Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 1/31/2005
Where Twilight Dwells
posted on 3/2005 By:
With my recent deluge of Goth metal, the thought of another female fronted band on Napalm Records made me shudder worse than the time I woke up from a dream where I was a hotdog about to be consumed by Anna Nicole Smith. So I approached this with a lethargic, professional attitude, ready to kick out another review full of words like “atmosphere”, “lush” and “sultry”. Well, while all those words certainly apply to this Norwegian band, how about a throw in “folk”, “heavy” and “evocative”?
First thing you should know is the female part of this equation, Carmen Elise, the younger sister of Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes, Cradle of Filth), and she has the same set of exquisite pipes. Second, despite their Goth visage, Midnattsol have a very slight folk lean that has a little Lumsk in there somewhere.
Admittedly the opener “Another Return” initially had me eyes rolling, bracing for another heavily accented but talented front woman leading a crunchy, keyboard backed offering of Goth tripe, however, I picked up quite a bit for the impressively lumbering girth that opens “Lament”. And while the song doesn’t revisit the opening riff, it continues to be surprisingly robust throughout, even with young Carmen glossing the song with her amber tones. The quality continues with the adroit lamentation of the albums first ballad, “Unpayable Silence” that has a sort of glowing fire side folk ambience. I can picture Carmen seated by camp fire in the misty mountains of Norway as the flames dance about her face and glisten in her eyes and her hair unfurls in the frosty wind. Very good stuff.
With the bar set pretty high three songs in, I was curious to see if Midnattsol could keep it up or would they lose steam and become just another Goth band with a good song (Hello Elis). A muted, controlled Carmen graces yet another heavy track in the form of “Haunted”, that while retaining the Goth sense of bounciness graces it with a varied structure and deft heaviness that most Goth bands lack. More folk ballad goodness arrives for the windswept “Desolation”, which yet again has an austere wilderness-y feel to its traditional ambiance. The same can be said for the acoustically glazed “Tarefall” and ethnic sounding “Pa Letting” that sounds almost like traditional Norwegian pieces given a Goth metal makeover.
Granted there are a few more familiar Goth metal tunes hiding amid the folk tinged excellence ("Another Return, “Enlightenment”, “Infinite Fairytale”, “Dancing With the Midnight Sun”) but generally the folk tinged sound is rather unique and gives Midnattsol some character amid a horde of theatrical clones. This influence is no stronger than on the 8 minute album closer “Tapt Av Hap” where the ebb of the ocean introduces the songs delicate pacing and hypnotic, epic structures.
For Goth Metal fans bored of the usual fare, I’d highly recommend Midnattsol to give your mundane Goth diet a severe kick in the groin.
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