Released: 2007, Fusion3
Mehida is a Finnish band featuring, most notably, Thomas Vikström (Therion) on vocals, Mikko Harkin (Ex-Sonata Arctica, ex-Kotipelto) on keyboards, and Jani Stefanovic (ex-Am I Blood) on guitars. Although the white cover with a simple blood splotch might have you preparing for some synth-driven, goth music, what you actually get is some pretty well-conceived progressive metal. Billed as something for fans of classic Queensryche, Fates Warning, and Crimson Glory, the album is actually much more akin to more purely progressive metal bands like several of the bands featured on the Magna Carta label over the years, such as Altura, Lemur Voice, and Age of Nemesis.
BLOOD & WATER, the debut release, is driven by the keyboards, featuring tons of the signature sounds found throughout the prog metal landscape; however, there are also plenty of powerful guitars to beef up the sound as well. There is a dark undercurrent to most of the tracks, but the seventies-styled voice of Vikström, often sounding reminiscent of a delivery to be found on a Styx album, works in an interesting dichotomy to this darkness, keeping the songs from becoming downers. There are hooks galore to be found, especially in the album opener, “Unchanging,” “Guilty,” and “Wings of Dove,” and the music is always intricate, heavy, and catchy. “Multitude” is the pinnacle track on the album, offering the best blend of aggression (in the punchy vocals of the intro) and melody (in the ultra-melodic pre-choruses that feature some backing harmonies that work extremely well). The song also has one of the best guitar solos on the album, showing off finesse for sustaining emotion rather than displaying a flare for over-abundance. This track comes closest to perfecting the formula that most of the album strives for.
Like most good progressive metal, Mehida focuses on the songs themselves, and they never drift too far away from the core of a track to meander frivolously. There is a good bit of variety in the tracks, making it so that one never feels like he or she is hearing the same track over and over again. The only complaint about the album would be that there are no songs that really stand out as superior accomplishments. Still, Mehida proves, on their debut, that they are a worthy addition to the prog metal scene; however, for them to truly ascend to the top tier of the genre, they need to polish up a bit more, and they need to craft a few more landmark songs.