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Phavian: Meridian I

Having released their debut album Kiena a couple of years back, Progressive Metal act Phavian are back with a grand idea possibly too grand. Not content with simply working on one album the band have commenced work on four releases with a common concept storyline, which will see the light of day in quick succession.

Sticking quite closely to the less Metallic aura that Opeth often emit (although there are more riffs on show here than on the recent Opeth release Heritage), Phavian do have the ability on Meridian I to create melancholic atmospheres and brash guitar strewn passages. However in terms of bringing it all together to make a cohesive, imagination capturing album, things fall slightly short. Singer Elizabeth Matson has a strong, passionate delivery that offers a new slant on this style of music, but one that doesn't quite feel as joined to the melodies created by the guitars as it should. Partly that is down to a muddy mix something this style of music really struggles to overcome, and partly because the brightness of her voice is too much for the introspective, dark atmosphere. In general things are allowed to meander much more than they ought to and whether it be a clean guitar motif, or a pure, gentle piano passage, there are a few sections of this album where you find yourself zoning out of the music as in truth not very much is going on. What causes this to be even more frustrating is that there are glimpses and many of them, of deft touch and skill and whether Phavian are gunning for a disturbing, forceful barrage of angst, or a plaintive, emotive wash of hope, this is band capable of hitting the mark, but just not consistently enough to fully convince.

The scope of what Phavian are hoping to achieve with four quick fire albums is to be applauded, however I can't help but wonder if working on so many songs and releases simultaneously hasn't hampered their ability to create one singular, killer album. Meridian I falls some way short of that accolade only time will tell if Meridian II, Inversion and Stretta will suffer from the same affliction.

To showcase all four albums in this series (parts II & III will be released next year with the final chapter coming in early 2013), Phavian have a free EP entitled Foreward available from their website, featuring one track from each release. Follow the link below to find out more.

Track Listing
1. Slate
2. Cobalt and Crimson
3. Stil de Grain
4. Tyrian
5. Feldgrau
6. Obsidian

Added: November 18th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Phavian MySpace
Hits: 2014
Language: english

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