‘Meridian’ reaches farther
Ambient, thickly textured and connected at the very soul from start to finish, “Meridian” is hypnotic, reverberating with paralyzing bass, far-out electronica and bone chilling reverb. What does that mean you say? Well it means that this Neurosis side project has finally landed the masterpiece years in the making, after scaring away some listeners with previous efforts too bizarre to comprehend.One, two or even three listens will only get you so far, especially if you don’t listen to every minute detail the band has recorded. From spectacular walls of sound to soothing water drops and calming bass lines coupled with melodic triumphs, Tribes of Neurot have truly taken flight here, igniting the kind of subtle beauty and profound affect Neurosis has had on heavy music. The simple acoustic guitar on “Digging Holes”, the final track, is the perfect ending to an album that is anything but acoustic. Unpredictable like that, wholly cathartic, massively beautiful, tragic and awe-inspiring, “Meridian” pushes ambient music farther than it has even been challenged before.
McFadden and company sincerely try to bridge the gap between groovy jazz, rock and the jam, but end up doing too much of one thing and not enough of another. McFadden is more than competent on guitar, but his vocals leave something to be desired – rather uninteresting and rather clichéd. When the band focuses less on writing and more on just playing, the results are far better. “Limitations” and “The Ghost-Maker” show what the band is capable of, culminating with impressive jams, but there is just not enough of this on the album.McFadden may not sound anything like David Byrne, but the trio’s cover of the Talking Heads’ gem “Memories Can’t Wait” is well done. The potential is definitely here for these guys, but they might fair better picking one sound and sticking to it; the essence in this band seems to be in the jam, not the chorus.
OK, so 1992 was a long time ago and a year of many not just good, but groundbreaking albums. One that tends to get missed with all the classics of the era is the ultra-dynamic rock triumph that is “Angel Dust”. Most people tend to remember Faith No More for one song, “Epic” and its video with the flopping fish to boot, but it’s this album that truly has the now defunct band in the prime of its potential. Master of the dramatic vocal, frontman Mike Patton is so in tune with the music, his voice becomes an instrument in itself, paving the way for Patton’s future trend-setting versatility.The album’s opening track “Land of Sunshine” is the prototypical Faith No More song, filled with catchy hooks and thunderous transitions, Patton’s obscure rantings below his vocals, spectacular buildups and split-second time changes. From there it’s all sunshine as “Angel Dust” twists and turns with drama and beauty, making it irresistible at every second. This album could be one of the best albums you’ve never heard.Vail, Colorado