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Phavian - Meridian I
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Phavian CD Review
Meridian I
Phavian - Meridian I

CD Info
2011
Self-Released
6 Tracks
English Lyrics

 

Well, this is going to be a review, but, it’s going to be a little complicated, so please pay attention, there’s going to be a quiz at the end.

First thing to point out is that we will actually be talking about 2 products, that’s bad enough, but, in fact, the second product is music taken from a total of 4 products , one of which is the principle work being discussed here, the rest coming from material to be released in the as yet undetermined future. Got that? Oh, by the way, that second product is called Foreword, and it has been released. And all these products are related. They have a common thread, and a pretty interesting one at that. I communicated with Patrick Hassani, one of the LA based brothers who actually initiated the concept, and he provided the following observation about the work, "We recorded all 4 albums in one go earlier this year. It took us nearly 3 months just to track everything and we've been mixing and mastering since. Each CD is to be released in 6 month intervals with the first one having just come out on October 31st. Really we just wrote a very long concept and in order to keep costs down for both our fans and ourselves, we decided to do it as a single entity rather than 4 separate ones. It's comprised of 2 smaller concepts. The first makes up Meridian I and Meridian II, the second makes up Inversion and Stretta. No matter how we tried, we would not have been able to fit either on a single CD. So we decided this would satiate everyone's appetite for Phavian for the next couple of years. As promotion for the entire project we compiled 1 song from each of the 4 CDs into the Foreword EP." So, there you have it, we’ll go over some more detail as we move forward, but, be aware, this work must be viewed in context, there’s more to come.

However, the music of Meridian I is the focus here, it’s 6 tracks of various length, and it’s some pretty nice female fronted metal, more or less American in sound, mainly guitar based, with a solid female vocal, and some limited symphonics thrown in for effect. I guess we could classify it as somewhat progressive in nature, it certainly doesn’t necessarily follow the traditional Western European Gothic direction, but it doesn’t necessarily follow the traditional American metal format either, although those guitars can provide some truly interesting metal sounds for your listening enjoyment. So, classification may not be a worthwhile endeavor. But there are some strong points to comment on. According to Patrick, there are duel lead guitars on the work, one a fill in until a full time second axe can be identified. There’s also a guest male vocalist so the four full time members listed don’t really produce all the music here. However, although the music is nicely performed, it’s the writing that most impressed me. You can do wonders in the production room sometimes, but, it helps to have good material to work with up front, and this is some fairly sophisticated writing, especially the vocals, which are performed by the lovely Elizabeth Matson. The band allows that they found her after she completed her studies at a local university, and she certainly fits into the overall style of the music nicely. The voice has a clearly classical tone to it, even if she doesn’t tend to work in a soprano framework. And, it’s this blending of the music with the vocals, with those interesting twists and turns, that is the highlight of the music.

It’s certainly appropriate to take a moment to discuss the theme of this work, after all, it is a story and one that will continue through multiple releases. Again, Patrick explains: "In short, Meridian I is about the rise to power of a revolutionary. It follows a pure-hearted man who dreams of a better world for all of mankind. After years of preaching his philosophy, he eventually becomes the leader of his people. But as luck would have it, a group of rebels plot to overthrow him. In time they succeed, but not before the man disappears. The album ends there, and Meridian II will pick up from where it left off." The music begins with the first selection, Slate, which is an instrumental work that features some fairly technical guitar riffs. If you love a couple great axes, this is for you. And, it sets the tone and the feeling for what follows. And that work begins with Cobalt and Crimson, a slightly toned down song that showcases the vocal. It’s a relatively long selection, over 8 minutes, and it completes the baseline for the story:

Swirling memories shift into place,
As the red tears fall down his face.
The scene solidifies in the glorious crimson that he cries-
He cries.

There’s some nice guitar time again and the song moves in some interesting directions, with changes in pace and melody that keep the song truly interesting, both musically and lyrically.

Stil De Grain sees the tempo moved up a notch. Again, the guitars provide a vehicle to deliver the vocals and the vocals continue the story, with a little more emphasis on the instrumental. This is a guitar band, first and foremost. But, when it’s time to tell the story, our vocalist is not one to hold back, and the story continues:

The new vision, revelation:
The heavens will wash the face of all man!
Earth will witness a warm, golden, new sky!
This can lead them to infinity!
Spread the message and time will find fruition.
Restoration awakened-
Quiet all the woes of life!

Tyrian may be the most complete work on this particular CD. It’s certainly the longest continuing on for some 10 minutes. Again, its complex music, lots of shifts in octave, lots of switching in pace, the vocalist moves around like a gymnast. And the lyrics become more complex as the story moves in more sinister directions:

When love dies in hopeful eyes
Innocence retreats
While the new, jaded ones come to life.
Sorrow is the mortar that bonds us all as one.

Feldgrau is another up-tempo number and one that again showcases the full arsenal. We get a final component of the story, at least as far as it goes, in the final selection, Obsidian.

Now, about that second work, it’s called Foreword, and can be downloaded for free here. Again, it provides material from all 4 works, including Feldgrau from Meridian I as well as works from the soon to be released CDs including Watersong , Green Iris, and Acolyte.

All in all, a pretty ambitious project, but clearly exhibiting the talent to pull it off. Look forward to a lot of good music from this effort, both from the current product and from those to come.

Oh, and I think we’ll skip the quiz. I’ll just assume you got it all the first time.

9 / 10

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