For the first time, a very general theoretical method is proposed to interpret the full electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra at multiple temperatures and frequencies in the important case of S-state metal ions complexed in liquid solution. This method is illustrated by a careful analysis of the measured spectra of two Gd3+ (S = 7/2) complexes. It is shown that the electronic relaxation mechanisms at the origin of the EPR line shape arise from the combined effects of the modulation of the static crystal field by the random Brownian rotation of the complex and of the transient zero-field splitting. A detailed study of the static crystal field mechanism shows that, contrarily to the usual global models involving only second-order terms, the fourth and sixth order terms can play a non-negligible role. The obtained parameters are well interpreted in the framework of the physics of the various underlying relaxation processes. A better understanding of these mechanisms is highly valuable since they partly control the efficiency of paramagnetic metal ions in contrast agents for medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).