Midnattsol- The Metamorphosis Melody

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, April 10, 2011

Midnattsol may have been categorized as the metal band featuring Liv Kristine’s sister when they first started off, but over the past few years the group has began to come into their own. Rather than going the pure gothic metal route, this band has attempted to incorporate some folk elements in their material to create a gothic/folk metal combination. Their third full length release The Metamorphosis Melody moves back towards the gothic side a little bit but the instrumental work is much more atmospheric than before and there are plenty of breathtaking moments for listeners to take in.

Although Midnattsol may be considered a gothic/folk metal band it is important to note that the folk elements are often rather subdued and are used as an addition to the songs rather than being the element that they are centered around. The Metamorphosis Melody definitely goes for a more gothic tinged sound on many of the songs, but what makes the group stand out is the complexity of their instrumental arrangements. This is an area that they have been steadily improving from album to album and this time around they seem to have really outdone themselves. Quite a few of the tracks feature atmospheric melodies that are created by both the keyboard and guitar work, and they are sure to draw listeners in with their somber tones. Admittedly one area where the band still runs into a few issues is when they slow the tempo down too much as their music sometimes seems to drag, but as a whole this release is very strong.

Carmen Elise Espenaes will probably always be compared to her sister in some way or another, but I personally feel that both of them are very strong singers and would rather enjoy their voices than try to decide which is better. While Carmen does hit some lighter pitches throughout the course of The Metamorphosis Melody, it did seem as though she was attempting to sound a bit more aggressive and darker at times in order to match the overall feel of the instrumentals. To put it quite simply, this means that her voice tends to lean more towards normal pitches rather than operatic ones and that could make Midnattsol appeal to some listeners that aren’t too big on the gothic metal genre.

This band has come a long way since they released their debut full length in 2005 and their new material has a lot more texture and atmosphere. It remains to be seen how Midnattsol will be received when compared to the rest of the gothic metal albums released in 2011, especially considering as it is a very crowded year for the genre, but the effort is strong enough to warrant multiple listens and that should help the band to stand out in many people’s minds. I feel that the band has finally begun to shake off the comparisons to other groups and is finding its own style, so if The Metamorphosis Melody is any indication they should continue to get better.


Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Napalm Records

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