Medusa - First Step Beyond. 1975 USA

Medusa - First Step Beyond. 2013 Numero. 1975 archival recording

I have The AC to thank for tipping me to this title and I bought one immediately afterward. This entry could also be considered for the CDRWL, since there is no CD and it's from the 70s. But since it's archival - hence there is no original release - I'll put it here in the UMR. Now if it's still in this same state 10 years from now, I'll then probably add it to the CDRWL....

Packaging: Nothing short of magnificent. A thick fold-out cover in velveteen, with gold embossed letters. I pulled the second photo from Google Images (thanks goes to the photographer!), as I wanted to illustrate how cool it is - a bit more detail than just a cover scan. It also comes with a nicely textured single sleeve black insert with gold lettering, that includes the lyrics and recording details. Surprisingly there is no detailed history. The Numero Group is a well known label amongst the hipster DJ crowd and they've even received 3 Grammy Award nominations. So it's pretty cool to see them treading in our underground progressive waters. Love to see them release more output like this!

Notes: Low budget, basement launched hard rock meets space rock archival release coming from Chicago. Medusa are a quintet, with dual guitars and a dedicated vocalist. There's not a whole lot in the way of songcraft here, but plenty of good guitar jams, which give off more than a space rock whiff. A few complicated rhythms add a progressive flair. Not hearing the label's own Sabbath/Hawkwind/Amon Duul II references here - though it's not disingenuous to make those comparisons. It does give the listener an idea at least of what to expect. But for deep divers, you'll instantly recognize the sound of the Union Local filled Midwestern beer tavern. Somewhere between Sorcery (Chicago), Pi Corp (Cleveland), and Id (Baltimore) of "Where are We Going?" fame is where you'll spot the sound of Medusa. All these bands no doubt absorbed the same influences as Medusa, and at the same time. And those influences are likely to be Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, et al... Don't miss this title if you still have a turntable!

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