At the end of last autumn Hungarian symphonic band Meteora has released their third full-length album …Of Shadows and Colours via local label H-Music (Hangfelvételkiadó Kft.). Combining traditional metal music with symphonic and operatic elements, Meteora has created an integral and multi-layered musical journey with professional precision and poignant intensity.
Meteora was formed in 2010 in Budapest, uniting together keenly passionate musicians. But only seven years later they were mature enough to offer their debut album Our Paradise; and encouraged by the praise of public opinion, three years later their second album Tragedy of Delusion was released. And now, more confident and vehement than ever, …Of Shadows and Colours continues to develop their very visions of symphonic metal. Not the most popular genre right now, many big sympho names have chosen to soften their sound, conquering alternative and mainstream scene, leaving their symphonic roots in the background. But still, here and there a new band pops up, devoted to the glorious spirit of epic, dramatic and splendid operatic metal. Yeah, and Meteora is one of those.
Hungary isn’t the largest metal importer in the world, mostly prominent within ethnic music. There was a legendary Tormentor that has shaped the classic form of black metal. There are jaunty Dalriada, moody Sear Bliss, raucous Ektomorf and unsurpassable Thy Catafalque, that’s the very minimum of the names. Meanwhile the classical music also has strong impact on Hungarian cultural heritage, but Meteora isn’t imminently influenced by it, preferring to digest the most clichéd operatic dogmas and transforming them into metallic direction. And that’s why their music sounds familiar and catchy, and even during the longest compositions (like the last self-titled “…Of Shadows and Colours”) doesn’t emanate a slightest hint of boredom. And the point is, these Hungarian sympho admirers still manage to stay true to their own conceptual ideas, cherishing their individuality without a blatant need to imitate some of their sources of inspiration. The symphonic metal scene is so blasé at this moment, and so many high-quality copycats try to draw attention to their music. Meteora has found the way to stay relevant within the genre, but also treasuring their own personality.
The level of epicness and solemnity varies from drastic and overwhelming to muffled and unobtrusive, that also keeps pace with constant mood changes. From dramatic theatricality to humble tranquility, …Of Shadows and Colours sometimes falls through the ice of darkness and sometimes flies into the firmament of light, but not in the manner of good vs. evil. There are very predictable parts throughout this long album, and there are sophisticated, shrewd and unique ones, making a mix of traditional and modern, and this phenomenon creates this controversy feeling, like you absolutely know what this album will bring, but the aftertaste is rather pleasant, oh yeah, it’s still possible to create symphonic metal without old school’s foul odor.
The LP begins with a solemn intro “Downfall” that smoothly flows into a classical Meteora track “Wings of Rebellion”, generally defining the course of the album – fast power metal rhythms, permanent symphonic background, catchy melodies and powerful vocal parts. These power/heavy metal structures aren’t here on a regular basis, often surrendering to more refined and thespian symphonism. Some oriental vibes in “Voices Within” cast away this extra epic grandeur, but little bit jazzy “Immortal” swipes away the never-ending shroud of chiseled drama. And let’s not forget about the cheerful playfulness (not in a flirty way), that is very contagious and full of nonchalant mirth. Power metal’s drill is occasionally mingled with melodic death conception (and even with some screams), and this mdm direction also branches off into folk motives. “Home” is a perfect medieval-inspired ballad during which we can finally forget about metal music. And the last track “…Of Shadows and Colours” emanates the saddest vibrations, but in a modern way and under the protection of epic and melodic wave of ceremonial pomposity. Overall… nothing experimental or utterly out of touch, but still diverse, elaborated and catchy, of high quality and with graceful voice of their singer Holló Noémi, …Of Shadows and Colours is destined to motivate this band for new musical adventures.
Meteora plays music that can be described as aesthetically pure, perceptive and melodious, and combined with emotional restlessness and theatrical pretension, the technical parts just go by the wayside. The artwork displays a moment of happiness frozen in time against the grand illustrations of religious, historical and social events that make life worthwhile. And all these crumbling ruins against the happiness of beautiful couple is once again a fat remainder of how close the opposite sides stand to each other.
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