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Phavian - Meridian I CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.22 | 7 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
3 stars The color spectrum seems a bit dim today

Phavian is a relatively new progressive metal band who despite having already released a studio album seem to be relatively unknown in the scene. The band's style owes more to the sounds of Opeth, Riverside, and Devin Townsend than more typical prog metal giants like Dream Theater and Symphony X, which already gives the band points in the creative department. Combining more experimental forms of the genre with a more laid back attitude towards musicianship, technicality, and compositions, the band makes a unique form of progressive metal that shines nicely on their second studio album, Meridian I, the first part of a planner four-part concept album. Although the album is not perfect, it is a very good representation of the band's style and what is to come on the following three albums.

Sadly, in general, my list of gripes seems to outnumber my list of likes for this album. While the band has been successful in creating a well-collected album for a good listen, there are a few things that sit well with me. In the overall scheme of things, I feel like much of the compositions need development. Most notably, the opener, "Slate," seems to be solely comprised of underdeveloped riffs and awkward timings. While much of the album contains much better music, this opening track really brings down an album that had a lot of potential. Another downside to the album was the mix, which often seemed to bring the quality of the music down by a slight amount. I often found the guitars taking the back seat in the mix and I think a bit more balance in mixing might make the songs shine more. While having the guitars not overpower the other tracks is of course important, I feel that on this album the guitars begin to disappear at some points.

Positively, the album still retains itself as the front for this band's creative output. The dynamic of female vocals adds a wonderful and unusual flair that gives the album nice character. Away from the less-than-admirable opener, the remaining five songs on the 37- minute album hold their own as great progressive metal tracks. Songs like "Stil de Grain" and "Feldgrau" are especially memorable in their creative voicing and nicely compiled composition. While the songs are not overly complex, they display a consistent quality that is admirable.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about this album. There are two spectrums that appear on this album: the more amateur and underdeveloped compositions and the creative and memorable compositions. While it would be nice for the latter to be more prevalent than the former, the two seem to rather strike a delicate balance. While this is not a bad thing, it leads the album to the sector of more mediocre music than outstanding. Overall the album is a very good representation of the band's spirit, but I would enjoy hearing more compositional development and in some places some more carefully mixed tracks on the next albums. Still, however, I look forward to where the band will go next musically on the next three parts to this epic saga. 3 stars.

Andy Webb | 3/5 |


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