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Phavian - Meridian I - 75%

Orbitball, August 15th, 2013

Mild melodic epiphany of an album featuring just 6 songs with guitar melodies that imitate no other than the band themselves. A well orchestrated aura of progressive metal that never deviates from it's origin of a genre. I'd say that the sound quality is a bit muddled, which reflects my average score review of it and would've been higher be it the bloated sort of mixing/production. Nevertheless, a definite ease of an album, something so much to mellow out to and not expect an annihilation of musical brutality. That's nowhere near this album, it does have a vibe of intensity though and instrumental environments of low key metal focused a much relied amount of mildly epic song blissfulness and gentleness.

The female voice is so mild and clean right alongside guitars that went well in unison of the rest of the recording, which illustrates an influence of many bands in it's genre maybe Opeth with a milder tint to it and tempo changes that were not wholly drastic or intense whatsoever. They seem to dwell on melody, which governs the captivity of progressive mellowness which never seems to catch too much fire with exceptions of course. The overall intensity of the album has to do with heart and passion, without melidiciant mobilizations. Expect much like progressiveness in dynamics, nothing further.

To give this album a superbly high rating would make me pause in a sense that it's follow-up shows better stride to achieve a sound quality that's extremely eloquent in metal intoxication. Meridian I is a good follow up from the actual first release that the band made. Definitely an eloquent step up, the guitars and piano efforts expanded the music to make it more invigorating with a voice that leads the way like no other. Not much lead guitar work here, a modicum of amounts of it on here, but not the forte. I'd say they're more like melodies, not leads. Leads they seemed to shy away from and focus just on the meshing of the overall sound to depict utter tranquility and peace, even though it's still considered metal.

I did like this album quite a bit because it was so solemn and deviantly flowing with soul and not reflecting evil coreness that other bands within this genre are notorious for. Meridian I is so damn tranquil, it's really an amazingly calm and it would be unethical to give it lower than a C rating. It deserves so much more because it's filled with passion in primacy and a gentle touch of reality within the realm of a sea of modality as fixated on the core of moderate metal. You have to hear the essence here because it's one to put such gentle air on it's totality. The female vocalist shines so much in an endearing way that suits the music with such pride.

Captivating, moderate, and a sea of essence that is flowing with such potential in songwriting featuring words that don't penetrate or show any type of horror to them. It's really like listening to a classical artist just in a metal realm. Bar chords featured alongside some moderate amounts of lead guitar that isn't entirely omniscient. A definite worth of listening to by fans that appreciate a metal band to be more oriented to extreme emotion with melody, not an overabundance of heavy guitar work. The guitars, vocals, piano and drums fit neatly in an uncastrated sense of metal immortality. Creative, ambient core of a release.

Phavian - Meridian I - 70%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

As I learned from this band's EP 'Foreword', Phavian are planning on a major four album concept piece. Considering that this band is still fairly new to the scene and listeners' ears, this is quite a bold statement, and even moreso to have released songs on that EP that are supposedly from albums that will tentatively be released a year or more away. The only question now is: can Phavian live up to their promises? 'Meridian I' is the first of this four part series, and the second album altogether to be released by the American group. Playing a style of melodic metal clearly influenced by Opeth, Phavian demonstrated some strong potential on 'Foreword', and the first album in the series continues to impress me.

Phavian's sound is still rough around the edges, but they manage to evade many stereotypes of progressive metal. The darkly melodies sounds of latter-era Katatonia come to mind here, although the female vocals of Elizabeth Matson seem to gear Phavian to an almost symphonic metal sound. As far as the influence of Opeth goes, it comes out most evidently in the guitar work. The climax 'Feldgrau' (which I first heard as a sample on 'Foreword') has a guitar sound and central riff that sounds like it could have been right out of Mikael Akerfeldt's songbook. The guitar solos throughout the album- particularly the one on the fourth track 'Tyrian'- are also very Opeth-like. Many of the riffs are quite beautiful, taking a lot of sound from doom metal. The only thing that seems to be keeping Phavian's melodies from leaping out of the speakers is the fact that the production is a little dull. The songwriting and musicianship is here, but the production and mixing sees the vocal work dominate over all other instruments. 'Meridian I' has many moments that would have blown me away, had I been able to hear them the way I think they would have been best mixed. Fear not, however; Phavian's composition is enough to keep a listener invested throughout.

Elizabeth Matson's vocals are not technically wild like many female metal vocalists' are, but she has a quasi operatic tone to her voice that compliments the music. Although hearing female vocals mixed with Opethian instrumentation is a somewhat recent trend to my ears, there are bands out there doing the same match-up; Effloresce comes to mind. At this point, 'Meridian I' is not enough to see if Phavian stands out from the rest, but it's enough for me to be impressed, and recommend them to any fan of dark metal.