style available to be experienced at volume; without sacrificing the quality of the creative realm.
Really well captured, all in all, with an aptly nostalgic yet fresh and impressive animation for the artwork – designed by guitarist Jimmy’s sister, Ashes Casper. Hopefully the live scene returns soon enough for Basilisk to take this project out to the masses – those who’ve likely missed the scream and high energy escapism of metal for far too long.