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Review: Tanagra - Meridiem

Label: Independent
Year released: 2019
Duration: 1:04:32
Tracks: 7
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: June 11, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

Meridiem is the second album from Portland, Oregon's Tanagra and it is a mix of modern progressive/power metal and classic progressive rock. It is a lengthy album despite only featuring seven songs, so the penchant prog metal bands have for writing long songs is on full display with three songs exceeding 10 minutes. The modern world can be heard in the neoclassical guitar work evident on tracks like "Sydria" or "The Hidden Hand", where on longer cuts, such as "Etheric Alchemy", Tanagra delve a little deeper into the intricacies of composition and bring the keyboards into more prominence. Speaking of the keys, they have a '70s sound, not like Hammond organ you sometimes hear, but more like the synthesizers of Genesis or Alan Parsons Project. They do a decent job of limiting the meandering tendencies some prog bands possess, bringing those longer songs back to the main riff or lead break before you start wondering if you are listening to the same song or if it changed without you noticing. The biggest area of opportunity for Tanagra is with the vocals. Singer Tom Socia is perfectly capable of carrying a tune but has a somewhat unremarkable voice that doesn't really draw you in and when he overdubs his vocals, the resulting buzzing quality sounds like chanting and makes me drowsy. You can really hear what a more forceful and emotive singer could do with this material when Visigoth's Jake Rogers guests on "Across the Ancient Desert" and takes this song to the next level.

While I think Tanagra's appeal outside of prog circles may be limited, Meridiem is a good album with some quality songwriting and performances.

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