Is 2020 already crushing you with an overwhelming sense of doom and despair? An entire continent is on fire and an orange fascist is spinning up another war while planes full of innocent folk are shot out of the sky. So why not let Meridians by The Osedax bury you under the weight of an ocean as you sink into its sludgy embrace and post-metal soundscapes?
From the opening swells to the closing harmonics, Meridians revels in the bleak atmosphere of the depths. Slow and methodical, nothing about this album is rushed. Like implacable tides and rising sea levels, each song builds from a serene vista to an impending and unavoidable catastrophe; before long the storm has arrived and you find yourself swept out to sea. Extended intros, subtle synths, and slow tempos form the backbone of this album, while pulverizing drums and thick guitars form the sharp fangs.
Like floating lost, where you start is not where you’ll end up, and every track is as unpredictable as the winds. “Offen,” at its crescendo, delivers clean vocalization over droning tremolo. “Beacon / Ox Eye” comforts you with ambient synth and guitar before delivering the heaviest moments of the entire album, accompanied by drums that pound like waves against the shore in fast forward, a time-lapse of eroding landscapes. “White Horse / Tempest” evokes underground caves and whale song before diving back into a whirlpool of destruction. “Ratlines” is ominous and threatening throughout, but never escalates beyond the deep ambiance it builds through string harmonics and reverb. Each composition defies the last, and despite being only four tracks long, its 46 minute run length passes like a hurricane.
I’ve spent a lot of time with Meridians since I took a gamble on the promo in late November, and I eagerly awaited the opportunity to begin sharing this album with others. Even while locking down my end of year list for 2019, this album held my attention. I can easily say The Osedax have given us the first great album of 2020, and I won’t be surprised if it makes my year end list. Is it too early to start talking about year end lists? I guess not.