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Meta - Harbinger CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.00 | 7 ratings

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Mr. Maestro
4 stars Meta's debut release Harbinger is a fine slice of modern crossover prog with solid compositions and just a touch of 70s flavor. The atmosphere on the whole slides back and forth between dreamy and energetic, with strong dynamic contrasts throughout. Meta doesn't do anything radically new or experimental, but I can't really think of any similar bands to compare them to - they've got really quite a unique sound.

"Escape Velocity" opens the album with some pleasant guitar and flute. Very sweet, very somnolent. Then the bass and drums come in - firm and rhythmic, but not too heavy - and the song proper begins. This one's got an eerie chord progression with acoustic strumming and subdued vocals; the overall atmosphere is rather mellow, though there's lots of energy in the rhythm section. The chorus is stronger and more vigorous, with heavier guitar riffage and backing vocals. The outro ends a little abruptly, but nonetheless satisfyingly. A solid opening track.

"Pale Fire" begins with some brooding acoustic picking and atmospheric keyboards which eventually build to an aggressive guitar riff. After that burst of energy we have a long, mellow passage with woven textures of acoustic guitar, layered dreamlike vocals, and more ethereal keyboards. Eventually it returns to the big riff, this time augmented with keys to give it a nice symphonic sound, and the song winds to a gratifying close. It's a nice track, if largely forgettable - none of the melodies really stood out to me.

"Gossamer Wings" is my favorite. The first thing we hear is a delectable organ riff, soon joined by a catchy guitar and lovely drumming in 7/4. This is the most melodic track by far, and very well- structured ? lots of catchy melodies here, great work on the guitar and organ without ever sounding too generic. Oddly, despite the upbeat atmosphere, the lyrics are pretty grim: "Arms intertwined / Your hand is lying cold in mine / Broken in two / There's nothing I can do this time." The song makes me happy anyhow. Great music.

"Hadron" is a wonderful number driven by energetic guitar and organ riffing. Like "Gossamer Wings," it's still pretty catchy, with a very nice vocal melody. This one's got a simple structure and fairly consistent style throughout, though there's a fine guitar solo during the instrumental bridge. The best bit is the ending, where the driving drums and bass slow down to half-tempo accompanied by many overdubbed voices, and everything quiets down to a spacey, synthy finale. A wonderful conclusion.

Negatives? The vocals are good, but always a little subdued. They fit the softer, dreamlike passages better than the rockier sections. Outside of that, my complaints are few and minor. Four stars for a good addition to anyone's prog collection, and here's hoping for a full album soon!

Mr. Maestro | 4/5 |


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