Catharsis is the fourth album by symphonic rockers Meden Agan (apparently in English this translates as “nothing in excess”) from Athens in Greece. Formed originally in Paris by guitarist Diman Koutsoglannopoulos way back in 2005 with their first album coming two years later. After a delay of six years and a move back to Greece, he reset the band up again and they released a second album. The third album came out in 2015 and this latest on January 5th, 2018 courtesy of No Remorse Records. One of the things about Meden Agan is that the band seems to change vocalists on every release. On this occasion now fronted by Dimitra Panariti.
The album is well constructed with solid performances especially guitar-wise and has been mastered by Jens Bogren who has worked with bands such as Arch Enemy, Angra, and Opeth amongst others.
The band has toured with the likes of Pain Of Salvation, Within Temptation, Tarja, and Epica. Which seems appropriate as they share a similar outlook and style with those more famous names.
The latest album is based on the writings of Umberto Eco the man behind the book The Name Of The Rose. Famously made into a movie featuring Sean Connery. At last a couple of times on the album there are moments that are quite cinematic and hint at history and religious orders which suggest this is almost a conceptual piece.
The songs are mostly 4 or 5 minutes long. But some of them have quite a bit packed into them between solos from the guitarist (who at times does more than one in a song) and the keyboardist along with all the symphonic orchestration.
There are a few songs that have a Nightwish vibe. The main ones that stand out for that are “Cleanse Their Sins”, especially around the chorus section. A quite uplifting melody that works nicely with Dimitra’s voice and has a quite nicely paced guitar solo. Also the playful carnival sounding “Veil Of Faith” which made me think of some of the Imaginaerum album with its circus themes in places. Both this and the song before it “Shrine Of Wisdom” have a high spirited jolly sort of sound which are quite appealing. Yet at the same time, a certain suggestion not to be fooled as evil or darkness is just around the corner.
There are little suggestions of other influences. The most interesting possibly being firstly the beginning of “No Escape” which has that echo type guitar sound that Mark Knopfler uses a lot. It may be only just a hint at the beginning. But it suggests guitarist Diman has wider tastes than just symphonic metal and enjoys stuff like Dire Straits. Certainly no bad thing. At later points of “A Curse Unfolding,” there are touches of NWOBHM. (Angel Witch really came to my mind about three minutes or so in).
There is enough to suggest that they could perhaps take a step forward to try and reach a bigger audience like say Epica or Within Temptation. But at the moment they are still perhaps finding their feet with a new singer and line up.
I would say that for those into the more symphonic metal sounds that this might be a band worth checking out and keeping an eye on in the future.