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Meditation Metal. - 72%

hells_unicorn, May 29th, 2008

The best way to describe what is on this rather obscure release is music that is constantly in the zone. The title actually reveals the effect that a straight through listen of this entire album will have on you. The best comparison to make would be a full listening of Darkthrone’s “Transylvanian Hunger”, minus the fact that it is a minimalist black metal album, while this would fall somewhere along the lines of a progressive, atmospheric groove metal album. Say what you will about what such a label might imply, the bulk of the work on here is definitely catchy and melodic.

There is a good amount of positive things going on here, a lot of it centering around the veterans of the genre who provided their services to an otherwise unknown group of musicians. Chitty Somapala’s vocal work is a solid combination of mellow calmness and the more frequently heard sleazy high range that bears the most resemblance to Steve Grimmett. Some really wild lead work is also provided by Stephan Forte (Adagio) and Patrick Rondat, solidifying the band’s neoclassical French connection. But the best thing that the band has going for them is that really chunky, meaty sounding guitar tone. Even when hearing Oliver Noerdlinger play repetitive 3 note grooves, that guitar’s punch overrides all else.

Unfortunately this album suffers from a very limited playbook songwriting wise. Riffs vary from song to song, but the constancy of the tempo and the same stylistic devices throughout make you think you’re listening to one 40 minute song. They may throw in a bass intro here, or a keyboard fade in there, but ultimately they end up landing on the exact same beat and formula. There aren’t any ballads, there aren’t any speed metal sections, and there isn’t even anything that can be considered upper mid tempo. Everything is just a straight shot down the middle, and although quite catchy, the melodies tend to exhibit the same moderated tendency.

If you’re into power metal of a more atmospheric nature and you can handle something that is mostly groove based, this will probably have a lot of appeal. Picture something resembling early 90s Black Sabbath with a hint of mid 90s Dream Theater, and take out all of the speed metal in the former and the wild change ups and meter switches in the latter. If you like one song on here, it is a safe bet that you’ll like them all, though you might want to refrain from listening to this too many times in a row or you might actually start to achieve nirvana.