Meridian is the seventh album from Tribes of Neurot, the sister-band/alter-ego of the Bay Area’s finest ultimate-doom merchants Neurosis. Where the latter are often punishingly brutal and heavy, the music that the Tribes have to offer is much more sparse, minimal and different, though generally carrying through similar themes and moods.
experimental ambience with manipulated sound waves and extended notes over throbbing drones
The album offers the experimental ambience with manipulated sound waves and extended notes over throbbing drones that we have come to expect from the band, playing around with ideas of texture and space, and sucking the intentful listener in and away. Its a reflective work, not offering a specific counterpoint to another record as offered with 1999’s Grace (to Neurosis’ Times Of Grace), but standing more as couterpoint to the general noise and speed of life.
Meridian is mostly beautiful and serene, although it has its darker sides, but the two moods seem to work together. The album seems to slowly melt in through the first couple of tracks. The third and title track offers what sounds like crashing cymbals without any real definition of beginning or end, alongside a sea of white noise and reversed, manipulated sounds.
“Wave Upon Wave” is the first point that the album does anything but more calmly wandering through layers of sound, as a synthetic strings throb with phases and warbling vibrations creeping in and out, before a bass line and then crashing guitar work moves in.
“Sub Aqua” returns to this distorted region later in the album but somehow remains to instil a gorgeous and peaceful calm throughout
The Following track “Signals Lost” offers more affecting distortions and turns towards more of a harshness than is offered elsewhere even after it crumbles away down to a gurgling bass drone. “Imprint” and “Sub Aqua” return to this distorted region later in the album but the latter somehow remains to instil a gorgeous and peaceful calm throughout, in fact almost completely taking it over at points.
Meridian is a classic Tribes of Neurot album and the powerful drone of closer “Digging Holes” is clsasic example of this. It also finishes the album perfectly retreating down from its dull but mammoth heights into a subtle acoustic guitar melody before disappearing.