posted on 4/2010 By:
Not too shabby a slabby for those black metal enthusiasts whose pants tighten at the mere thought of a fresh, fledgling "shoegazer" project. Australia's Midnight Odyssey is the latest (one-man) band to foray into the raw metal realm that frankensteins limbs 'n' organs from Burzum (especially vocally), Tangerine Dream and Jesu-by-way-of-Swervedriver into a moss-cloaked, corpse(ier) painted Robert Smith Beast tramping through a pitch forest with bulging eyes dreamily determined to bare witness to illumed nightsprites in the welkin. The project's passage is fairly conventional, however, so those looking for the latest endeavor that convincingly discovers the next clandestined trail (Bläck Metalling Shoeklezmer, perhaps?) on this already well-worn path will not find abundant novelty within Firmament, but it's a damn-solid soupe du jour, nonetheless. Most every tune follows a similar mid-paced (and at times funereal) stroll that mishmashes sharp, shimmery tremolo guitars mingled with reverberant, nightsky keys and what appears to be some of the finest drumming software currently on the market (stated with mild trepidation, as I found zip-o evidence of a living, breathing beast behind the kit).
The brightest star amongst the bunch glimmers early with "Nocturnal Prey," a tune with the closest dream-pop sensibility that would likely raise the Cocteau Twins from their dirtnap were it not filtered through Firmament's adamant Hviscerator. Beyond that, the remaining black meddling fare remains true to the aforementioned credo, but gets diffused and infused by three songs and nearly 20-minutes worth of instrumental keyboard meteorology -- a nice break from the occasionally "ditto'd" bouts of blacker numbers on a very long album. Overall, I'd call Firmament a very promising slab cut from yet another auspicious avante-garde project with the chops and empyrean vision necessary to make plenty of underground "iridescent" black metal enthusiasts happy. Perhaps not as essential as, say, ColdWorld's Melancholie2, but undoubtedly worthy of further investigation and meditation.
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