Reviews Unholy Blood of the Medusa


Blood of the Medusa

Unholy first appeared on the hardcore radar in late 2004 when demo recordings from the band surfaced on the Internet. While many may have gotten caught up in the members’ previous bands - Another Victim, Santa Sangre, Godbelow, The Promise, and just about every other Syracuse hardcore band from the past ten years - others let the music do the talking. While I can’t deny my love for the underrated Santa Sangre and Godbelow or the short-lived Another Victim, the music of Unholy is a whole other beast. Three years down the road, and after the release of an EP, Unholy unleash their debut full-length, Blood of the Medusa, via Lambgoat Records.

Unholy begin their first long-player with your standard intro affair, “New Faith.” The song is a building of guitars and drums, which quicken in pace and intensity as the song reaches its end and blasts into “Variola.” The song feels like the first punch in a fight: it stings a bit, but then your adrenaline gets pumping and you’re ready to rumble. The riffs of Jonathan Dennison and Steve Caiello are definitely more metal than what we’ve heard from their previous ventures. Partnered with the rhythm section, the music gives off a definite Disembodied feel. Vocally, Danny Johnson spits venomous words in a style falling somewhere between the Human Furnace and Scott Kelly.

Unholy punish your ears and pummel your body as they make their way through Blood of the Medusa. Certain songs highlight the band members hardcore past - “Rise of Sarnath,” “Touch of Death,” and “Where Angels Fear” - while others opt for a more metal approach - “Blood of the Medusa” and “Oblivion.” Several tracks from the band’s demo and debut EP appear here in re-recorded form. It’s nice to have superior recordings of these cuts, but part of me also wishes there were a tad more new songs on the album. The album also features guest vocals from seasoned hardcore frontmen Karl Buechner (Earth Crisis/Path of Resistance) and Bruce LaPage (100 Demons).

Lyrically, Johnson delves into apocalyptic/Holy Terror territory, which isn’t really surprising. A good portion of the album’s lyrics concentrate on the theme of death and decay. A good example is this excerpt from “Beyond the Shroud:”

Say hello to Hell / Follow the entrails of life as you know it / That said, farewell / And then crawled away to where the flat-line meets the flame / This doomsday will bring a plague that will infect you / This doomsday will bring a plague…”

Interestingly, the album is broken up into three parts, each with its own title: dirt, decay, and demise. Each part is accompanied by short prose and then the lyrics for the corresponding songs for each part. I don’t think this means the album is a concept album by any means, just further insight for the lyrics. Visually, the album has a good look as well: colorful cover, weird art/painting, and a choice quote from a well-known author - H.P. Lovecraft. All of which come together with the original theme of death on the album.

Unholy has delivered one heck of a slab of punishing hardcore/metal goodness. If you’re sick of hearing generic metal or are just bummed out on hardcore’s staleness, then grab yourself a copy of Blood of the Medusa. Your ears will be treated to forty-plus minutes of headbanging goodness.

8.5 / 10Michael
KFAI - Undead
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8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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