Meden Agan – Erevos Aenaon
I know that movie reviewers are often jaded, and I assume the same eventually happens to CD reviewers and particularly those who listen to and review a lot of symphonic power metal – or music that claims to be symphonic power metal. In my mind, the cut between mediocrity and excellent stuff is made fairly soon in the listening process, and if something is less than mediocre, I won’t bother pulling any punches with it – I’ll pan it to pieces. Every so often, though, something so powerful and almost life-changing comes into my possession and obsesses me to the point where the “excellent stuff” category seems almost too banal for it.
Such is the case with Meden Agan, a Greek symphonic power metal band that actually warrants the label. Formed in Paris in 2005 by guitarist Diman Koutsogiannopoulos (I’ll just call him Diman), the band released Erevos Aenaon in September after releasing a demo in 2006, a CD called Illusions in 2007, and an EP called Nemesis in 2010. Though they started off with a male lead, eventually Iliana Tsakiraki, a classical soprano, took over the vox helm, backed up on a couple of songs by some growls done by bassist Aris Nikoleris.
I could tell when I first put this album on to play that it was going to be special and that I would love it. And then came Iliana’s vocals, and I was blown away. The opening track, “Black Sky” sets the listener up for what she can expect from Erevos Aenaon: powerful, bombastic, heavy, melodic, and all around hauntingly fabulous metal, with exceptional keyboard and guitar work and a mature, unique sound. Melancholy and sorrowful, but also uplifting, Meden Agan’s music leaves such a strong impression you’ll be playing this CD on repeat all day like I have been.
There are too many strong elements to list. Obviously, there are Iliana’s vocals, which are nothing short of brilliant. Her soprano soars above the guitar riffs and keyboard melodies with a power and grace not every symphonic power metal band can boast about. And she’s not even 22 yet! The vocal harmonies are notably lovely, too. (Incidentally, Iliana also guests on fellow Greeks’, Septic Flesh, newest CD, The Great Mass, produced by, um, Peter Tägtgren.) But this band isn’t a one trick pony; the keyboards, performed by Tolis Mikroulis, are outstanding, and more than once take on Diman’s guitars in epic battles worthy of the Greek gods.
To me, the star track on the album is “Dissolve Into Grey” which exemplifies the band’s ear for those vocal harmonies I mentioned and it’s haunting songwriting. Man, I don’t even know what the song is about (I didn’t get a lyrics sheet with my promo material) and I’ve been playing it over and over again because I simply cannot get enough. The original song is 4:28, but lucky us, there is an extended version of the song on the album, so you can bliss out with it longer, that clocks in at 6:33! On the more ballady side of things, “Universe Unseen” … ?
I can’t think of anything I dislike about this album. This band is the whole package and I hope they go far.
In case you’re wondering, Meden Agan means “nothing in excess” in ancient Greek and Erevos Aenaon means “eternal darkness.”
Allyson’s Rating: 5 out of 5
Update: Meden Agan opened for Tarja in Thessaloniki January 28th!