Dean, It's not that bad in real life. I mean, it's not as subdued as black dyneema X, but it's also not shiny. I own the blue nimbus meridian, and have never second-guessed the color scheme. That said, I and many others find it comfortable to 35lbs. Around the 40lb mark, I start to get sore shoulders at the end of the day. I wish it had better load lifters.
I'm trying out a ULA catalyst at the moment. So far it seems like an excellent pack. Awesome hipbelt and load lifters, and greater livability (front mesh pocket). Shoulder straps on the GG nimbus are more comfortable though (cushier). Haven't tried a heavy load in the catalyst yet...but I'd imagine it would be great to 35lbs at the very least. I'll probably report back later when I get more experience
The vertical access zipper on the nimbus meridian never gets used...and to me it's just another potential point of failure. I know they definitely phased on the nimbus ozone...I'm not sure of the status of the nimbus meridian. But again, once you remove the lid off the Nimbus Meridian, it's pretty much a nimbus ozone (+ a vertical zipper, and some daisy chains)