Midnattsol - Where Twilight Dwells

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Napalm Records
Catalog Number: NPR 156/SPV 085-37032 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:17:00

Mythology is for many progressive bands a welcome source of inspiration; think Tolkien and King Arthur. But also the Scandinavian myths and legends are often used, especially the Midnight Sun, which plays in important role therein. In Norwegian this is called "Midnattsol" and this is also the name of a Norwegian/German formation, who in 2005 releases their debut album. Inspired by the stories of trolls, elves and fairies, they bring a special mix of folk and metal.

The band was formed in 2002 by Carmen Elise Espeneas (the younger sister of Live Kristine, of Leave?s Eyes) and guitarist Chris Hector. After they had completed the band with like-minded people, they recorded a demo with two songs, and the song "Desolation" in no time reached the top of the Metal Charts on mp3.de! This got them a record deal with Napalm Records for their debut album. They were so dedicated to this album, singer Espeneas even let go of the opportunity to tour with Cradle of Filth to concentrate on the debut album.

The results are there! Gothic metal may be very popular, Midnattsol chooses a different approach. The very obvious folk influences for a unique mix with the power metal. Carmen Elise Espeneas could apply with Mostly Autumn any day, with her warm and folky voice. The metal dominates in roughly half of the songs, but it does not blow out of your speakers as you would expect, even the fast double bass is turned down a notch, to make sure the vocals do not get snowed under.

Besides the metal, there is plenty of room for acoustic songs, like the beautiful "Unpayable Silence," which sounds as a dream. But then a gloomy dream, although it?s very atmospheric, it still sounds a bit dark. Or listen to "Tårefall," absolutely one of my favourite songs. With enchanting vocals, great guitar work and a mouth harp! This makes it a full blown folk song, without it sounding misplaced between the heavy metal guitars.

One of the highlights on the album is the song "Desolation," where we finally hear some keyboards, which builds the atmosphere up quite nicely. With a deliciously heavy and yet melodic guitar sound. Although most songs are sung in English, a few are sung in Norwegian. Next to the beautiful vocals that bring in the folk influences, drummer Merzinsky also plays his part with the typical folky drum sound in songs such as "Infinity Fairytale" and "På Leting."

Midnattsol is my discovery for 2005. The enchanting vocals of Carmen Elise Espeneas are undoubtedly the centre of the songs, and despite the excellent performance of the metal parts, the more quiet, acoustic and atmospheric parts will leave the biggest impression. If you are listening to those, you?d wish the whole album was like that. For a debut album I think the band has delivered an excellent album, with a lot of potential for the future. Production-wise they could work on some things, like the sound at times or the transitions, which are not always that smooth. Composition-wise it is well done, although I regret keyboardist Fischer got only little space on the album.

Let yourself be enchanted by the magnificent singer, who with her band has released a strong debut album which is different enough from the many "gothic" metal releases we find these days to be interesting. Let yourself be surprised by the "midnight?s sun" ?

Another Return / Lament / Unpayable Silence / Haunted / Desolation / Enlightenment / T?refall / Infinite Fairytale / P? Leting / Dancing With The Midnightsun / Tapt Av H

Carmen Elise Espeneas - vocals
Daniel Fischer - keyboards
Christian Hector - guitar, acoustic guitar, mouthharp
Birgit ?llbrunner - bass guitar
Daniel Froste - guitar, acoustic guitar
Chris Merzinsky - drums

Where Twilight Dwells (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin VA

Added: February 19th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.midnattsol.com
Hits: 904
Language: english


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