|Review: Sage Meridien - Whispered Tales|
Label: Stormspell Records
Year released: 2016
Originally released in: 1989
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: October 8, 2016
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Sage Meridien was a Progressive Metal band that was active in the state of Arizona back in the late 80s. They self-released one cassette, Whispered Tales, in 1989 and were never heard from again. Stormspell Records has dusted off this relic, given it a new mastering and dolled it up with lyrics, interviews, etc. and released it on CD. The music the band produced was clearly going for a Queensryche sound with high-pitched vocals and twin guitars but was more progressive in their songwriting, like Fates Warning. There is a shitload of quick time changes, odd beats and unusual chord progressions that might be cool to a student of music theory but make for a disjointed and unpleasant experience for those of us not as technical. To top it off the vocals are absolutely atrocious. The singer screams and wails like a cat being run over by a lawnmower, often veering completely off-key and with blatant disregard for the melody of the song (what melody there is). One minute he's OK and the next he makes a huge vocal slide up an octave or two and sits on a note that shatters glass and eardrums. It sounds like someone was banging on his toes with a ball peen hammer while he was recording his lines. Whispered Tales would be completely worthless if it weren't for the last song, "In the Moonlight, in the Garden." Up until this point, the EP is tortuous but then all of a sudden Sage Meridien remembered what an actual song is supposed to sound like and came up with this Queensryche-esque track. It's not great but it is listenable.
Stormspell calls this "one of the most arcane and criminally neglected private albums from the 80s". The only thing criminal here is re-releasing this mess. Unless you like your music well and truly all over the place, just walk away from Whispered Tales.
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