Sunday, January 04, 2009

Medusa - En Raga Sül (Hawthorne Street, 2008)

A big dumb riff. Heavy distortion. Messy drum bashing. Chum bucket full of attitude. What more do you need? Another big riff? A guy screaming through like five layers of feedback? Sure, you got it. These Medusa dudes, they aim to please. That means not wasting your time with songs that are more than two and a half minutes long. In case you hadn't noticed, the economy sucks -- screw those ultra-brutal tech-death bands and their conspicuous note consumption, we gotta conserve our chords and riffs these days. And that's why Medusa never play four of them when three will do. And they will always do. 

Medusa hail from Bloomington, Indiana, same as scrappy noise-metal act Racebannon and quirky indie rockers Rapider Than Horsepower, with whom Medusa share the lion's share of their members. Bloomington's apparently famous for its rock quarries. Consider Medusa your resident rock 'n roll quarrymen. The title track slices off repetitive slabs of Melvins granite. "Transform" ends with a slithery pummel that may as well be a stone-cutter's work song (Sing it with me: "With the moon I move / And the veil is lifting / And I'm shifting / Shift!"). No digging required to find the punk rock pissiness that courses through "Mediatrix" and "Throne of God." Each riff is a dirt-encrusted, cracked diamond, rammed down our throats like a gimp's ballgag. Vocalist Scott VanBuren froths and screams in glee as it goes down.

There's plenty of dissonant noise-rock abstraction on En Raga Sül, reminiscent of the nastier moments of Drive Like Jehu (whose "Step on Chameleon" gets copped on "Wicked Father"), but mostly this album is felt on the level of bones and muscles. Medusa make raw, physical music, fit for dancing and involuntary auto-face-punching. Straight from the pit mine to the mosh pit. 

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