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Myridian : Under the Fading Light



The Melbourne Metal scene is something I have quite some fondness for. The ungodfathers of insane Aussie filth Bestial Warlust, and the absolutely legendary purveyors of grinding Doom, diSEMBOWELMENT, still loom, geist-like, over a rabidly productive scene spawning forth excellent extreme Metal acts like Cemetery Urn, Belligerent Intent, Inverloch (natch) and Urgrund. What might some melodic Doom Death from this cool town be like? I've never visited but I assume it is cool. It is, I've heard, quite windy at least.

There's a lovely bit of piano to open. Never fails to prep for anything, Doom, Death, Black, or just more piano, if played well. This proggy US Death Metal band Kitezh closed their recent debut with seven minutes of nothing more than piano and it was the best track on there by miles. Anyway. This piano is then joined by a swirl of guitar leads before the album opens proper. Myridian are evidently classy cunts but what else may we say of them I wonder. Well the piano continues; it rarely lets up. It remains as simple as it is in those opening moments but it is never tiresome and, in its restrained but tasteful simplicity, adds to the album rather than distracting from the Metallic instrumentation.

What they do they do sparely, but well, languid guitar leads, repeating leitmotifs and a boiled sprawl of harsh vocals. Most of the lengthy songs indulge in mid-paced beats, mournful moods and traveling rhythms, that punchy piano driving along with wandering guitar leads to great effect in songs like 'Solitude's Embrace'. One flaw though is the leveling - the guitars really are too quiet, and although in some of the more towering moments a riff might burst forward, the piano and vocals are usually dominant. The melodies that have been written for this are not astoundingly original, but the appropriation of that classic, whining sound of the Peaceville Three's extended careers (Alternative 4 gets a nod here and there) and the slow-burning breaks certainly don't deserve to be mired down into the mix the way they are. The guitar solo in the title track might... mean something if it were turned right up. Could have been a huge moment right thar. Ah well.

A lot of double bass is used when the band want to get the pace up a bit, and in general this guy Scott Brierley is doing the Doom drummer thing well. Simple but effective patterns, plenty of power lent to proceedings through well-timed transitions - although some more elaborate or showy fills might have worked wonders for the album's propulsion and epic atmosphere. Minor gripe, this is decent, workmanlike Doom drumming along the lines of a calmer Tuomas Saukkonen or Kai Hahto in Swallow the Sun.

The vocals are pretty black in a lot of places which makes for a good contrast against all that piano and heavy drumming. Elsewhere a decent growl is employed. Sounds like Ronny Thorsen at points. I would usually expect some clean vocals, for better or for worse, with material like this these days. Its ubiquitous. But there again the band are very '90s in their sensibilities. Only occasionally do the clean vocals turn up, and when they do I think of Lacrimas Profundere, Beseech, The 69 Eyes, even Danzig, as instead of the more power(ish) Metal style vocals that "modern" melodic Doom often comes a cropper of I get a pretty resonant and rich timbre that only enhances Myridian's morosely vast soundscapes.

Between its luscious harmonized guitars, booming Doom riffs, the aforementioned cool clean vox and its carefully structured descents in and out of misery and tension, I'd say 'Veil of Sorrow' is pretty much a highlight here. When some aggression is finally unleashed in the wrathful mid-section of 'No Dawn', it is welcome though, and makes me think the album could do with a bit more such spite to help those great sweeping gestures of its melancholic whole. The lengthy title track is a good example of the sort of compositional skill these boys are working with; the pacing and structuring maxes out the dire, mountainous journey of downcast, melodic ebullience they set out to take yon listener on. I would say though that the closer 'Ethereal Storm' could have been left off to make for a tighter album - and it's not just too-much-of-a-good-thing, for some reason the band have left one of the weaker and longer tracks to the end, which leaves a bit of a taste in the mouth.

At first hasteful listen, these newcomers Myridian might likely be lumped in as a gothy version of Isole or a lighter Swallow the Sun, but I can get more specific. I used to listen to a lot of gothy Doom. I know this shit. Myridian in fact have something more in common with early Lacrimas Profundere, if it was played with better cohesion and instrumental flair, or the first record by Finland's Hanging Garden. There's your context. Anyway, had these guys been Norwegian teens doing this in the '90s they would probably have been popular (and by now perhaps ended up turning into an electro-pop act?); as it is I can confidently tip them to lovers of '90s gothic Doom and the various other epic Doom acts I've mentioned here. I will be keeping an ear open for their future exploits; if they can keep doing this with a heavier guitar tone, then they're onto something.


Go to The Heavy Metal Saloon for more of this balding blogger's reviews and ranting.


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Reviewer's rating: Unrated

Information

Tracklist :
1. Passage
2. To the Dying Sun
3. Veil of Sorrow
4. No Dawn
5. Solitude's Embrace
6. Under the Fading Light
7. Starless
8. Ethereal Storm

Duration : Approx. 70 minutes

Visit the Myridian bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-02-23 by Jon Cheetham
Lunaris Art
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