Written by: PP on 26/01/2014 14:32:20

To stand out as a heavy metal band in 2014 is difficult for two reasons. First and foremost it is probably the most saturated genre in the world with literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of bands that sound more or less exactly alike. Secondly, many view the genre as outdated and belonging to the past, which admittedly has a lot to do with the fact that there simply hasn't been that monumental heavy metal release to change people's perceptions in a few decades now. That leaves Esbjerg, Denmark based Meridian with an uphill climb to win awareness with their debut album "Metallurgy", which is practically textbook melodic metal / heavy metal albeit with a more modern soundscape thanks to solid production work from Christian Bonne (mixing) and Jacob Hansen (mastering).

You don't need to look far to find the sort of bands Meridian can best be compared to. Blind Guardian, Evergrey, Aspera, insert your favorite melodic heavy/power metal band here, are all closely related to Meridian's expression. To overcome that problem, Meridian are sensibly thinking big on "Metallurgy". Big, echoing heavy metal pipes by vocalist Lars Mäker. Epic riffing from lead guitarist Martin Jesper Andersen with convincing support from rhythm guitarist Steffan Pedersen. Drums and bass are not out of the ordinary of what you typically hear on heavy metal releases, but nonetheless they contribute to the simply grandiose, magnificent soundscape that Meridian have put together on this album. The songs have been written from a melody-driven perspective, meaning each song has a dramatic chorus melody that in places feels almost theatrical; see "The Machine" or "Narrowmind" as examples where Mäker stretches his pipes to their utmost limits to dominate the entire soundscape with his clean vocal delivery. The guitars also aim to sound huge, but fortunately not unnecessarily so: this isn't just one giant solo all the way through, and instead the focus is on writing great riffs that make heavy metal sound relevant again, while simultaneously allowing Mäker to shine with his vocal work.

To think this is just a debut album makes it all the more an impressive accomplishment. Many bands from especially the Germany/Austria/Switzerland region playing this exact style don't sound this good even on their third or fourth albums, so even though "Metallurgy" is arguably a formulaic album in the melodic metal / heavy metal genres, the formula used is simple and works: great production, great riffs, great vocals = great songs.


Download: The Machine, Narrowmind, Frozen In Time
For the fans of: Aspera, Evergrey, Primal Fear, Blind Guardian
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.12.2013
Mighty Music

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