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Phavian - Meridian I CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.22 | 7 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I actually bought this band's first album "Kiena" some time ago, listened to it a few times and then pretty much forgot about it. When I happened to see that they had released a new album, I basically decided to buy it on a whim.

The album's opener, "Slate," sets a high bar for the rest of the album. It's an instrumental track, with a nice up-tempo feel that actually reminds me a little bit of a darker, harder edged Scale the Summit. It's a great opener and a great track overall.

Sadly, this excellence is not, in my opinion, continued. "Cobalt and Crimson" is an 8-minute track, and while a lot of longer songs don't have enough ideas to fill their duration, "Cobalt and Crimson" actually has too many. Motifs begin and end rapidly, with little development and not enough flow between them. We also get our first taste of the vocals here, which I personally find to be one of the weaknesses of the band. The female vocalist here has an excellent voice, but I simply don't find Phavian's vocal melodies very interesting. Worst of all is the ending. Normally I think fade-outs are a fine way to end a song, but due to the rapid jumping about in this song it sort of just seems like the song gives up and goes away with no real sense of resolution.

Happily, "Stil de Grain" sets the album again on an upwards trend. It's a much more post- metal sounding song, and because of that the slightly aimless vocal melodies work here. It's nothing terribly special but it's an enjoyable song.

The other long song of the album, "Tyrian" thankfully does not fall into the same problems as "Cobalt and Crimson." There are a lot of themes thrown in again, but they're given more room to develop and the flow between each of them is much, much better. Add to that a pretty solid guitar solo towards the end of the track and you've got proof that Phavian can certainly hold their own on longer tracks. Just makes me wish that "Cobalt and Crimson" had been a little better put-together.

"Feldgrau" is another strange one. It begins with another post-metal sounding section, similar to "Stil de Grain," but after a few minutes abruptly changes into a more uptempo part which closes out the song. Both of these parts are good, but they feel like different songs and I kind of wish they had been arranged so and developed a little more instead of combined in the way that they are.

"Obsidian" closes out the album with a nice little piano post-lude. It's a pretty track, but it seems a little out of place and I think it would have served its purpose much better had the rest of the album been more cohesive.

On the whole, I have the same problems with this album that I had with Kiena: I simply don't find it very interesting. The style just seems a little bit "thin," to me, as I find this kind of dark, slightly avant-sounding prog metal to be rather emotionless and cold, and without really spectacular songwriting a lack of emotion just makes these songs seem uninteresting. Add to this the (in my opinion) poor vocal melodies and even the short 37 minute duration feels a little long. Certainly not bad from a musical standpoint, and "Stil de Grain" and "Tyrian" are quite good, but I feel like this band still has a ways to go.


VanVanVan | 3/5 |


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