Album Review

Medusa – “First Step Beyond” – [Numero Group]

Naysayer   6/18/2013   12-inch, A Library

This is MEDUSA, not to be confused with the other 15 or so groups worldwide named Medusa. This is the first of the three U.S. Medusa’s and Numero Group has made us proud to have them. First: the fold out album cover is BLACK VELVET with blood red and gold metallic colors. There’s a pentagram and devil goat head and mysterious symbols and claws with fire and….. Oh man this is great. It’s gonna be so satanic.
Well, don’t judge a book by it’s cover… or it’s song titles. This is not death metal. It is early 1970’s prog influenced proto metal recorded in a garage in Chicago by some folks who were ahead of there time, or in the wrong place at the right time or something. The first song, “Strangulation”, opens with a great high pitched vocalization and then the soon to be classic opening line “Black spider on the wall of your mind.” It’s almost like they shot their wad in the the first 10 seconds. Can it get better than this? Well it does and in a variety of ways. Long instrumental psych out proggy freak outs. Darker and darker lyrics about becoming a black wizard and how all is bad. Some metal transitions. Varied skill levels of guitar riffs and note picking. I actually enjoy the less skillful messed up fret work. The recording is muddled and raw sounding which adds to the uniqueness of this recording. And actually, between you and me, even though others have compared it to early Hawkwind and Black Sabbath, I think it’s just one big lament over not getting the girl he (the singer) wanted. If you start with the songs on side B, the first is about the great girl who he wanted (in high school probably). She was great but it didn’t happen. Then as songs go along, he gets more and more hurt and distraught. She’s a temptress. The world is more bleak. He can never have her so he turns into a black wizard, and why not. This is now side A which I think is the end of the record. On the last song of side A he talks about how frightening women are and says go ahead and “call me chauvinist, I don’t care.” Well all right. This bit of metalish history is definitely worth numerous plays. All hail the dark wizard.

you heard it 40 times on kfjc! most recently:
Peter Basaraba says

Thanks for the nice review and kind words. Believe it or not none of the songs were even remotely related to each other. Donna Fields wrote Black Wizard and I sang it, but even though it might sound rather bleak we all thought it was a great, driving tune. The cover art stems from a large banner I had once painted and we displayed it at live gigs. Thanks again for the review, we hope that everyone enjoys the music we loved playing so much back then. This Numero release has reunited some great friends and made us very proud. Peter Basaraba, Medusa voxx


gary brown says

Thanks for the great review. Yes some of us are still alive and kickin'. We are also very proud of the music and the label Numero Group who saw something in us and put us on the map musically.
We have been busy writing a follow up to First Step Beyond. Pete has been supplying lyrics while Donna Fields(Brown) and Gary Brown have been putting together the music. Since we live in Colorado and Pete lives back in Chicago this should be an interesting endeavor.
We will also be on 1190 am CU Boulder, June 27, 9:00 MST with Arlo White on Hypnotic Turtle radio
Thanks again for showing interest in First Step Beyond.
Gary Brown - lead guitarist - Medusa


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