No Remorse Records
Release: January 5th, 2018
It has now been almost four years since their release of “Lacrima Dei”, an album I enjoyed from the band with new singer Maya Kampaki, unfortunately their partnership didn't last long as Kampaki departed a year later in order to pursue a different musical path. Though, she has moved, and so has Meden Agan, and now, they are back with newcomer Dimitra Panariti with a new album “Catharsis”.
We first got to hear Dimitra’s voice in Meden Agan in a fan-made live video in 2016 of the band performing “Embrace the Sorrow” from their previous album, and I must say, Dimitra is doing a damn well job! Dimitra may be new in the metal scene, but she already does have a singing career based on her YouTube, mostly covers, even some before she joined Meden Agan. What sets Dimitra different from the band’s previous singers is that she is not a full soprano, don't see this as a downside, she has wide range between low notes and high notes which I find it beneficial for the band to give expand their sound to their songs.
Cleanse their Sins
Whispers in the Dark
Shrine of Wisdom
Veil of Faith
A Curse Unfolding
Weaver of Destiny
Looking more in-depth about Dimitra, she even has musical training under her belt as she attended and graduated from music school, and earned a scholarship to a music academy. When I heard when they were going back into studio to record their third album, I was very excited, eager to hear what the band will bring with their new voice. Initially, the album was planned to be released in early 2017, but it was pushed back to 2018.
Although the band has stated that this is not a concept album, the lyrics are based of a historical murder-mystery 1980 novel “The Name of the Rose” by Italian novelist Umberto Eco, set in a Catholic Church where a strings of murders begins surrounding it, and “questioning the “truth” is seen from theological, philosophical, scholarly, and historical perspective.”
The album opens with the self-titled intro “Catharsis”, the music sounds as if you were in a Catholic Church, just like where the novel takes place, with orchestration that sounds like an impending-doom is coming your way, with heavy organs and a backing choir to fill the atmosphere.
“The Purge” immediately begins with big bombastic energy with guitar riffs and drums, a fast-paced track that gets fans to start headbanging. Dimitra’s vocals in this track shows her ability to expand her voice with soaring abilities between low and high notes. The song suddenly drops midway, bringing in more of a slower tempo, whispering vocals, and a guitar solo with characteristics to what you hear in a power metal band, performed by Dimian Koutsogiannopoulos.
Up next comes a very rhythmic track, “Cleanse their Sins” comes in with a synth solo and a chanting choir. Dimitra brings out operatic vocals and stays in sync with the guitars and keyboards throughout the song, which was well executed. This track has a more symphonic atmosphere compared to the rest of the album with the background choir and keyboards.
“No Escape” begins with toned down riff, followed by synths and stronger guitars. When the vocals came in, the music changed to a ballad-like feel, but with power with the guitars and synths coming together with the high vocals. Hearing this track, it brings me reminiscence of “Everlasting Pain” from their last album, the song follows the same structures, which is no problem for me since I did enjoy both tracks very much.
“Whispers in the Dark”, has a darker atmosphere, with the far eastern influence from the main vocals and the sing-along choir in the background following Dimitra, which sets the overall tone for the song. Transitioning to “Shrine of Wisdom”, it starts off very haunting, guitars and drums starts to become more heavier, and more of the bass is heard. The opening for the next track “Veil of Faith” has a kind of circus-like sound, but the progression of the song contrasts that feeling of theological questioning the lyrics tells.
“Salvation” is their calmer track in the album, lowering the dark and sinister intensity theme, but still delivers a melodic tone. The vocal performance of Dimitra reminds to that of Floor Jansen, in which I'm not at all saying she is trying to copy the singer of Nightwish, but share a similar rock vocal style. “A Curse Unfolding” starts of strong and features more diversity such as whispering and clean vocals from Aris Nikoleris, the band's bassist. The track battles back and forth with the tempo which does get a bit tiresome.
“Lustful Desires” is their heaviest track on the album, with fuller guitar sounds, heavy drums, and synth trills. As often I shouldn't keep bringing up about their last album, this track reminds me of “Divine Wrath”, the opening track to “Lacrima Dei”, to at this point, I figured that the album left some influences to songs of “Catharsis”, to which I still have no complaints about, both of the songs are strong in their respective albums. Finally, “Weaver of Destiny” is where we hear the duo of Aris and Dimitra. A great outro to the album as the lyrics talk about the “7 deadly sins” with sinister sounding hissed phrases. The vocals and instruments goes all out, finishing the album on a strong note.
Meden Agan stays true to their sound, and it is an enjoyable album to listen, and a great start with their new singer.
I give “Catharsis” an 8.5/10. If you enjoyed bands like After Forever, Epica, and ReVamp, this album is for listeners if you like the heavier side of symphonic/gothic metal.
Follow the band online:
Dimitra Panariti - Vocals
Diman Koutsogiannopoulos - Guitars
Tolis Mikroulis - Keys
Aris Nikoleris - Bass & Vocals
Panos Paplomatas - Drums