Medusa - En Raga Sül (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


En Raga Sül (2008)

Hawthorne Street

It's no surprise that I'm a sucker for hardcore bands that steal their riffs and rhythms from early metal. It's a trend that's continued to build strength over the past six years, and most recently it's evident that newer labels like Seventh Rule, Blackmarket Activities and Hawthorne Street are thriving with groups who fit that description while Prosthetic and Level Plane and Relapse have been toying with the genre-straddling for years.

So it doesn't come as much of a surprise when three members of the experimental, grindish group Racebannon decide to start a new side project that the music would be full of heavier riffs, less thrash and more groove. When the day's over, we all want a little Sabbath, Maiden and Priest in our ears.

By all counts, the album should be derivative and tired. But the beauty of this genre-less genre is that the bands aren't necessarily defined sonically. Are they hardcore bands playing in a metal scene? Metal bands playing in a hardcore scene? Sure, there are only so many combinations of riffs to play in the world, but there are millions of ways to play them.

Medusa, then, takes their idea of a heavy metal riff, and then just pounds the shit out of it for two minutes straight in a repetitive, thundering way. And I've got to admit, it's pretty awesome. These short bursts of songs are what keeps the album fresh and listenable. Head nods to the Misfits like "Snakebite" change the pace and tone, while "Body Count" builds over a thundering two chord riff with spoken shouting instead of the standard screech. The album is best summed up, however, through the opener "Rain Un Thunder." The pounding riffs, death scream vocals and non-stop pace convey the message well enough.