The Metamorphosis Melody

Written by: PP on 11/08/2011 22:25:49

After a three-year pause, German/Norwegian hybrid symphonic metal band Midnattsol is ready with a new album, "The Metamorphosis Melody", their third record overall, which sees the band reinforce their gothic-tinged symphonic metal platform further. What many people don't know is that the band's former guitarists Daniel Droste and Christian Hector also played in one of the most critically acclaimed modern doom metal bands around, namely Ahab, though that experience doesn't really show considering how vastly different Midnattsol sounds. They're not part of the group anymore, and instead of recruiting two new guitarists, Midnattsol have decided to go with just one, thus leaving more space for the keyboards to shine.

Different, however, isn't a word you might use to compare Midnattsol or their new album to any of their peers. Yes, they do add in a flavor of folk metal every now and then, and a few heavy metal riffs, plus they have two blonde beauties holding onto the vocal throne from both sides (one more than the other), but the truth is there isn't much difference between them and any combination of Nightwish, Epica, Leaves' Eyes, Edenbridge etc. The good news is that Midnattsol's expression isn't entirely stale, avoiding mediocrity disaster unlike so many of their colleagues. Main vocalist Carmen Espenæs, sister of Liv Kristine if that interests anybody, sticks to a mid-range expression most of the time, avoiding the fragile delicacy of many other vocalists, but never resorts to screams or growls. This, in my opinion, is the big weakness with Midnattsol's sound. Somehow her vocals sound dull and uninspiring because they are so low down; enthusiasm lacks as well as power. That said, they're not outright awful, but much room for improvement does exist in this department.

Another thing to note about "The Metamorphosis Melody" is its unusually melancholic tone. Granted, gothic metal bands are always a little on the melancholic side, but Midnattsol almost push it over the edge to a place where bands like Katatonia and others roam. That's one of the focal points of the record, for sure. But even so, the third album by this group sticks to the middle-of-the-road approach in gothic metal by and large, playing it safe and staying true to the genre's bible. To some, that's a mark of a solid album, but in a genre as saturated as gothic metal, sounding like everyone else is just not gonna cut it without amazing songs that blow the listener away. That isn't the case here.

Download: Spellbound
For the fans of: Nightwish, Epica, Leaves' Eyes, Edenbridge
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.04.2011
Napalm Records

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