CD Reviews

Meden Agan - 'Lacrima Dei' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 11, 2015    
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This is a band for lovers of Symphonic Metal to watch out for.

In ancient Greece, the temple of Apollo at Delphi bore the inscription 'Meden Agan' meaning 'Nothing In Excess'. Doing something in moderation means not doing it excessively, I am not sure how that applies exactly to this Greek-based (Athens) band. Formed, strangely, in Paris in 2005 by guitarist Diman Koutsogiannopoulos (although the band only go by their first names on the album, perhaps wisely?) the band started life as a male-fronted Technical/Progressive/Symphonic band and released the album 'Illusions' in late 2007, before eventually recruiting twenty-one year old Soprano Iliana Tsakiraki. They then released the rather ambitious 'Erevos Aenaon' ('Eternal Darkness') in 2011 after a couple of demos saw the light of day with most of the songs making it to the album. What was apparent was the superb musicianship by guitarist Koutsogiannopoulos and keyboardist Tolis Mikroulis in particular. I believe they are the two main song-writers, which would make sense.

Fast forward to now and we have third album 'Lacrima Dei' released with new Operatic Soprano vocalist Maya Kampaki replacing Tsakiraki, who joined Enemy Of Reality. What is immediately obvious is how mature sounding the new compositions sound, the phenomenally talented Mikroulis has woven his keys around the songs and created some intrinsically complicated aural masterpieces. Guitarist Koutsogiannopoulos has expertly reigned in his excesses (note to band name) from the previous album and delivered more structured elements to his playing. The core rhythm section of bassist/growler Aris Nikoleris (also moonlighting in Memorain with a brand new album out incidentally) and drummer Panos Paplomatas provide a very solid backbone and the songs allow a very expressive Kampaki to operate between clean vocals and Operatic almost at will.

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Opening song 'Divine Wrath' is fast, Symphonic and bombastic whilst the title track has a lovely keyboard refrain pitted against a measured beat and riffs with Kampaki singing in a lower register as bassist Nikoleris contributes some clean male vocals. 'Embrace The Sorrow' has interesting instrumentation with Nikoleris' prominent bass line intermingled with an almost Eastern flavour and a beguiling keyboard and drum interplay.

Nikoleris' Death Metal growls are the counterpoint to Kampaki's Operatic Soprano in 'Portal Of Fear' with its Baroque-flavour and incessant double bass drumming with Koutsogiannopoulos providing marching riffs and wistful arpeggios. With the Pop-flavoured keys and Kampaki's clean melodic singing colouring 'Everlasting Pain', the band decided to shoot a video for it.

'Devoid Of Sanity' has Progressive, almost Power Metal, elements alongside the over-the-top Symphonic whilst 'Loss' shows a softer side to Meden Agan with a piano and acoustic ballad that picks up the pace further along.
All in all, this is a band for lovers of Symphonic Metal to watch out for.

Carl Buxton

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