Track By Tracks: Tanagra - Meridiem (2019)


Meridiem is very near to our hearts. This album represents a monumental milestone and turning point for us as creators of music, an ending and a beginning for all involved. Stylistically, the music is influenced by progressive rock, power metal, atmospheric black metal, and classical music to name a few, and all these diverse sounds and textures have come together in a way that we found very satisfying. 

1. Meridiem: 

The album’s sprawling title track initially grew from a familiar seed: a chord progression from our older song “10:04 PM”, played in reverse! It was written almost entirely in the rehearsal room, and is one of our most collaborative compositions ever. As the song took shape, we soon saw that it was destined to be a centerpiece-- it felt profound. The song was really brought to the next level by beautiful orchestral arrangements and a delicate piano solo. Lyrically and thematically, “Meridiem” establishes the album’s theme of transition; it’s all about grappling with a decision that will bring about major changes in one’s life. We’re really pleased with the mood and flow of the song, and feel that it captures the quintessence of Tanagra. 

2. Sydria: 

An energetic four-minute banger with great sing-along potential! If you’ve ever wondered what Euro power metal would sound like in 5/4 with baritone lead vocals, this must be it. Lyrically, this song ties into “The Undying Light” and “Tyranny of Time” from our first album, following Steven’s story about a race of beings struggling to recall a lost homeworld to which they can never return. This song features both Tom and Steven on lead vocals throughout, with Erich joining in on the choruses! Some simple Hammond organ pads and sparkling synth arpeggios round out the arrangement, reinforcing the song’s energy.  

3. Etheric Alchemy:

A regular fixture on our live set lists since it was written, this song has a great mixture of heavy metal and Tanagra’s signature brand of “somber yet grand” symphonic mid-tempo prog. The juxtaposition of ethereal textures and rocking metal riffs reinforce lyrics inspired by Tom Siddell’s excellent ongoing graphic novel/webcomic, Gunnerkrigg Court. There are some really cool guitar riffs and vocal harmonies in here, too. 

4. Silent Chamber: 

Gritty, dark, and haunted by Mellotron and viola, this song somehow managed to be one of our heaviest and one of our most progressive rock-influenced at the same time. Its genesis was odd-- it was written mainly outside the rehearsal room, and existed in its initial “rhythm guitars, bass, and drums” form for a very long time before evolving radically quite late in the process. Lyrically, the song deals with denial and unwillingness to accept change. 

5. The Hidden Hand: 

This is the oldest song on the album, written in 2014 when our first album was still being mixed! In some ways, “The Hidden Hand” feels like it bridges the musical styles of the two albums: our earlier power metal leanings are probably more apparent here than anywhere else on Meridiem, but this song is also more experimental than anything on None of This is Real. It’s prog-power to the bone-- driving riffs, soaring leads, odd-meter craziness, electric organs and Mellotrons, drum soloing, and mind-bending lyrics inspired by haunting dreams.  
6. Across the Ancient Desert:

Born predominantly from Chris’s love of Cascadian black metal, Steven Erikson’s Malazan series, and the epic black metal band Caladan Brood, this song is the archetype of a musical style we have affectionately dubbed “Cascadian Power Metal”. Theatrical baritone vocals atop an unflinchingly intense foundation of blasting riffs and thunderous brass give this song a unique and cinematic sound. This one features not only lead and backing vocals by Tom, Steven, and Erich in ever-shifting configurations, but a special guest appearance by Jake Rogers of Visigoth as well! The lyrics were inspired by events in the Malazan novel Deadhouse Gates. 

7. Witness: 

From essential heavy-metal riffing to Nordic-sounding folk metal passages à la Borknagar to moody Mellotron-drenched prog rock to blow-you-back-in-your-chair orchestral bombast, the album’s fourteen-minute closer is quite a journey. Putting it all together was a long and difficult undertaking, but “Witness” ultimately ended up featuring some of the band’s most towering moments. Lyrically, the song draws from deep wells throughout Meridiem and beyond, reaching back through the story of Tanagra and coming together in a heartfelt expression of nostalgia, grief, regret, and hope for the future.

Listen the album here: https://tanagraband.bandcamp.com/album/meridiem

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