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Tanagra - Meridiem Award winner

by Rachel Montgomery at 30 April 2019, 8:20 PM

TANAGRA's sophomore album is here. From Portland, OR, in 2010, TANAGRA mixes power and progressive metal in a melodic, harmonious way. If you love powerful melodies, but you want more depth to your music, this is for you. My favorite part of this album is the diversity: no song sounds the same one after the other and each display different strengths and aspects the band can being to the table.

The progressive elements on the opening title track are nice. Over eleven minutes, the music remains engaging. Every part in it is clear and in good contrast with each other; the guitars soar over the more complex rhythm, synth and drum section without either one overbearing the other. “Sydria” is more of a classic power metal song and opens with hard guitar sweeps. There’s fewer progressive elements here, and as it’s the shortest track on the album (probably written to be a single), it works to showcase the band’s more powerful abilities. The penultimate track, “Across the Ancient Desert,” also sounds like typical power metal, although it’s slower and has some more progressive elements.

While the third track, “Etheric Alchemy,” is slower, it’s also more of a power metal song, with some nice vocals and guitar melodies in the chorus. The synth and guitar seem to share the instrumental break, and the combination is interesting. “Silent Chamber” opens with some nice acoustics. It quickens into a strong track with some doom elements: a lower vocal register and chanting-sounding backup. Like in “Sydria,” the first solo features sweeps and thrash elements to showcase the power in an otherwise slow and steady song. Contrast that with the second solo, filled with arpeggios and orchestral instrumentation building up throughout.

The thrash elements really come to the forefront with “The Hidden Hand.” The verse slips into a melodic, hypnotic sound and with the steady, powerful chords that stand in for a chorus, this is easily my favorite track on the album. I also love the mixing on the solos; the diversity in the instrumentals keeps the song interesting and engaging throughout the entire ten-minute run. As the closing song, “Witness” isn’t exactly bombastic or stellar. While it’s a solid song, it’s not more powerful than the other songs here, nor is it a memorable close comparatively speaking. I enjoyed the last three minutes: the ethereal singing followed by some powerful guitars, climbing to a beautiful end. Overall, it’s a delightfully diverse album with a good mix of tracks and great stylings throughout. My one complaint is that the final songs can be too drawn out without adding anything new to the album as a whole. However, it’s still worth checking out.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Meridiem
2. Sydria
3. Etheric Alchemy
4. Silent Chamber
5. The Hidden Hand
6. Across the Ancient Desert
7. Witness
Tom Socia - Vocals
Steven Soderberg - Guitars
Erich Ulmer - Bass
Josh Kay - Guitars
Christopher Stewart -Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 20 October 2021

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