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I had never heard of Middian before when I saw that our radio station had received a promo copy. I was surprised to see that they were listed on this site, being that they were on Metal Blade records, a label that normally has generic metalcore bands. Needless to say that expectations were pretty low.
Yet, these expectations that were formed on a fairly accurate stereotype of Metal Blade proved to be incorrect. Instead of typical four minute songs filled with boring riffs, predictable breakdowns, awful yelling, and a lack of solos, I was greeted with a crushing riff and singing/yelling that was quite unusual, to say the least. When I saw that the CD only had six tracks, I figured this was an EP; on the contrary, the shortest song is six minutes while the longest is over fourteen minutes!
The riffs are doom with a strong stoner metal influence, while bits of songs that sound like acid rock pop up from time to time as well. And while the riffs aren't anything innovative, they are effective. Fans of Sleep will definitely find enjoyment with these songs, especially "Age Eternal," although nothing really measures up to the best that Sleep put out. The rhythm guitars also suggest a slight My Dying Bride influence in the minor-key chords. The solos are so subtle that I barely even noticed that they were being played the first few times. They're nothing flashy, but they fit the music perfectly.
The lyrics are few and far between and are seperated by long instrumental passages. They are pretty ambiguous for the most part, but fit the atmosphere that the music is trying to create. The singing, as mentioned before, is quite unusual. At times theres clean singing, mixed with occassional higher-pitched growls/yells, and even some higher pitched singing that almost sounds like it is being done by a female vocalist.
The main flaw of this album is that there is an almost Opeth-ian inconsistency between the riffs. None of them are bad, but the transitions between them don't seem to fit too well occasionally, kind of like Opeth's "Orchid", although the similarities between the two bands ends there. There are also no songs that would qualify as "great".
That being said, this debut from an unknown band is surprisingly solid. The riffs are really strong throughout and there are some great parts that are fun to headbang to ("The Celebrant"). This merits several listens for fans of bands like Sleep, Trouble, The Sword, and even Australian band Alchemist. A unique release from a label that seems to embrace mainly bands that all sound the same.