Review: Meridian – The 4th Dimension
From The Vaults (September 23rd, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Meridian has returned with their fourth album, the aptly titled ‘The 4th Dimension‘. Before I even begin to write a review for a band I am unfamiliar with, I will put on a great set of headphones, play the album one time straight through, and maybe jot some notes down along the way.
Being unfamiliar with their past material and listening all the way through, the one word I would use to describe their sound is…diverse. This is a metal band for sure, but they are not afraid to include songs and elements that are staples of the AOR/hard rock sound. As the album progressed, I noted every song had something new to offer and I did not know what to expect next. This made for an enthralling experience.
Opening track ‘Warning Shots’ is an attention grabber as it features some intricate drumming from Klaus Agerbo. His rhythm on this track is the kind you would expect to find in a jazz/fusion or progressive band, but hearing it played with the rest of the band laying down a metal groove makes for a unique sound. A nice surprise and great way to start the album.
After a track like that, it’s unexpected to hear a song that takes small parts from Bon Jovi songs ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’ and ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’ to create an amalgamated melody. ‘Life is Today’ does not sound like those Bon Jovi tracks, but guitarists Martin J. Andersen and Marco Angioni were clearly inspired by Mr. Sambora’s note playing and crafted a catchy, stadium rocker that’s sure to be a favorite live track.
There, they jump right back into metal with ‘Stay’, an intense track that has elements of inspiration from bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica. Then, just when you think you have this band figured out, they break out their most AOR/melodic rock anthem on the record. ‘Follow Your Heart’ is pure hair metal bliss and it’s at this point in the album that I stopped trying to pigeonhole them and just went along for the ride.
Other great tracks include the blues-infused via Whitesnake sing-along ‘Say That You Want Me’, the groove-laden, drenched in atmospheric dread title track, and my favorite song ‘Remove Your Crown’. Placed in the latter half of the album, it’s exactly the type of song I wanted to hear at this point in the album. The hardest hitter of the bunch, its take no prisoners approach both lyrically and musically kicks so much ass I had to immediately place it on my workout playlist and played it on repeat several times while driving and in the gym.
Once again I have to ask myself a question that I have asked in other reviews, why haven’t I heard this band before? I like to think I am up to date with the modern rock/metal European scene but clearly, I am not. If, like me, you are not familiar with this band, I strongly suggest you check out all of the songs on this release. Do not think you know this band with one or two tracks. You do not. There are so many artists that have inspired Meridian and they make an incredible effort to showcase all these inspirations in this album. Where else can you hear a band that can remind you of Bon Jovi on one song, Yngwie Malmsteen on another, and then Metallica?
A band that comes to mind is Pretty Maids. If you are familiar with that band, they have a way of jumping back and forth between melodic rock and heavy metal effortlessly. This band does just that but adds in even more complexities and sub-genre inspirations. This will surely make my best of list for this year and I suspect others will feel the same.